12/11/15

WATTS VARRIOS

THE SOUTH LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY OF WATTS IS MORE OR LESS TUCKED IN BETWEEN (N) FIRESTONE BLVD., (E) ALAMEDA STREET, (S) IMPERIAL HWY. / 105 CENTURY FREEWAY, (W) CENTRAL AND SUCCESS AVENUES.

THE BLACKS REFERRED TO WATTS AS MUD TOWN, AND THE THE WATTS QUARTER WAS THE MEXICAN SIDE OF TOWN, TUCKED IN ON THE SOUTHEAST PART OF TOWN.

WATTS IS ONE OF THE MOST INFAMOUS COMMUNITIES OF LOS ANGELES, HEARD ABOUT NATION WIDE; MOST NOTORIOUS IN HISTORY MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE 1965 RIOTS THAT SPARKED OFF THERE, AND THEN LATER ON BECAUSE IT AQUIRED A ROUGH NEIGHBORHOOD REPUTATION WITH ITS STREET GANGS.

IN 1910, WATTS STARTED OUT AS ITS OWN CITY BEFORE IT GOT ANNEXED IN 1026 INTO THE METROPOLIS OF GREATER LOS ANGELES. WATTS AT FIRST, WAS A PLACE WHERE BOTH BLACKS AND MEXICANS COULD COME BUY A HOME BY ESCAPING THE SHY-STY REAL ESTATE LAWS ENACTED BY L.A. CITY PLANNERS, WHICH SEGREGATED NEIGHBORHOOD ENCLAVES BY RACE THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY. BY THE 1940’s WHEN WWII WAS IN FULL BLAST, LABOR WAS IN HIGH DEMAND, AND SO MANY HAD FLOCKED TO CALIFORNIA FROM ALL KINDS OF PLACES, AND SO TOO THE POPULATION OF WATTS SWELLED DRAMATICALLY. SOON THE AREA BECAME OVERCROWDED, BUT THEN AT THE END OF THE WAR, JOBS BECAME SCARCE, COUPLED WITH THE SCARSE HOUSING, SEGREGATION PRACTICES, AND COMMUNITY NEGLECT BY THE POWERS TO BE, SOON, ALL OF THESE THINGS WOULD PUT ITS EVERLASTING MARK ON THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF WATTS FOLKS. TO TOP IT ALL, RESIDENTS HAD TO ENDURE POLICE BRUTALITY; HENCE THE REASON WHY SHIT HIT THE FAN IN 1965. AFTER THE RIOTS WHITE FLIGHT BEGAN IN EARNEST, AND BLACK FOLKS WHO HAD BETTER MEANS ALSO MOVED OUT IN NUMBERS, SO THAT’S HOW THE COMMUNITY BECAME THE GHETTO WHICH MOST PEOPLE ASSOCIATE THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH WHEN THEY HEAR THE NAME WATTS. BUT IN FACT, WATTS ALREADY HAD BEGUN ITS DESCENT SINCE BACK IN THE 1940’s WHEN THE HOUSING COMPLEXES OF IMPERIAL COURTS, JORDAN DOWNS, AND NICKERSON GARDENS WERE BUILT TO MOVE PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR OWN HOMES, AND INTO GOVERNMENT HOUSING. AND IN THE PROCESS DESTROYING WHOLE NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISPLACING WHOLE FAMILIES FROM THOSE AREAS IN ORDER TO BUILD THE PROJECTS. POLITICAL FORCES AT WORK CREATED THE CONDITIONS FOR WHAT WAS TO EXPLODE LATER, THE SAME COMBUSTIBLE FACTORS LIKE IN OTHER PARTS OF THE CITY, SO TOO IN WATTS, A DRAMATIC RISE IN NEIGHBORHOOD STREET TRIBES BEGAN; LATER TO BECOME SOME OF THE MOST RENOWN BLACK AND MEXICAN HARDCORE GANGS OF L.A.

SOME OF THE FIRST GANGS IN WATTS WHERE OF THE BARRIO KIND. THE MEXICANS HAD BEEN IN WATTS SINCE ITS BEGINNINGS IN THE EARLY 1900’s, AND THEY WERE PREDOMINANT IN THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF WATTS KNOWN AS “THE QUARTER,” A.k.a. LA COLONIA WATTS.

IN PRESENT TIMES, THE QUARTER ZONE REMAINS AS UNINCORPORATED WATTS, AND IS PRESENTLY KNOWN AS COLONIA WATTS AND NUTHOOD WATTS IN THE SOUTHEAST SECTOR OF THE COMMUNITY, TUCKED IN BETWEEN MONA BLVD, ALAMEDA AND IMPERIAL.

WATTS “MUDTOWN” BOUNDARIES WHERE MORE OR LESS. (N) 103RD STREET, (S) IMPERIAL AVENUE, (W) WILLOWBROOK AVENUE, AND (W) ALAMEDA STREET.

