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April 23, 2006
Katrina's Tide Carries Many to Hopeful Shores

LITHONIA, Ga. — One afternoon last August, a young bus driver headed to an office in a suburb of New Orleans, humming the song to an old television show. He arrived just before his wife, who was pregnant with their first child and escorting four troubled teenagers from the alternative school where she worked.

At 24, the driver, Whitney Marcell, weighed 300 pounds, and answered to the name Big Man. His wife, Jeralyn, who goes by Fu, had just turned 28. She brought along the hard-faced adolescents because her own hard life had presented her with a gloriously teachable moment: Big Man and Fu, up-from-nothing products of New Orleans's roughest projects, were about to buy their first home.

"Are you sure you can afford it?" friends had sniped, but Mr. Marcell's only worry about the $86,500 loan was whether the terms would let him pay it off early. The couple signed a pile of legal papers and left the office owning a house in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward.

As he packed that night, Mr. Marcell returned to the song from "The Jeffersons," a sitcom about a dry cleaner and his wife who had risen to the black bourgeoisie. Like his television heroes, George and Louise, Mr. Marcell crooned about "moving on up," then startled himself by crying.

Two days later, Hurricane Katrina struck with biblical force, destroying the Marcells' new home, and chasing them to the outskirts of Atlanta, where they became part of the largest American diaspora since Dust Bowl days. But despite the loss of nearly everything they owned, the Marcells say they have moved up again.

The median household income in their new neighborhood is nearly twice that in the Lower Ninth Ward, and more than four times that in the projects where they had lived. Though they had recently worked their way out of poverty in New Orleans, the Marcells say this mostly black suburb offers much safer streets, better schools and a stronger economy.

The Marcells' journey illustrates one surprising benefit from an otherwise terrible storm: the exodus took low-income families to areas richer in opportunity.

The New York Times analyzed relocation patterns in 17 counties in and around Atlanta and Houston, two leading destinations for Katrina evacuees. Like the Marcells, the average evacuee has landed in a neighborhood with nearly twice the income as the one left behind, less than half as much poverty, and significantly higher levels of education, employment and home ownership.

Still, it is unclear whether a better environment will bring success, for the Marcells or for others like them.

The Marcells say Atlanta has plenty of jobs, but seven months after the storm they are still jobless. They praise the school their 10-year-old attends but put much of their energy into his nascent rap career, as his reading scores lag. By the time George Jefferson was "Moving on Up," he had seven dry-cleaning stores and a "de-luxe apartment in the sky" — not, as the Marcells do, unemployment checks and subsidized housing.

Some Katrina families may be too traumatized to benefit from the moves. Others may drift back to poor areas when government aid decreases. Even if they stay, the new neighborhoods may make little difference. Other forces — like family structure, cultural heritage and personal motivation — may do more to shape success.

Nonetheless, the relocation of tens of thousands of low-income families creates a grand experiment in class mixing. While the full effects will not be known for years, Ms. Marcell is among those who think it will succeed. She was furious with Barbara Bush last fall when the former first lady, seeming to ignore the pain the storm had caused, said the evacuation was "working very well" because most displaced families "were underprivileged anyway." Yet in calling Atlanta a "land of opportunity," Ms. Marcell, from the other end of the class spectrum, is making a parallel point.

Like many black New Orleanians, she has spent years listening to boosterish accounts from friends and family in greater Atlanta. She insists there is no going back. "Everybody we know who came up here got a nice-paying job and a house," Ms. Marcell said. "We going to have our time to shine."

A Thriving Black Middle Class

DeKalb County, where the Marcells have settled, shines especially bright for African-Americans. With a population that is 56 percent black, and an average household income close to $50,000, it forms one of the nation's great showcases for the black middle class.

Incorporating part of the city of Atlanta, the county spreads out 20 miles north and east to subdivisions carved from dairy farms. A drug and crime zone runs across a southwestern flank. The Marcells' apartment, in Lithonia, is on the booming eastern edge.

It is a place that encourages African-Americans to think big. Among the local growth industries is the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which claims 25,000 members, including the Marcells. In pushing a gospel of prosperity, New Birth's pastor, Bishop Eddie L. Long, has practiced what he has preached. As reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, his compensation from a charity affiliated with the church topped $3 million over four years.

