Lamar Alexander Johnson

October 18, 1987 – June 10, 2015

Lamar Alexander Johnson, born October 18, 1987 in Mobile, Alabama was an inspiration to family and friends alike until his untimely death in June of 2015. While still a young boy, Lamar’s love for his family started to shape new traditions that would continue even after his passing, and form smiles on the faces of anybody who came to know his story.

Lamar loved spending time with his family, including his mother and father, Linda and Karl Franks, as well as his two brothers, Michael and Karl Jr. The family spent his childhood years in Mobile, Alabama, where Lamar tried his best to help anybody in need of a friend. One summer when Lamar was just 11 years old, he spent every day with a fellow classmate turned newfound friend to work out and train before the next school year started. As a young boy, Lamar put himself out into the world, lending a helping hand to anybody he could.

Lamar Johnson and his family

Lamar Johnson and his family

His mother, Linda, shared how genuine and caring Lamar was throughout his lifetime and I couldn’t help but smile and chuckle at the amazing life Lamar lived. When Soul Food, a movie about a family getting together every Sunday for dinner, came out in 1997, Lamar and his family went to see it. After seeing this movie, Lamar told his mother that their own family should start doing Sunday dinners with their family. When Linda heard her 10-year-old son suggest Sunday dinners, she began reaching out to their rather large extended family to start planning these weekly potlucks. That sweet Sunday tradition has stuck with his parents, siblings, and extended family, even after his untimely passing. After Lamar’s passing, his family honored him by hosting a large potluck with family and friends, an idea  10-year-old Lamar adored and did not realize the impact it would soon have on those he left behind.

Lamar as a child in his football uniform

Lamar as a child in his football uniform

Lamar was always involved in something—he loved playing sports, including basketball and football. Lamar and his father had an amazing relationship. He was kind hearted and patient with everyone he encountered. He would sit and talk with older men and just listen to the stories they were telling him. No matter where Lamar was, he would always make friends and take the time to learn from people.

Sometime in 2000, Lamar’s family packed up their Alabama home and moved to Kenner, Louisiana. Lamar made new friends and organized little league football for him and the young men in his neighborhood. He would even go as far as scratching his name off old trophies to give to his friends. Even as a young man in a brand new town, Lamar started to make an impact on those around him. 

Right around the time Lamar went into his senior year of high school at Bonnabel High in Kenner, Hurricane Katrina would soon cause chaos in southeastern Louisiana. Lamar’s family was in Arkansas while he and his brother Michael were visiting friends in Kenner and New Orleans. When the residents of New Orleans began evacuating the city, Lamar and Michael decided to go to the bus evacuation on Loyola and St. Charles but found out there were no more open buses. As Linda was trying to figure out how to help her sons get out of New Orleans, she received a call from her niece out of the blue and learned that her niece was only a few minutes away from her two sons on River Road. In the uncertain time where both Lamar and his family weren’t sure what to do, his cousin was able to pick him and his brother up in order to evacuate to Mobile, Alabama, where the rest of Lamar’s extended family was. After a little while in Alabama, Lamar met his parents in Little Rock, with his senior year left to think about. Being the young and respectful young man he was, Lamar told his mother that he wanted to graduate high school with the friends he had spent the last few years with at Bonnabel High in Kenner, Louisiana. So, Lamar packed up and headed back down to Kenner to live with a friend of his to finish out his last year of high school. While staying with this friend, he was able to motivate that friend to finish school with him and all of their friends. They graduated in the spring of 2006 from Bonnabel High. Lamar was a great influence on his friends, and many still reminisce on their times together in high school. Most often, they remember how kind and thoughtful of a person Lamar was, and still is in their hearts.

After high school, Lamar became even closer with his older brother Michael. The two men had dreams of becoming producers and rap stars. They would spend their time together writing songs and producing videos. One time, the two put together a song and accompanying video, and uploaded it to YouTube. Lamar’s mother said that was a poet with his rap lyrics and created amazing songs with his brother.

After some time, Lamar met the woman he would soon fall in love with, Adrienne Sandifer. Lamar had always been a kind and patient person

Lamar with his daughter

Lamar with his daughter

toward children. With Adrienne having one son and another on the way, Lamar soon became a father figure to those boys and a loving partner to Adrienne. Lamar loved spending time with his sons and was a caring father. After some time together, Lamar and Adrienne had a daughter who Lamar loved spending time with as well. Lamar’s loving nature and family-oriented lifestyle would regularly bring smiles to his partner and children’s faces. Although Lamar started his own family in New Orleans, he would still make time to help family members whenever needed. Lamar’s grandmother, Ann Franks, was a huge part of Lamar’s life and he would carve out time to spend with her, and helped her whenever she needed.

Lamar’s life is one of love and tragedy. On May 26, 2015, after a traffic stop for tinted windows, Lamar was arrested on a year old warrant out of another parish. After only a few days of being stuck in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, Lamar was found unresponsive and eventually passed away on June 10, 2015. Lamar’s story was a pillar in the establishment of the Fair Fight Initiative out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to prevent incarcerated individuals’ stories from ending like Lamar’s did.

Even in death, Lamar left behind a large and loving family who still reminisce on his life to this day. Lamar’s story is one that brings joy and tears to everyone’s eyes. Lamar is remembered for his caring and loving nature that will continue to live in all of his friends’ and families’ hearts forever.

Author: Courtney Blevins