DURING THE 1920s THE QUARTER, TOGETHER WITH THE WATTS GARDENS (JARDIN) NEIGHBORHOODS GAVE RISE TO THE VERY FIRSTS WATTS GANGS, BEARING THE SAME NAME OF THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD BARRIO AREA. WHEN THE ZOOT SUIT RIOTS ERUPTED IN 1943, BOTH OF THESE GANGS PACHUCOS JOINED IN THE STREET BATTLES AGAINST MARAUDING U.S. SERVICEMEN IN THE STREETS OF L.A.
BUT JARDINE WAS DESTINED TO FADE AWAY, THE POWERS TO BE DICTATED THAT THE BARRIO BE RAZED IN ORDER TO BUILD THE IMPERIAL COURTS PROJECTS OVER THE SAME AREA. AND SO ITS FAMILIES WERE DISPLACED, AND WITH THE TIC TOCS OF TIME, SOON THERE WAS NO MORE JARDIN PEOPLE TO REPRESENT. BUT BY NOW OTHER CHICANO BARRIO GANGS HAD COME UP. HICKORY WATTS ROSE UP IN THE PALOMAR BARRIO AREA OF NORTHEAST WATTS, AND ALSO THE NEAR-BY WILLOWBROOK GANG. WITH EVERY PASSING YEAR MORE AND MORE GANGS WERE SETTING UP AND GETTING ESTABLISHED IN WATTS, COMPTON, AND SOUTH LOS ANGELES. BOTH BLACK AND MEXICAN GANGS WERE POPPING UP EVERYWHERE.

THE QUARTER GANG EVENTUALLY HAD ITS INTERNAL PROBLEMS DO DEAL WITH, AND A SPLIT OCCURRED. A FRACTION OF ITS MEMBERS WHICH HEADQUARTERED AT GRAPE STREET BROKE OFF AND CREATED ITS OWN GANG, NAMING IT WATTS VARRIO GRAPE, WHILE THE REMAINDER AT LA COLONIA TOOK UP HEADQUARTERS AT WEIGAND AVENUE AND NAMED THEIR GANG WEIGAND COLONIA WATTS.

IN TIME, WITH SO MANY CLIQUES AND NUMBERS, MORE BREAK OFF AND SPLITS WOULD OCCUR; ALL THE WHILE MORE GANGS WOULD RISE UP, AND BEFORE THE END OF THE CENTURY THE ROLL CALL LIST OF GANGS IN WATTS WOULD RISE TO OVER TWENTY. THE CHICANO GANG LIST ALONE INCLUDED THOSE OF WEIGAND COLONIA WATTS, WATTS VARRIO GRAPE, WATTS VARRIO NUEZ, HICKORY WATTS, ELM STREET WATTS, IVY STREET WATTS, SOUTH SIDE WATTS 13, DIEZ LINEAS / TEN LINES WATTS, VILLAGE BOYS, VIA LOCOTES, MORTON TOWN STONERS, KRAZY MEXICAN TOWN, AND THE OUTSIDER FIFTH & HILL GANG; EACH GANG WITH ITS OWN SET OF CLIQUES; SO MANY BLACK AND CHICANO GANGS OVERLAPPING IN SUCH A SMALL TINY AREA THAT IT WAS TO BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ALL TO GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER, LEAST OF ALL WITH THE NEIGHBORING GANGS FROM FLORENCE, SOUTH LA, COMPTON, LYNWOOD AND BEYOND.

ONE HAS TO BE BOTH A REAL TUFF KRAZY MOFO, AND A TACTFUL POLITICIAN TO NAVIGATE AND SURVIVE THESE STREETS.

SO I’LL LEAVE IT HERE WITH THE WATTS STORY, BUT IF YOU FEEL THE NEED TO SUPPLY 411 OR CRITIQUE TO THIS POST, DO SO IN A CONSTRUCTIVE MANNER, KEEP IT POSITIVE.

VIVA WATTS!


HICKORY DICKORY WATTS




Nickerson Gardens, Imperial Courts, Jordan Downs and Gonzaque Village (Hacienda Village) are in bright neon yellow.
and then going from top to bottom,..

..at the very top in mustard yellow MORTON TOWN WATTS original zone by Morton Avenue, Nadeau and 83rd.

MORTON TOWN in yellow
ELM STREET in bright neon red
IVY STREET in brown
HICKORY WATTS in gray (upper)
WATTS 13 KMT in shady line red
GRAPE STREET in outlined purple
VILLAGE BOYS in medium green
VIA LOCOTES in dark blue
WATTS SUICIDALS in black
COLONIAL WEIGAND in light blue
TEN LINES in dark green
SS WATTS 13 in gray (lower)
K-MOB in red
NUTHOOD in brick brown color

4 comments:

Spanky said...

Thats crazy homes. U hardly ever see NutHood listed in gang things. I think that neighborhood is mostly dead now though homes. I never seen anyone anymore. Either lifters or dead. Back in the day we used to smash on fools though. We had some clicks in Lynwood, South Gate, and SGV too in the 90s but we were still small by numbers.

Spanky SS~Nuthood~13

Anonymous said...

STF foo. For reals man STFU!

NUEZ is what is left of the very old jardin neighborhood in old watts

Anonymous said...

Colonia and Nuthood (Jardin) are the only two official unincorp watts neighborhoods left today

Anonymous said...

In the 1980's there was a South Side Clanton 14th St in Watts area