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From air to stage to screen and back: Louis

Life has been quite a journey for our client Louis. Growing up in Detroit, Louis attended the magnet school Lewis Cass Technical High School where fellow alumni include such well-known celebrities as Diana Ross and Lily Tomlin. When Louis graduated in 1966, he knew that he could be drafted to go to Vietnam at any time. Instead of waiting for his number to be called, he chose to join the Air Force.

During his time in the service, Louis was sent to Japan and Taiwan. He learned how to translate Mandarin Chinese and became a translator for the Air Force. In his free time, Louis directed plays at a high school in Taiwan and a theater club in Japan. When his time in the service was over, Louis left the Air Force and moved to New York.
He put his considerable skills to wonderful use at the United Nations as a translator in the General Assembly. Feeling restless after three years, he moved on to pursue a degree in Film Studies at Hunter College. While a student at Hunter, Louis accepted a scholarship to the prestigious graduate program in Film Studies at Stanford University in California, where he studied Film Editing.

After Stanford, Louis moved back to New York and began his career in the film industry. In 1983, he worked with legendary director Bob Fosse on “Star 80,” a movie about a Playboy Playmate who is murdered by her husband. For several years, Louis continued working as a freelance editor, but he began having difficulties finding continuous work. “It was the first time I had really experienced being that hungry,” Louis says about this period of time.

In 1989, Louis embarked on a totally new career when he was hired by The Plaza Hotel as a concierge. Here he was able to put his love and vast knowledge of the city to great use. Shortly after, Louis received news that changed his life. Feeling ill, he went to the doctor and he was diagnosed with HIV. Living with HIV while working was difficult for Louis. In the early days of his illness, he took 4 pills at 4 different times a day. After 3 years he found himself too weak to continue and had to leave his position at the Plaza.

As his illness progressed, Louis lost over fifty pounds and felt too weak to walk. His sister saw that he needed help and urged him to join the program at God’s Love We Deliver. Since he has been a client, Louis has improved tremendously. His appetite is stronger and he began gaining weight.

Louis is feeling so much stronger that he has actually gone into acting. This winter, he played the role of Geppetto in a local production of Pinocchio. Despite his illness, Louis looks forward to the future and credits God’s Love We Deliver for his improving health. Through all of the twists and turns in his life, Louis is thankful for the wonderful life that he has lived. When he reflects on all of his life experience, Louis says, “I have lived a charmed life. Thank you so much for giving me more of it to live. Thank you.”

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