January 24, 2001 – October 17, 2016
During this rollercoaster called Life, we encounter many mental and physical experiences. Some people learn from these experiences and decide to make a change in themselves, while others seems to stay the same and not change at all. Throughout time, the choices we make determine our future. Some people seek change, and others could care less, I wrote this for both, this is just a few but very powerful wise words that could help you build a better of way of living and thinking.
Excerpt from “Time and Thought” written by Jaquin Thomas.
Jaquin Thomas was born January 24, 2001 in New Orleans to his parents Tresscel Thomas and Joseph Grand III but was raised from the beginning by his grandmother Tina Thomas. During Hurricane Katrina, Jaquin, his grandmother Tina, and his siblings Jakia and Jasmine, were evacuated and ended up settling back in Ville Platte where his grandmother Tina had grown up. Jaquin quickly became a part of the community in his small, adopted hometown of Ville Platte. According to his Sunday School teacher Francis Pitre, Jaquin was always a “happy student, who loved to make others laugh.” Growing up in Ville Platte, he had many interests and was an active part of the community. He was a gifted athlete and during 7th and 8th grade, he played football for Ville Platte Junior High, known as the “Bulldogs,” even leading the team in tackles during 2015. According to his coach Ezekial Thomas, Jaquin was “a kid that caught on quick. I couldn’t ask for a better kid to coach.” Praise for Jaquin was also sung by his peers, with Ville Platte senior high linebacker Tralon Thomas stating: “He was good enough that he would have started as a freshman. We looked forward to playing together.” Jaquin’s love of football was not just rooted in his own athletic ability though, he looked to it as a means of being able to care for the people he loved. Per Tralon Thomas, “He had a dream of playing football and one day taking [care] of his grandmother, and his sister and his little brother.” Even Jaquin’s personal victories were rooted in his underlying compassion for others.
In addition to his athletic prowess, Jaquin was an active member of his church, the Ninth Missionary Baptist Church in Ville Platte. Jaquin served as a junior deacon for the church, as well as a member of the church’s youth choir. His favorite song was “Break These Chains”, which he learned and performed during church services. Jaquin was known as a compassionate and empathetic child, as a kid that was “very very respectful and well mannered.” That underlying sentiment of respect and love displayed by Jaquin was echoed by many throughout the community. His sense of warmth and compassion extended to animals as well. Jaquin loved all animals, but what he really wanted was a pet dog of his very own, for him to love and care for.
In addition to his many involvements with school, sports and church, Jaquin had an entrepreneurial spirit as well. He worked in his small town to fix lawnmowers for extra cash, in order to help out his grandmother and siblings. According to his cousin Barbara Thomas, Jaquin was industrious in the summer, helping her husband to fix bicycles and motorcycles, he even fixed one for himself and cut grass during the summer. It was this entrepreneurial spirit that brought him to New Orleans in the Summer of 2016. One reason Jaquin came to New Orleans that summer was to get a job to help his grandmother pay for uniforms for his younger siblings. He was also beginning to lose interest in small town life, as adolescents are keen to do, and loved being able to visit relatives in New Orleans. He was able to get a job over the summer working at his uncle’s car wash. The plan was for Jaquin to spend his day working at the car wash, and spend his evening selling water to tourists in the French Quarter. If everything went according to plan he would return to Ville Platte in the fall with enough money to help buy school supplies for his brother Jakia and sister Jasmine, and maybe even a little something for himself. According to his grandmother she asked him not to go down to New Orleans, but he just said “Maw Maw, I am going down there to wash some cars, and then I’ll be back.” Unfortunately, the next time Jaquin Thomas returned to Ville Platte and his Ninth Missionary Baptist Church, it was for his funeral.
While 15 year old Jaquin was initially sent to a juvenile facility in Orleans Parish on September 13, 2016, he was subsequently sent to the Orleans Parish Prison, an adult facility. Jaquin had no prior arrests or convictions. He was, quite literally, a choir boy. He sat in jail for nearly a month without bond before even being seen by a judge. He was beaten up by other incarcerated people within the jail, and had his food stolen. “He cried a lot. He would tell me that he cried in his cell, because if you cry openly you know you’re going to be preyed upon,” according to his mentor Ameer Baraka, who he reached out to while incarcerated. Despite this, Jaquin, who was a talented writer, continued to write. His cell was filled with books. On October 17, 2016, he was once again writing in his cell, only this time what he wrote was his own suicide note.
