Painting the Pain

Kyra Rodgers came home from school, KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School on Monday Jan. 23 and turned on the television to watch her favorite show, WWE Smack Down. It seemed like a regular Monday night routine for the 13-year-old. However, her routine was interrupted when Kyra received the news that her father was murdered.

Kyra’s father, Michael “Boo Boo” County, was a Domino’s Pizza delivery man, delivering pizza to a home in Algiers, La. around the 5900 block of Stratford Place. While making his delivery, an anonymous driver opened fire. Neighbors tried to resuscitate County, however he was non-responsive.

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Michael “Boo Boo” County Courtesy of FOX 8

Through the devastation, Kyra has made painting her outlet as a way to grieve and express herself.

“Art is a form of therapy,and it is a coping mechanism,” Loreal Ivory, a senior at  Xavier University of Louisiana  majoring in Psychology said. “It is also helpful for those grieving.”

Kyra’s interest for art began at William J. Fisher Elementary School in the third grade art club, and luckily she has continued to fine tune her skills at KIPP. Her talent in visual art has helped her in the grieving process.

According to research conducted by the Institute of Women and Ethic Studies, out of 1,200 kids ages 10 to 16-years-old in the study, half of them have lost a loved one to murder.

Kyra wishes that more schools had programs that allowed kids to be creative and cope under times of pain, especially for students who suffer detrimental loss. For anyone in Kyra’s position, she said, “If you are grieving, put your feelings to a positive way, not a negative way.”

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Kyra Rodgers Courtesy of her Instagram

Kyra said that her father’s death helped her grow as an artist. “It has made me more focused,” said Kyra, “I no longer have to sketch out my drawings, it just comes off the top of my head.”

Three days after her father died Kyra and her family walked into an art gallery at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, to view her pieces featured in the exhibit for KIPP students. In fact, Kyra’s family members were the first to arrive.

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Kyra Rodger’s Art

Kyra’s mother, Dominiquie Rodgers said, “Your father would have been so proud of you if he were here. He would have wanted all of these pieces.”

Kyra turned to her mother with tears in her eyes and said, “He is here. He is in this room.”

Detectives are investigating this crime. Anyone with information, please call 504.822.1111.

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