Category: Chattanooga

Sight & Hope Restored

By Anna Truss

Kathleen Stephens stands on a hill in front of the dock in the Chickamauga Dam Day Use Area. Wednesday, November 23, 2022. (Photo by Anna Truss).

While many people plan to retire fully by 65, that dream is not always a reality for everyone. Kathleen Stephens, a resident of Hamilton County, TN, is still a full time certified nursing assistant at the age of 79.

“I still work full time and I thank God for that because I can see what I’m doing, because before I wouldn’t have been able to see,” Stephens said.

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Dedicated to Dance

By Madison Van Horn

Pierceton Mazell stretches in the studio at Chattanooga Ballet. Thursday, December 3, 2022. (Photo By Madison Van Horn).

The world of ballet is more than just sugar plum fairies and pirouettes. With years of training and a deep passion for artistry, professional dancers like Pierceton Mazell revolve their lives around dance.

“A lot of people haven’t been exposed to this type of lifestyle,” Mazell said. “Dancers are professional athletes without the benefits of professional athletes. You know, it’s a passion project and it’s a lifestyle job.”

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Miss Nola’s Gumbo

Written By Hannah Blair Hurt

Video By Cassandra Castillo.

If you happen to be rolling down Brainerd Road on a Saturday afternoon, you may find multiple generations of the Taylor family packed into their food truck, stirring up some authentic cajun cuisine. 

Tacia Taylor, affectionately called ‘Miss Nola’ by some in the community, runs Nola Girls Gumbo while also working a nine-to-five and running a nonprofit organization. Taylor is no stranger to the food industry; her parents opened their restaurant in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans when she was just thirteen years old. 

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Movements Of The Mill

By Jules Jackson

Video By Jules Jackson. Cover Photo By Alexis McMurtry.

The skeletal remains of the Standard-Coosa-Thatcher mill complex glow as if they were on fire. Inside, the Pop-up Project is going through the final rehearsal for If These Walls Could Talk, an immersive dance performance that seeks to tell the history of the mill before it is lost to the collective memory of Chattanooga.

“It’s just such a beautiful space,” says Jules Downum, director and co-founder of the Pop-up Project. “It didn’t take a lot of work on our part to make the space impactful. And the stories were already here.”

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Row As You Grow

Written by Anna Truss

Filmed by Jake Redfern and Madison Van Horn. Edited by Jake Redfern.

“Shoulders, ready, up,” calls the coxswain as the team of rowers lifts the boat onto their shoulders.

Kay Hughes and her team were moving their boat to a different dock to prepare for the Head of the Hooch regatta in early November. Even after 10 years of rowing, the thrill has not died for Hughes.

“We had so much fun and people started posting pictures and the camaraderie and the group coming together, it really is truly a team sport,” Hughes mused.

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Life on the Ramp

Written By Niah Davis

Dani Harris catches some air while rollerskating on her backyard ramp. Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (Photo by McKenna Pegrim).

Dani Harris, a Colorado native, has been roller skating practically since birth. Nowadays, the 27-year-old loves nothing more than to grab her skates and pull off some of her favorite tricks on her home ramp. 

“I grew up skating, not at the park, but just with my parents outside of the house or to the grocery store and at the rink,” she says. 

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Gender Equality in Tennessee: The Fight Continues

Written By Madison Van Horn

Elizabeth Sparks looks on at her newborn son, Conan, as her husband holds his hand. Sunday, October 2, 2022. (Photo by Allie English).

Last December, Elizabeth Watts found out that she was pregnant at the age of 19 and was immediately burdened with a heavy decision; to have her child or to have an abortion.

“I’ve always been pro-choice, but I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way I could go through with an abortion,’” Elizabeth said. “I don’t think I could handle that emotionally, but having got pregnant, it made me consider, ‘Does this kid have a future? Will I be able to take care of it? Will I be able to work?’”

This narrative is all too familiar for women across the country, but specifically here in the 45th state for women, Tennessee.

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Reciprocal Blessings

Written By Eli Rushing

Video By Jules Jackson.

Walking into the Soddy Daisy Community Library feels like stepping into an unexpectedly warm hug. String lights hang from the ceiling, local art rests atop the shelves, and two pudgy cats amble around the 2,880 square feet of space that Curtis Cecil and Kelly Flemings are proud to call their library. 

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Backslide

Story By Seth Carpenter

Kyle Carmon takes a photo of him and his husband Joe off their apartment wall in preparation for moving day. Thursday, September 1, 2022. (Photo By Seth Carpenter).

On September 2, Kyle and Joe Carmon finished boxing up their Chattanooga apartment of one year and left for Minnesota. The Carmon’s did all of this in order to protect something many other couples might take for granted: their marriage.

“We were really considering living here for the rest of our lives,” Kyle said. “It’s strange how much can change in such a short amount of time.”

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Legacy in the Cedar

Written By Hannah Blair Hurt

Video By Cassandra Castillo.

If you happen to find yourself deep in the woods of Dunlap, Tennessee, you may come across the smell of burning timber, the peaceful chirping of birds and Steve McBryar wielding his chainsaw, ready to carve his next piece of work. 

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