Justin

The guy in the cell next to me told the guard to fuck off. He’s like, “Hey man, stop knocking on the glass, we’re trying to sleep. It became like torturous if you wanted to sleep. The guard took this guy out of the cell and beat the living crap out of him at three in the morning. I heard his flesh hitting the concrete and this man is pleading for his life, “Please God no. Please, I’m sorry. Please stop,” until . . . silence. He knocked him unconscious.

5. Yemoja Oshun - Healing through BDSM

I met Yemoja Oshun at an art market in New Orleans and I was immediately intrigued by her career path so I asked if she would share her story with me. Our conversation focuses largely on healing her own sexual abuse through BDSM and her role in helping others heal through sensual bodywork.

Brad

I remember being in a bar at noon drinking and having a ghost right beside me, which was the rage. I drank all day and all night. I drove to a bridge and took out an ax and started just chopping into a tree with it. Started throwing my pottery into the damn river. Then I got back in the car and just blew through a barricade, busted out the windshield. I don’t think I wanted to kill myself. I just had a damn rage.

2. Raskull

This conversation took place on January 31st, 2017 at the neutral ground on St. Roch Ave. in New Orleans. Raskull had been hopping trains with her boyfriend Ian and her dog Spaghetti for quite a while by the time I met her. Here’s a brief glimpse into Raskull’s life.

1. David

The episode that you’re about to listen to touches on all three, addiction, mental health, and New Orleans. I’ve known David in passing for a few years. He was a barista at a coffee shop I often went to on Lower Decatur in the French Quarter. He was also roommates with a friend of mine, Corey, who died from a fentanyl overdose last year. 

Introducing Audio Stories

For years now I've considered how powerful it could be to share audio stories. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to really pursue that. I started a podcast by the same name, The Hidden South, and it's now available on most of the major podcast apps.

Mary Grace

I thank God. I still get depressed; I still have my anxiety; I have panic attacks on occasion in large crowds, but I’m learning so many new things. I learn so much from the people that I work with. I’m hoping and praying that they’re learning from me too. I just can’t see my life doing anything else.

Larry

God communicated to me that there were some children buried in a landfill in Cumming, Georgia. I was living on Lake Lanier, so I set out to try to go find them and swam across part of Lake Lanier. I had on nothing but sweatpants, and they came off during the swim so I was buck-naked when I went up and knocked on a door at this big beautiful lake home. The woman came to the door and just started screaming. I didn’t think I looked that bad naked…

Carl

When I was seventeen I moved back to Memphis and opened my own tattoo shop in the back of a Harley shop and built up from there. We now own seven stores in North Mississippi and Memphis.

Grey Matters - Next Steps

The book will be a beautiful, coffee-table sized book that features stories from about a hundred people with lived experience. It also features subsections about important issues that impact the mental health of Americans like poverty, pharma, war, and the criminalization of mental illness that currently exists in this country.

Richard

The first time my band and I came here was just after Katrina in 2005. It was still a total fuckin’ hot mess. We had a traveling circus van and a tour bus and were like, yeah we can stay at a friend’s house, and we roll up. It was a dilapidated, bombed-out, hell-hole.

Alison

He was like, “Well let's play twenty questions, and I bet you by the end of it I'm gonna figure out what you're gonna get.” I was like, whatever. I got nothing to lose. He asked me all kinds of stuff about myself. They were in-depth questions about my family, my personality, all kinds of stuff. At the very end he was like, “Okay, I know what you're going to get.

Jim

I came for the weekend eight years after the storm. I was invited to meet Françoise Gilot, the wife of Picasso. She was showing her artwork down there on Royal Street, and that’s really the thing that changed my life.

Nicole

The primal feelings for him, and the sex; it was very intense. We had a very intense relationship, and I was so grateful. I had never been so close to anybody and oddly trusted him in a way I had never trusted anybody. It was us against the world.

Tim

During the inquest after his death, the pathologist gave his version of events and talked about how very minimal amounts of the drug were found in his system—minimal amounts, and he choked basically in his sleep. They were about to record a verdict of suicide, and I stood out.

Bam Bam

My record [is long] in Georgia and Florida. I did three years here in Orleans Parish Prison. I was making money and having fun back then--eating three jars of peanut butter a day, working out all night, not jacking off, and victimizing people. I had a good time in OPP.

Paul

I almost froze to death in there—they shut off all the heat in the buildings. I was in a locked cell by myself with paper clothes on. All that was there was a mattress. The guards really beat the shit out of me; when I first got there I was having blackouts, and apparently I was talking a lot of shit to the guards.

Ryan

I was addicted to heroin and crack-cocaine for about ten years. I overdosed and died twice in a six-month period, and I was at the bottom. Enough was enough. I had always battled with the whole—is God real, is God not real? I told him, “Man, if you’re real, and you save me from this forever, then I’ll walk it out,” and everything clicked.