BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Klipper Headz is a little barber shop with a big business.
It is located on Scotland Avenue just off Scenic Highway near Southern University. Owner Maurice Bridges and stylist Antoine Rowley work comfortably inside while watching the busy life that is LA 19, Scotland Avenue, right outside in front of their building. They 'clip' and watch as people rush to and from work, to and from shopping, grab lunch right next door or enjoying great conversation while their car or truck is being detailed on the corner.
Every Friday for years and years, Bridges and Rowley have also watched as a lady pulls up to the corner of Scenic Highway and Scotland Avenue, sets up a portable 6' table, carefully unloads crockpots and tins of home-cooked food and feeds anyone who might walk up in need of a hot meal.
"She's been doing this for years," Rowley exclaimed as he put the finishing touches on a fresh shave.
"We should do something for her," Bridges added with a slight question in his voice. "But what?"
The two stylists decided to contribute bottled water to her cause as often as they could. The pair was still talking about the lady who feeds the hungry when regular customer Michael Veal stopped by for a trim. Coincidentally, he was thinking about the lady while he was driving to Klipper Headz that very morning.
"Wow," Veal said out loud when he entered the shop and heard the tail end of the conversation. "I was just thinking the same thing about this lady, thinking we should do something to acknowledge her efforts."
Veal got his regular haircut and left, but the conversation was still heavy on his heart. So, he decided to contact WAFB and our Hand It On program. We immediately took interest. We agreed to meet Veal, Bridges and Rowley at Klipper Headz one Friday to surprise this lady with our Hand It On gift. And that we did!
Everyone in the neighborhood knows Louise Callahan very well. It turns out she has been feeding home-cooked meals on the corner of Scenic and Scotland every single Friday for seven years. But there's a back story to her endeavors.
"My 44-year-old son went missing seven years ago," Callahan said. "He lived in Slidell and I live in Baton Rouge. No one knew anything at all about his disappearance. Even the police were baffled. So, I decided I'd set up a food table once a week in hopes that my son would walk up one day and say, 'Mom, I'm back.'"
Every Friday for years and years, a very hopeful Louise Callahan did this. Her son never showed up, but one day about two years ago, she received a partial answer. Police in Slidell notified her they had found a body inside a home in Slidell. It had been positively identified as that of her son. He was found inside the very home in which he had lived. Previous searches of his home had come up empty. It is the opinion of law enforcement that the body had been placed in the home long after it had been searched and deemed empty. The cause of this death is still being investigated.
Callahan now had partial closure. But why had someone taken her son's life? Why?
"I thought about quitting, but something in my soul was calling out to me to continue. I guess to keep the memory of my son alive, maybe. I don't know," Callahan explained.
Now, two years after the discovery of her son's body, Callahan still purchases ingredients, with her own money mind you, and tirelessly prepares meals and serves the hungry every Friday. Bridges, Rowley and Veal walked across the Scenic Highway train tracks with a news crew in tow and surprised Callahan with our Hand It On gift of $300. She gratefully accepted and was quite emotional that someone had noticed and recognized her efforts.
Callahan later spoke of her son and the possible scenarios surrounding his mysterious disappearance and death. Two of her friends who had volunteered to serve with her that day, Barbara Hayes and Sandra Callahan, spoke of Louise Callahan's giving spirit and undying energy. They had each dealt with personal tragedy in their own lives, too. You'd never know it behind their warm smiles and charismatic spirits.
"God never said life was going to be easy," Sandra Callahan said. "Through it all, God is good. And He is still God and is in control."
There was a sense of awe or admiration at how these three ladies stay so very faithful and obedient to God through all their earthly misfortunes. They do it because they believe very strongly this physical life shall pass and all believers will reap greater rewards than ever imaginable in the spiritual. I pray I can become that strong a disciple in my own walk. After speaking with these three angels on earth, I have a long, long way to go! God bless you three ladies.
If you would like to nominate an 'angel on earth,' send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com. Make sure to include your contact number, especially your phone number.