Three years ago, New Birth started a center for aspiring entrepreneurs. Darold P. Honore Jr., one parishioner Bishop Long nurtured in business, arrived from New Orleans two decades ago and is now Lithonia's part-time mayor. "It's different from the Big Easy, where everyone's pretty much contented," Mr. Honore said. "Here it's more or less moving and shaking."

To make his point, he offered a tour of subdivisions bulging with 10,000-square-foot homes, many occupied by Lithonia's black elite. A mile away, all but spilling into the Marcells' apartment, is the four-year-old Stonecrest Mall, which covers former pastureland with 1.3 million square feet of hotels, restaurants and stores.

Growth is the region's secular religion. A half-century ago, Atlanta was a second-string province the size of Birmingham, Ala. Now it is home to four million people and the world's busiest airport, with a prosperity that crosses color lines. Compared with blacks nationwide, the black population of greater Atlanta is much better paid, much better educated and much more likely to be raising children with two parents at home.

William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, found that since the mid-1980's, more black New Orleanians have left for greater Atlanta than for any other place. Among them was Mr. Marcell's mother, who was 17 when he was born. She left him with his father's mother and joined the crowds in the out-bound lane.

Up From the Mean Streets

Once the economic leader of the South, New Orleans has been in decline for at least 100 years. The Marcells came of age there in an especially mean place and time: public housing in the age of crack.

Over the last 25 years, the city had lost nearly one in five residents and one in seven jobs. Seven superintendents had passed through the school system in 10 years. By the mid-1990's, no American city had a higher homicide rate. Raised in the mayhem, the Marcells each clung to a fortifying thought: "I'm better than this."

Home for Mr. Marcell was the St. Thomas project, a low-rise slum along the Mississippi River near the mansions of the Garden District. When he talks of the grandmother who raised him there, Mercedes Jackson, he dwells on two points: she worked a lot — as a hospital aide — and prayed even more. "I cannot say I ever saw a day when she did not get on her knees," he said.

His father, who had a job in a printing plant, lived nearby with a younger set of children, and visited often. With a third of the St. Thomas apartments vacant, trouble could hide anywhere. Mr. Marcell took to hiding, too, behind a genial front that gave little away. "You can't show your teeth to every guy you meet," he said. "Cause everybody not ready to be cool."

Ms. Marcell grew up in like fashion — in a working poor family stuck in the projects but steadied by faith. Her mother, Sherry Williams, raised six children in the B. W. Cooper Homes as a nursing aide. Ms. Marcell's father, a roofer, lived with the family into her teens, when her parents divorced.

Pregnant in the 10th grade, Ms. Marcell left school, but quickly earned a high school equivalency degree and put her jauntiness to work as a waitress. To improve her vocabulary, she had a younger sister, Keisha — a future high school valedictorian — drill her on word lists. "I always was talking — I won't say like a thug — but like a street person," Ms. Marcell said. "I knew I could talk better."

Crack arrived midway through the Marcells' youths, turning the projects into killing zones. A 9-year-old boy in Ms. Marcell's neighborhood lost his life to an errant bullet just weeks after writing to President Bill Clinton "to stop the killings." Among the items Keisha salvaged from the Katrina flood was her 2004 valedictory speech at John McDonogh High School, lamenting "evil and its wicked ways," a reference to the day in her junior year when three teenagers with an AK-47 executed a rival during gym class.

After finishing high school in 1999, Mr. Marcell joined his mother in DeKalb County, where she had prospered as a medical billing specialist and married a sheriff's deputy. But Mr. Marcell returned to New Orleans after a year and met his future wife in a club.

Ms. Marcell recalls hearing God tell her she was looking into her husband's face. "I asked him, did he have Christ in his life," she said. He asked her the same. They married seven months later and started family life in the Cooper project with Ms. Marcell's 6-year-old son, Rashad Ballard.

Though they worked a set of menial jobs, like parking cars and waiting tables, they also started a series of entrepreneurial ventures: a house-cleaning business, car detailing and a Friday night takeout service called "Big Man and Fu's Suppers."

In 2004, the Marcells moved up — him to a job as a city bus driver, her to a counselor's post at a school for juvenile delinquents. Rashad, a shy schoolboy off the stage but a dervish on it, started a rap career. After a few small-time gigs, he appeared on the BET network last spring for a few seconds of background dancing in a video by the rapper Chopper.

