Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series which checks in on individuals who grew up in the Leesville area to find out what they have been up to.
Tami Curtis Guy was born in a Shreveport hospital and raised in Springhill, a small town on the Louisiana-Arkansas border. Her family moved to Leesville at the beginning of her Sophomore year.
"Leesville High School was a completely unique experience for me because of the students that were children of the military families at Fort Polk,” Guy said. “The blending of the cultural experiences and hearing from peers that had more of a world-wide view was instrumental in opening my mind and thought process.
My two best friends Leslie Johnston and Lynne Bushyhead were both ‘Army brats’ and truly made me see things with a different and broader vision. That coupled with the grounding of a small town where the Christian faith was rooted was indeed a blessing. As a matter of fact, Leslie, Lynne, and I are still in touch and close to this day.”
Her parents Ray and Jackie Curtis worked for the Vernon Parish School Board.
Ray was Guy’s art teacher at Leesville High (LHS). "I so cherish getting to have his mentorship at home and in the classroom, as well as being able to watch him teach and share his gift with others,” she said. “My mother earned her degree in special education after our moving to Leesville. She progressed from teacher's aide, to teacher, to Special Education Supervisor. Later she became a state consultant. She still lives in Leesville.”
Ray passed away in 1997.
Barney Wilson was also Guy’s art teacher at LHS. “He and my father became the best of friends,” she said. “They started the LHS Art Club and took us on amazing trips to the Fort Worth Dallas area to visit the galleries and museums.”
Guy was very active in the LHS choir as the piano player, led by Mrs. Anderson, who was also her private piano teacher. “I loved the experiences and opportunities to perform for LHS as well as other venues where the choir traveled,” Guy said.
After graduation she attended Louisiana Tech, receiving a BA in Art Education and Graphic Design.
Currently she is a full-time artist living in New Orleans (in the process of moving to Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi).
She feels her greatest accomplishment is her three children. “(They) have all grown up to be caring and giving individuals,” Guy said. After them, her second greatest accomplishment is her art career which led her to owning her a successful gallery on Magazine Street in New Orleans. There, she implements regular art classes for the female inmates at the Orleans Jail, in association with Church Of The King.
In ten years, Guy expects to still be creating art, but more “art for art's sake.” She hopes to be plugging her images into the community to help with fundraising and mentoring up-and-coming young artists to make a real living with their talent.
She loves playing the piano, researching, kayaking and – when she can – snorkeling, camping and seeing things she has never seen before.
Guy hopes Leesville will rise up as a strong area of the arts, of which Tony McDonald has been a champion, she said. “Art is what transforms a community from surviving to thriving.”