We Inspire LA; Finding Purpose in the Journey

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One Houma native has found a purpose in her journey to help other women succeed. Latoya Walters, owner of Craftin’ in Peace and founder of a new non-profit We Inspire LA, is striving to bridge the gap between what is and what could be.

Walters found herself with a drinking problem that led to three DWIs landing her in jail for a week. While behind bars, she said she took the opportunity to have conversations with the other women which opened her eyes to the issues that lead to repeat offenders, “The repeating issue was environmental,” she explained,” They were all being released to the same environment which led them right back to jail.” She knew from there that she wanted to serve women, “When I left, I never drank again,” she said, “I really started to push community service.”

Latoya Walters © Tyler Duplantis, Houma Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce

Fast forward two years later when Walters started making tee-shirts that she used as a ministry to connect and talk with women. She was transparent with her customers about her journey of being a single mother, trying to start a business, and dealing with alcoholism. It led to others being comfortable enough to connect with her. Conversations with others taught her about transitional housing and she said it clicked on what she wanted to do.

She admitted that Hurricane Ida got the ball rolling for the plan because that’s when she joined the Rotary Club to help serve the community despite losing her shop and two homes. Joining put her out of her comfort zone and she said she was scared due to her putting labels on herself, “I didn’t label myself as a human,” she explained,” I label myself as a black single mother who came from the hood and I had locks in my hair. I’m thinking they’re going to be saying things about me.” That’s when she gratefully explained that she thought those things about herself and the group took her in which is where her life changed, “When I walked in the room, those people never looked at me as anything other than Latoya. I should have been looking at myself as Latoya.”

It was in Rotary she met Hester Serrano with the Lafourche Parish Correctional Center. Serrano aids with transitioning into society after incarceration which Walters said she immediately connected with,” She literally spoke my dream,” Walters tearfully said, “and here we are today.”

Her experiences and aspirations led to the founding of We Inspire LA, a non-profit that addresses the lack of transitional housing for women. The organization is looking for necessities, toiletries, personal hygiene products, and furniture, the most critical being furniture. The first property, a four-bedroom house that will serve seven women, needs bunk beds along with furniture that will make the transition more comfortable. The home is anticipated to be approved for August. Walters has other properties she owns that she aspires to develop to be used for more housing, the one property closest to her heart, is a home her grandfather raised her in since she was two weeks old.

Craftin’ in Peace Ribbon Cutting: Walters, her three children, and Tara Wolfe (Houma Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce) © Tyler Duplantis, Houma Chamber

Not only did Walters lose her shop during Hurricane Ida, but the storm also wreaked havoc on her childhood home leaving her with the tough decision of demolition or a total renovation which she tearfully admitted she doesn’t have the funds for. She said she would love to collaborate with a local organization to not only help with the decision of demolition but also possibly find the funds and help with direction to renovate after Ida left it in ruins, “I want to see my dream come true and serve the community at the same time. I want to bring new life to it,” she said, “It brought me back to those four years. For me, it’s helping those women because, in Terrebonne Parish, there is nothing for women.” She explained that women in the area are mostly not trustees, and there are no work-release programs offered to women or transitional housing available specifically for women, “We are the caregivers. How do you lock up the caregivers? We are meant to care and provide,” she passionately said, “my goal is to help those women.” 

She also plans to teach women using her business to teach them a trade and to show them they can learn something new. Walters recently became a certified yoga instructor, showcasing her passion in all avenues: “I’m big into transitioning. I came from nothing,” she tearfully said, “I

want to be the example to them that you can do it.” She explained she had put stigmas on herself that held her back for so long, but once she plugged into a healthy support system that she calls her tribe, she quickly realized she is not only capable of thriving, but also able to use her servant heart to help those that are in need.

Not only is she the founder of the non-profit organization, but she also is the owner of Craftin’ in Peace which recently celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the same day she celebrated her four years of sobriety. “I literally crafted myself to peace,” she said. The shop, located in Houma, is mostly run by her 17-year-old daughter who she describes as an independent teenager that is stronger than she was at the age. Craftin’ in Peace, located at 109 5th St. in Houma, offers supplies needed for tee-shirt making including blanks.

We Inspire LA accepts monetary donations through PayPal which allows donors to select what the donation goes towards such as construction, appliances, bedding and clothing, and hygiene and feminine products. Cashapp is also accepted, @weinspireLA. For more information, visit weinspirela.org and follow them on Facebook. You can also call Latoya Walters at 985-293-5556.