"We saw a massive change in our life just ahead," Ms. Marcell said. "Cause we knew that Rashad's career was going to hit off."

With a combined income of more than $40,000, the Marcells discovered they could get a mortgage, and they found a four-bedroom home last summer in the Lower Ninth Ward. As they moved their belongings the day after the house settlement, Hurricane Katrina rushed toward New Orleans. With Ms. Marcell four months pregnant, they were in no mood to test the storm.

They left for Georgia that night, planning a short stay with Mr. Marcell's mother. In time, most of their scattered family would join them outside Atlanta— 25 people in seven apartments, one exit from Stonecrest Mall.

Neighborhoods of Hope

Like pellets from a shotgun blast, New Orleanians spread everywhere, filing change-of-address cards from cities as distant as Anchorage and San Juan, P.R. About 365,000 city residents fled; only about a quarter have returned.

Given the physics of race and class, there was reason to worry about where they would land. Three-quarters of flood-zone residents were black, and nearly 6 in 10 were living on less than $30,000 a year. Nationally, such families tend to be crowded together in areas long on crime, short on jobs and plagued by inferior schools.

That is not the story of Katrina evacuees. In both Atlanta and Houston, their neighborhoods look much like the region as a whole. Measured against where they had lived in New Orleans, most find that a big step up.

To examine relocation patterns, The Times counted evacuees at elementary schools in metropolitan Atlanta and Houston: 13,000 students at 1,100 schools. Using the schools as proxies for neighborhoods, The Times then analyzed the surrounding Census Bureau tracts.

In both cities, the average evacuee lives in a place extraordinary only for its ordinariness. Neighborhoods where evacuees settled have virtually identical levels of education, employment and homeownership as the surrounding metropolis.

Those areas do have somewhat greater concentrations of minority residents and single mothers, and slightly lower incomes. But they are no more prone to outright poverty.

"It looks a lot better than I would have guessed," said Myron Orfield, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who studies regional inequality. "I would have guessed that Katrina families would have been relocated in tracts much more disadvantaged and more segregated than the region as a whole."

Jesse Rothstein, a Princeton economist, agreed. "These are better neighborhoods than I would have expected," Mr. Rothstein said.

The real contrast for evacuees is with the neighborhoods they have left behind.

In the flooded neighborhoods of New Orleans, annual household income was $27,000. In the average evacuee's tract in Atlanta, it is $52,000.

In New Orleans, 42 percent of the neighborhood children were poor. In evacuee tracts in Atlanta, the rate is 12 percent.

In New Orleans, about half the child-rearing families in the flood zones had fathers in their homes. In evacuee tracts in Atlanta, nearly three-quarters do.

"I love New Orleans, don't get me wrong," Ms. Marcell said. "But I thank God we are in Atlanta."

The pattern of resettlement may have been shaped in part by the success of previous migrations. Some evacuees turned first to family or friends prosperous enough to take them in, then settled nearby — a subtle form of upward steering.

The Marcells are a good example. They started at Mr. Marcell's mother's house, three exits away on Interstate 20 from where they live now. Since the Marcells were still on the public housing rolls — they had not officially left the projects — they received a voucher from the federal government for 18 months' rent at a private apartment. They wanted one near a good school, and a friend suggested Stoneview Elementary.

On a recent morning, Rashad left home just past 8 looking like a cover of Vibe magazine, with a Pepe Jeans jacket and Size 4 Timberland boots. His back bent from a bulging pack, he walked three blocks to school and entered a classroom trailer, where his teacher, David Smith, fussed at his fourth-grade charges.

"Remember: a person who will not read ... " Mr. Smith began.

A chorus roared back: "... is no better than a person who cannot read!"

Demographically, Stoneview fits the stereotype of a troubled urban school. More than 90 percent of its students are black, and 85 percent receive a subsidized lunch. Only 23 percent of fifth graders exceed state standards on reading tests, about half the metro average.

Still, a tone of crisp purpose is set by its principal, Farrell Young. Parents from New Orleans marvel at the automated phone calls they get whenever a student fails to check in. While few Stoneview students ace the reading test, 81 percent pass it, not far off the metropolitan Atlanta average of 89 percent.

