IMPACT: A different perspective of West Louisville

The 9th Street Divide
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The East End, Hikes Point, St Matthews, Shively, Portland and the West End. It doesn't matter where you live, many of us call Louisville home.

That's why we are continuing our series called "Impact" because we do want the stories you see on our air to touch your lives.

We are keeping our focus on the West End by looking at perceptions and reality and a community with a varied history.

How do you see West Louisville?

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► The 9th Street Divide: Hidden Gems

Sometimes it's the places you haven't been that teach you the most.

We decided to give a woman, who'd never really spent time in the West End, a tour of the community.

We enlisted the help of radio personality EZ Bluegrass who grew up in the West End and knew he would be a great tour guide. 

"Why haven't you been to the West End?," WHAS11's Renee Murphy asked Shirley Maxey.

"It's dangerous from what I see on TV," said Maxey.

A snapshot of a community.  A neighborhood often captured in its darkness.

"I am sure there are great people in the West End. I know there are," said Maxey. 

But the light does shine through.

Previous Stories:

Part 1: Perception

Part 2: How did we get here

Part 3: Jonathan's Story

Part 4: Economy

Part 5: Unsung Heroes

"What do you think it's going to be like when we go over there today?" asked Murphy.

"Eye opening. I am sure it's beautiful. I just hadn't had a desire to go," said Maxey.

"I am anxious to go and see all that today."

Maxey splits her time between East Louisville and Hart County these days.

But on this day she would experience the Russell, Chickasaw, and Shawnee neighborhoods.

"See you in a few, West End," said Maxey.

The first stop was 26th and Broadway to check out Lyles Mall.

"There's a mall here. I didn't know there was a mall here. Never heard of this mall and this is very interesting," said Maxey.

It's Shirley Maxey's first time in popular local record store Better Days West.

"I'm coming back, cause they got old school music here that you can't find anywhere else. So yes, I will be back." 

"Love it, love it, love it," said Maxey.

Now to a place that Maxey had only heard about and not all good things.

"What did you think of Shawnee Park before you came here," Murphy asked.

"I thought it might be run down and that's sad to say it's not run down at all it's beautiful. This is very educational, thank you," said Maxey.

Shawnee Park is the anchor of the West End.

And neighborhoods tucked away in its landscape.

"What do you think when you see this neighborhood?" asked Murphy.

"That you are not in the West End," said Maxey.

"This is beautiful, beautiful," said Maxey. "I am simply amazed by what I have seen that I never thought that I would see this."

A historic community seen through new eyes. All it took was a little time.

"I have a totally different mindset about the West End. thank you for giving me the opportunity to see it through y'alls eyes.”

And for Shirley Maxey, it's not just a lesson for her.

"So then I can tell people that's not what it's all about. I know first hand that's not what its all about now."

Murder and crime happen in the West End but so does something else tradition and pride.

We want to say a big thank you to Shirley Maxey for her willingness to be a part of this story.

It's the latest in our Impact series. Do you have ideas about what we should be covering in the West End? We'd certainly like to hear from you.