Jaquin would have turned 18 in 2019, approaching his senior year of high school, probably playing football for the Ville Platte Bulldogs. Maybe he would have even gotten that dog he wanted so dearly. He once described wanting to serve his country in the Navy or do work with hands like being a carpenter. Unfortunately, only speculations and the unknown remains into what kind of a young man Jaquin Thomas could have grown up to be. One thing that is known is that his family and friends continue to miss him very much.
Know that life is what you make of it, and there are so many wonderful things that this world has to offer.
– Jaquin Thomas
Time & Thought
By: Jaquin Thomas
During this rollercoaster ride called Life, we encounter many mental and physical experiences. Some people learn from these experiences and decide to make a change in themselves, while others seem to stay the same and not change at all. Throughout time, the choices we make determine our future. Some people seek change and others could care less, _I wrote this for both, this is just a few but very powerful wise words that could help you build a better way of living and thinking.
The way we live .our life is not controlled by our environment or circumstances. It is controlled by the way that we observe and react to our problems and situations throughout our lives. A positive outlook is valuable in times of darkness. Always remember that your troubles are only temporary, the best is yet to come. Always be open-minded and understand to the best of your ability about the things you say and do. To the best of your ability, with everything that you have in you, know that life is not about fitting in with a crowd or to please someone, that is of no positive value to you. During the life that you live, live to satisfy the right people such as your parents, grandparents, God and last but not least yourself. Life is about living it to the. fullest in a just way, enjoying the special things in life while you have them, trusting that God Almighty and Jesus Christ will lead you to the best and wonderful things in life.
Live and learn, enjoy soaking up knowledge, strive for wisdom, strength, courage, and understanding. Know that when you live with these tools and more, you can grow to live and have an amazingly successful life. Life is full of choices and it’s our job to make the right ones and not let the ones we make be manipulated by any person or circumstance. Live as though your life is not judged by a dictatorship, act, think, talk, and respond to problems based on your own judgment. The outcome could change the course of your life drastically in a positive or negative way. To reach these standards in life you must first put forth effort, notice the problems that present themselves either in you or around you, build a mindset that help you to solve them, then most of all have patience, greatness doesn’t occur or forms itself over night. Be ready to accept the problems in life you, yourself cannot change or do anything about. With the tools of endurance, strength, courage, a pure faith that throughout the cold, stormy, dark and rainy days, that there is always going to be a brighter and beautiful days to come.
When you realize you want to make this change, you should cleanse your heard and mind of all of the negative energy in and around you. Build yourself up around people that can motivate you to reach amazing goals. Know that life is what you make of it, and there are many wonderful things the world had to offer. To do these things it takes hard work and dedication, know that there will be obstacles, but you can overcome all when you make the right choices.
Author: Jillian Morrison
- Complaint to the Civil District of the State of Louisiana, Tresscel Thomas et al. vs. Marlin Gusman et al. No. 17-6864. Filed 5/19/2017.
- WWL Staff, Teen who committed suicide in prison longed to turn life around mentor says, 4WWLTV, (October 21, 2016), https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/local/orleans/teen-who-committed-suicide-in-prison-longed-to-turn-life-around-mentor-says/339352489. Jaquin had reached out to Ameer Baraka, who was formerly incarcerated, and has spent his post incarceration life mentoring teens who end up in similar situations.
- Raymond Partsch III, Ja’Quin’s story, The Eunice News, January 15, 2017 at 6. Jaquin’s parents were both incarcerated at varying periods throughout his life, with his maternal grandmother Tina Thomas as his primary caregiver.
- Kevin McGill, Teen’s suicide emblematic of problems at New Orleans Jail, Southeast Missourian (July 10, 2017), https://www.semissourian.com/story/2426607.html.
- Donovan Taylor, Jaquin Thomas Memorial Fund, GoFundMe (Oct. 29, 2016), https://www.gofundme.com/f/jaquin-thomas-memorial-fund-2uwqhjys
- Marcos Barbery, Jaquin Thomas, 15, Charged as Adult, Dies in New Orleans Jail, Huffington Post (November 4, 2017), https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jaquin-thomas-15-charged-as-adult-dies-in-new-orleans_b_581c207de4b044f827a78b25.
- Interview with Ville Platte girl’s high school basketball coach, Dorothy Doulet, “He was such a good young man. He loved animals. His desire was to get a dog.
- Conversation with grandmother.