Among evacuees, it is an article of faith that the local schools far surpass those back home. For Ms. Marcell, Exhibit A is Mr. Smith, who has been quick to call her whenever Rashad seems down. "Mr. Smith really cares," Ms. Marcell said.

By the time the bell rang, Rashad had crowded onto the floor beside classmates to imagine a slave ship's hold; written a paragraph about ice cream; divided 4,133 by 5; and learned a mnemonic to track the inner planets of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars: "M-Vem."

"What's the name of that big college in Massachusetts I want y'all to go to?" Mr. Smith asked. "When y'all go off to Haah-vaaad, remember 'M-Vem.' "

Two Sides of Resettlement

Can better neighborhoods rescue the poor? Or will bad luck and habits follow wherever they land?

Optimists may note that the United States was built on the promise of fresh starts, from the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock to Pakistani cab drivers in Queens. A change of address has turned prairie nobodies into California gold-strike kings, and a Mississippi migrant named Oprah Winfrey into a Chicago billionaire.

Yet migrant lore also includes its special brand of the blues, the lament of those who discover the streets are not paved with gold.

Don Wilson is one Stoneview parent who thinks Atlanta sparkles. Since arriving seven months ago, he has landed a job and then a promotion, to sales manager for Global HealthCare Systems, a company that sells discount cards for medical services. He said he was earning 25 percent more than he did in New Orleans as a recruiter for a technical school. "I get to make someone's life better, and at the same time be prosperous," Mr. Wilson said.

A New Orleans native, Mr. Wilson moved away, returning five years ago at the age of 40 to find a stagnant city with few prospects for blacks. In Atlanta, he sees black achievers everywhere.

"It's nothing to see people driving around in Mercedes, and they look like you," he said. "They're black. That tells you that you could do it."

"I love the environment," Mr. Wilson said. "I'm really happy."

Sheba Akmin's reaction could not have been more different. Landing in Lithonia, Ms. Akmin, a 30-year-old hairdresser, dropped five dress sizes and developed stomach ulcers. She missed home so much she drove to New Orleans just to buy groceries, returning from the 12-hour round trip with king cakes, Bunny Bread, smoked sausages and a stash of filé powder.

"I wasn't familiar with the food in Atlanta," she said.

The bustle that excites Mr. Wilson left Ms. Akmin drained. She was appalled that her neighbors did not know one another's names, and wounded by the rejection she got when applying for jobs. "People in Atlanta is bougie — they stuck up," she said. "Everybody is for themselves. It's zoom, zoom, zoom."

In March, her boyfriend, a cook, reclaimed his job at a New Orleans restaurant, and she raced back home with him. "I know there was opportunity for me" in Atlanta, she said. "But all I did is cry."

Katrina families differ from the classic American migrant in at least one important way: they did not choose to move. Simply by deciding to strike out from home, the immigrant of lore has already shown much of the drive needed to succeed. Evacuees' ambitions, unlike their neighborhoods, cannot be quantified.

Anthony Hall, another Stoneview parent, has enrolled in DeKalb Technical School, but warned: "A lot of people right now are waiting around. You got to get that out of your mind; Oprah can only help so many people."

Migrants typically prosper most in places with prosperity to share. That is why Atlanta and Houston, with more jobs at higher pay, hold a promise that New Orleans lacked. But migrations are shaped by the migrants, too, their culture, character and connections.

Social networks are especially important. Newcomers tend to thrive where they have friends. Mr. Wilson, the medical-card salesman, found his job through his New Orleans church, which had formed an Atlanta congregation. Ms. Akmin was isolated. "I didn't know anybody," she said.

Local reaction can also shape migrants' success. Greater Houston has more than 100,000 evacuees, whose presence is a source of growing strain. A series of high school brawls has pitted evacuees against local rivals, and displaced New Orleans gangs have been blamed in part for a surge of homicides. Mayor Bill White led a welcoming effort, but public sentiment is turning against evacuees.

Even in metropolitan Atlanta, which has about a third as many evacuees as Houston, many complain they are being labeled freeloaders or criminals.

For all the promise of the new neighborhoods, other problems can get in the way. The troubled New Orleans schools, for one, may have left students too far behind their new peers.

Texas officials have estimated that Katrina students, on average, lag their new classmates by at least a full grade. In Lithonia, standardized tests show Rashad reading two years below his grade level, even though he got A's and B's back home.

