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Faces of Downtown - Roger Gendron

By Jeannine Denholm
Published: Sunday, May 11, 2008, at 10:31PM
Roger Gendron Jeannine Denholm

Historic Core resident Roger Gendron

When Peter Y. Hong of the LA Times wrote his March 13, 2008 article titled "Downtown Not the Center of it All," it created a lot of discussion about what was really happening Downtown. Many residents were upset about the portrayal of our growing neighborhoods, and I was one of them.

It seems valuable to spend a little time getting to know some of the varied people who make Downtown their home. Our first mini-profile is of Roger Gendron, a resident of the Historic Core since 2006.

In Hong's piece, I was particularly irritated by this quote from Fred Sands, "There was sort of a mania that fed on itself. People said downtown was the future, and young people bought into it."

I resented the implication that Downtown was made up of a bunch of impressionable young people who flocked here because the media told them it was the place to be. As anyone who has been here longer than five minutes knows, Downtown residents are from all backgrounds, ages, races and income levels.

Over the next several weeks, I plan on showcasing real residents who have chosen to make Downtown L.A. their home. We start with Roger Gendron.

Why do you live Downtown?

Because I want to be where I can walk to everything: work, entertainment, shopping, etc., and not depend on a car. I also have easy access to public transportation.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

That’s a tough one, because there are so many that I frequent. I’d have to say Warung Cafe, because Ivan, the General Manager, is just so hospitable and the food is so good.

What’s your favorite late night hangout?

Seven Grand, of course, because the bartenders know what they’re doing and as a result the cocktails are superb!

What does Downtown still need?

A dry cleaner that provides great service and doesn’t ruin your clothes, and a Trader Joe’s.

If you could live anywhere Downtown where would you live?

In the Historic Core, which is where I do live, because I love the architecture and I enjoy being a part of the revival of Downtown Los Angeles. I live in a building that was built in 1911 and was renovated as part of the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance in 2002.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Downtown?

The idea that there is no life and nothing to do Downtown after 5:00 PM. Some people still believe that.

Do you think that will ever change?

Yes, it will, but I believe some citizens of our city may never fully appreciate or take advantage of all that is offered Downtown. In my view, these are probably the same individuals that prefer to avoid cities altogether, perhaps.


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