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Helene Rosea Guedry was born in 2002 in Breaux Bridge, St Martin Parish, in southern Louisiana. Her mother, Celestine, was Mixed-Race - European and Haitian Creole, and Native American. Her father, Lucien, was Louisiana Creole from one of the more well-to-do families. Rumours still swirl that the marriage was hasty and arranged to hide the out-of-wedlock pregnancy of Julien, their first child and Helene's older brother, now 23. She also has three younger sisters, Aurore, 18, Francine, 16, and Jehanne, 13.

Helene grew up in her family's historic, plantation-style home outside Breaux Bridge. They enjoyed a decent and quite conservative upbringing. The family on her father's side had substantial historical wealth through tobacco cultivation. Riding horses and swimming were their go-to activities. The family would often attend events sponsored by the local Catholic diocese. Still, Celestine also introduced the children to elements of both Vodou and her native American beliefs, teachings that had come to her from her own parents.

Over time, Helene developed into a gentle and kind young girl who tended to be viewed by others as the baby of the siblings and the most artistic and creative. She did ballet before looking for modern dance styles. Her early art studies began with traditional watercolours before moving on to her first trial attempts at artistic photography, looking to exploit the powerful software tools that were now available.

Helene has been taking pictures of anything and everything since the family bought a mobile phone for her when she was 13. Being a true artist, she continued to improve her craft and experimented as best she could with the resources available. Helene envisioned becoming a photojournalist to parlay her passion for photography into a career.

Her mother's background and teachings took root most effectively in Helene. While her siblings largely conformed to conservative behaviours and modest dress, Helene followed her artistic whims more than her sense of decorum. She expressed political and social views that could be called radical in this part of the world. At the same time, she would say she dressed that way because of her creative side; she clearly delighted in shocking people. "What's the point if you aren't going to get reactions?" was her reply when a sister asked.

Helene took a radical step at age sixteen when she got her first tattoo. Her body art was not haphazard or random. It was always filled with mystical meaning, associated with Native American beliefs or vodou symbols that evoked Erzulie Freda. The reaction from the people around her was as expected: immediate and extreme. All her sisters openly objected, her brother disapproved, and her paternal grandparents literally disowned her until she tore the 'sinful markings' from her skin. She had already been experimenting with her sexuality, finding the person with whom love, and not lust, felt natural;  and she got her first piercing, again part rebellion and part exploration. Unsurprisingly, she was expelled from high school and completed the remaining two years at home.

She dyed her hair, added more piercings to her tattoos, and when she graduated high school, she left home. She'd saved enough to buy a motorcycle and rode away one night to find a different world. Most of her family cared little. Only her mother retained any contact. She spoke with her often, tried to keep tabs on her and gave Helene some money when she couldn't make it on her own.

When her mother died of Covid last year, Helene finally felt utterly alone. She soon had to confront the reality that her photography needed to be better to earn a decent living. Desperate for some money, Helene took a job stripping. Dancing, she continually tried to say to herself, as if it would make her feel better. Getting a reaction from people who watched her now paid for the next night's rent and Helene was good at it. If that was all, then Helene could have managed well enough but she had run headlong into a seedy world with people out to exploit her, and it has been wearing her down. Rarely staying anywhere for long, her career choice - if choice is what it is - has now brought her to Hathian. She has her bike, a bag with what passes for her possessions, and a desire to climb out of this pit. With few other options available, she has got a job at the Titty Twister.

February 26, 2024 at 7:32 pm
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February 27, 2024 at 3:24 pm
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February 27, 2024 at 3:25 pm
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March 3, 2024 at 1:34 am
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March 4, 2024 at 10:48 am
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March 4, 2024 at 11:35 am
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March 5, 2024 at 1:02 am
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March 5, 2024 at 5:10 am
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March 5, 2024 at 5:42 pm
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