The move up may also prove short-lived if evacuees are forced into worse areas or if their current neighborhoods decline. Reviewing the Times data, Professor Orfield, the Minnesota scholar, saw one warning sign: evacuee schools looked worse than evacuee neighborhoods. They have more low-income students than schools regionwide, more minorities and lower test scores. That is worrisome, he said, because "the schools resegregate first and the neighborhoods tend to follow."

In Atlanta, the tipping appears to have begun, according to the Times analysis. In the average evacuee's neighborhood, the black and Hispanic population grew to 49 percent in 2000 from 31 percent in 1990. Single motherhood also rose, and the employment rate declined.

Another possibility is even more fundamental: what if neighborhoods matter less than commonly thought? As far back as Jacob Riis, the 19th-century crusader against slums, experts have argued that bad neighborhoods perpetuate poverty, steeping the poor in bad influences while walling them off from good schools and jobs.

In making a parallel case, contemporary social scientists have been particularly influenced by the Gautreaux program in Chicago, which moved black families from public housing into white suburbs, where more adults found jobs and more children went on to college. Gautreaux began in 1976 and lasted two decades.

But a successor program, Moving to Opportunity, failed to replicate the results. Operating in five cities in the 1990's, the program moved public-housing tenants of all races into neighborhoods with less poverty. An evaluation, published three years ago, showed that the transplanted adults neither worked more nor earned more than those who had stayed behind.

"The process of neighborhood influence appears to be more subtle and complex than most of us thought," said Jeffrey Kling, a Brookings scholar who helped evaluate the program.

Moving to Opportunity produced one clear benefit: it left the transplanted families feeling much safer. After years of housing-project violence, the Marcells revel in a similar sense of safety. "It's a relief to be someplace where people's not shooting," Mr. Marcell said.

One reason for the otherwise disappointing results may have been the modesty of the moves. Most Moving to Opportunity participants landed in areas only marginally better than those they had left; having moved farther up the neighborhood ladder, Katrina evacuees may reap bigger benefits.

Another explanation is that influences like family dynamics or cultural mores may matter more than neighborhoods. Among those tacitly making that case was Rashad's teacher, Mr. Smith, who recently transferred to a nearby school.

When Mr. Smith moved to DeKalb six years ago, he sought a school like the one where he had taught in Savannah, Ga., filled with the children of Asian immigrants. "You talk about students who want to learn! I was drooling!" he said. Asked how Stoneview students compared, he paused, then said, "I don't think education is stressed, or stressed enough."

'Go-Getters' With a Dream

Ms. Marcell answers talk of potential pitfalls with a forecast of success, "because we are some go-getters." But with both Marcells still unemployed, the go-getters have yet to get going.

Mr. Marcell said he initially delayed a job search to stay at home with his pregnant wife. Then he applied at four stores, a restaurant and several gas stations, he said, without getting hired. He did reject an offer to drive a bus three days a week, saying he was put off by the part-time schedule. He added, "I really don't know about bus driving down here; the streets are kind of narrow."

Now with his unemployment benefits extended, he is postponing his job search to focus on Rashad's career. "I'm trying to help my son pursue his dreams," he said.

Ms. Marcell also turned down a job, as a helper at a day care center; she decided to postpone work until she had the baby. Whitney Mercedes Marcell, a girl, arrived on Feb. 7, and Ms. Marcell said she planned to find a job when her daughter turns three months old.

In the meantime, she has revived a previous business plan, pitching kitchen cabinets to the New Orleans housing authority. Officially still one of its tenants, she has an edge when bidding on the agency's contracts. Teaming up with a Mississippi manufacturer, she thought she had her first deal just before the storm, a renovation of 36 apartments that would have brought her a fee of 7 percent, or about $15,000.

With much of the city's public housing in need of reconstruction, Ms. Marcell is trying to finalize that deal and land new ones. "I'm not going to let this go," she said. "I worked too hard for it."

Though jobless, the Marcells are not destitute and have been able to replace much of what they lost to the flood. They have a new wide-screen television, a new computer and a new living-room suite. Last fall, Mr. Marcell's 1992 Chevy Suburban was stolen. Though it was uninsured against theft, he bought a newer model, and added a DVD player.

"We are a hard-working family," Mr. Marcell said. "We feel entitled to live comfortable."

