LaShana Lewis | St. Louis Public Radio

LaShana Lewis

LaShana Lewis tells her story at a live taping of The Story Collider podcast in Oct. 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As a gay black woman with working-class roots, LaShana Lewis doesn’t look like a typical computer programmer.

Lewis spent the better part of two decades trying to achieve her dreams of working with computers. And she did, after being one of the first students to graduate from LaunchCode, a St. Louis nonprofit that trains and places people without a traditional computer-science background in the tech sector.

But only a couple years after she scored a systems engineer job at Mastercard, she quit to start her own consulting business. She draws on her experiences as a minority in her field to help companies hire and retain women and people of color.

LaShana Lewis poses for a portrait outside her old home in East St. Louis. Lewis initially didn't realize the extent of the flood's damage because her neighborhood often flooded during heavy rains.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For people who were children and teenagers during the Great Flood of 1993, memories come like the river did then — murky, and in waves.

As the 25th anniversary approached, we asked followers on Twitter: If you were a child in 1993, how did you learn about the flood? Some said they heard their parents talking about evacuation plans. Others saw a news report on television. Many couldn’t remember exactly, but they had vivid recollections of the flood itself: water engulfing buildings, generators whirring in the dark, shovels scraping through sand and gravel.

We asked four people who were between the ages of 7 and 17 when the Great Flood of 1993 hit to share their stories.