The $400 a week they get in unemployment checks replaces only about half their former take-home pay. But insurance paid off their mortgage (giving them title to the land). And with their housing voucher they pay no rent. In net terms, the rough numbers provided by the Marcells show that their income has fallen by about $175 a week — or by about $5,300 over seven months.

Against that, they have received more than $7,000 in lump-sum payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross and relatives. And the Marcells said they arrived in Atlanta with about $8,000 in savings. "That's what we're really cutting into now," Mr. Marcell said.

Others in their family are off to a similarly slow job hunt. "I'm going to wait until my little unemployment check runs out" before going back to work, said Ms. Marcell's mother, who collected $10,000 from FEMA for the contents of her flooded apartment. After two decades in nursing homes, she said, "I was tired of working like a dog."

After 26 years in a printing plant, Mr. Marcell's father, Widdon Jackson, is collecting unemployment. Keisha, the valedictorian, was in college back home, but after months in Atlanta without work or school, she left for Houston.

The career the Marcells seem most focused on now belongs to Rashad, who raps under the name Lil' Chucky.

"I just hope that people like Oprah Winfrey, people like Puff Daddy, will get a chance to hear his cry," Mr. Marcell said.

" 'Shad got a good career going," said Mr. Marcell's father. "He going to make his family rich!"

Their spirits soared a few months ago when Mr. Marcell got Rashad on the stage at an awards show, just yards from the rap star Ludacris. Not long after that, a bigger break seemed to appear in the form of an electronic beat, a percussive track over which original lyrics can be dubbed. The beat, recorded by an engineer named Vaughn Pacsch'l but known as Afro, borrowed its refrain from another black sitcom, "Good Times."

"As soon as I heard that beat, I said this is the one," Mr. Marcell said. A good beat can sell for $1,000 or more; Afro agreed to sell three for $500, including "Good Times," and tape Rashad's version of the song.

For weeks, the Marcells honed their lyrics, mixing nostalgia for home with criticisms of FEMA's response to the hurricane. "Good Times" became "Good Tymez."

The night of the taping, everyone was tense. Mr. Marcell idled the Suburban in a gas station parking lot and ran Rashad through practice takes. Ms. Marcell returned from the station's cash machine and counted out the money she owed Afro. Rashad, still awaiting dinner, kept messing up his lines. "Get more aggressive!" Mr. Marcell said.

Shortly before 8 p.m., the Suburban rumbled into a trim subdivision where Afro answered the door in tinted glasses and braids. His wife — a nurse hoping to make it as a singer — introduced herself as Oracle, then said her real name was Destiny.

Hat cocked, pants loose, ablaze with cubic zirconium, Rashad arrived with more bling than zing. He looked pooped. "Go in the corner, get in your zone," Mr. Marcell said. "You're going to be hitting this mike in a second."

"What's wrong with you?" asked Ms. Marcell. "Loosen up."

Rashad did a 360-degree turn, splayed his legs, and lifted an arm, as though crowning himself with an exclamation point.

"Let's run it," Afro said.

Rashad flubbed his first line.

"Show some more aggression!" Mr. Marcell said.

Rashad missed the second take. His timing was off on Takes 3 and 4. He garbled the words on Take 5.

"Come on," said his mother. "Let's nail this!"

Katrina left my city flat But I'm about to bring it back And we going to have a good time!

"That's it!" Ms. Marcell said.

Mr. Marcell glowed and growled out a verse.

Man the government is so lazy But if I woulda lost my wife and my unborn baby I woulda went crazy.

"You sound really mad at Bush!" Ms. Marcell laughed. "You sound like Tupac!"

"It's 4:09 — radio friendly," Afro said.

It was almost 10 p.m., and Rashad had school in the morning.

"I'm a go home, take a bath, and go straight to bed," he said to no one in particular. Retakes followed, and lots of waiting, as Afro adjusted the mix. By 10:30, Rashad was asleep on the floor, and Mr. Marcell soon fell asleep there, too, after pledging to get the finished disc to a radio station first thing in the morning.

He dropped it off a few days later, but it was never broadcast.

Still, the evening left Ms. Marcell jazzed. She sat up past midnight telling Destiny her dreams, as Afro spun the dials, searching for the elusive formula for success.

Matthew Ericson and Alain Delaquérière contributed research for this article.