Startled, the Grambling alumna takes off her black headphones and throws her hands in the air as if she had seen a ghost.
tanding at 5’5 as stern as they come, wearing vintage gold earrings and her signature scarf tied around her neck, “The Voice” of Grambling State University smiled. It was time for 91.5 KGRM general manager, Joyce Evans to be on the opposite side of the microphone.
aving doubts on being interviewed, Evans never hesitates when answering a series of questions. The first subject was her childhood in the bottom of the “Sportsman’s Paradise.” Born in Baton Rouge and reared in Lafayette, Evans remembers her childhood as being “marvelous” and saw herself being in theatre.
”We grew up in three rooms in Baton Rouge, they use to call them shot gun houses because you can stand in the front and look all the way to the back,” said Evans when describing her childhood. “It was nice and clean and loving.”
ccording to Evans, “all the racism and segregations and all these kinds of things were coming along,” when she was a young girl. Although she attended a segregated school, she stressed how nurturing her education was.
”We were more loved and our teachers cared more. It seemed like the teachers and the parents got along better and there were so many things of interest,” she said when thinking of her secondary education. “Like a simple thing like a weekly reader, make you want to read a weekly reader.”
ttending Grambling did not come into picture until the fifth grade when Evans was selected to watch the university perform a play at Capitol High School.
Coming to Grambling
n 1970 Evans started her journey at then Grambling College enrolled in the speech and theatre program and in fall 1974 she graduated.
he college graduate made sure to bring all her plays, Black poetry and knowledge gained from the historical school to Lafayette. It did not take long for her to find work either because Grambling alums found her a job as a speech teacher at the Immaculate Heart of Mary School.
Working in Lafayette
he Voice of Lafayette, 1330 KVOL, reached out to the Alpha Kappa Alpha soror between 1974 and 1975 to come to radio, “because I had plenty to say and I wasn’t afraid to say it.” According to the frank broadcaster “it felt absolutely marvelous” working at a predominately white radio station that had Black commentary. When Z-106.3 KFXZ offered her a job, Evans left KVOL.
etting up from her desk, Evans walks across her office and finds something very familiar and sentimental to her. “Oh look at my kids,” she said while holding what appeared to be small and old, with a greenish metal plate mounted on top of a wooden plaque.
he square object was an award given to her from her students at the Catholic school. As memories started to come back, Evans smiles and proudly talks about how she recently reconnected with them on Facebook.
hile working in Lafayette, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. soror crossed Eta Chi Omega graduate chapter in 1977.
Bad career move
aking the interview into a different direction, the unexpected was said and an untold story was revealed because “this is a part of my life that I LEAST enjoyed.”
ooking straight forward with a serious face, Evans exhaled and said, “I worked for a company called Amoco Production Company, I was the first female to work in the Gulf of Mexico as a clerk.”
eeping a tally of the amount of oil and gas that was made in the day, Evans hates “to think back of this part of” her life working seven days on and off.
”The men said awful things, they had no respect for you,” she said with a sour face. “A lot of stuff was not funny to me and a lot of racist things were said that you were expected to look over.”
fter four years and six months and tired of the male chauvinism, Evans “came home after seven days and said ‘ain’t going back'” and returned back to teaching at the Catholic school. Appalled at her decision, Evans’ dad could not believe that she was leaving Amoco by saying, “Do you know how much money you talking about?”
”I said don’t care, not going back,” according to Evans.
Back at dear ol’ Gram
In January 1996 then GSU President Raymond Hicks asked Evans to come back to her alma mater and apply for the operation manager position in the university’s radio station. Then in 2000 she was promoted to general manager by then interim president Dr. Neari F. Warner.
”I was sooo excited about coming home to Grambling,” she said with joy. When she returned to GSU the radio station looked just the same as when she first left, “fallen down, nasty roaches, rats.”
”You want to know the truth don’t you,” Evans said with no hesitation.
Before bringing the interview to an end and turning the microphone off, the subject of all her accomplishments was brought to Evans’ attention.
“I don’t want to talk about my accomplishments,” the humbled Evans said. “Because I don’t really know what they would be.”
escribing her as the “culture of Grambling” and a “walking encyclopedia of the history, mission and success of the university,” President Dr. Frank Pogue thinks very highly of Evans. Which made selecting her for the first recipient of the university’s employee recognition award easy.
”Joyce Evans is the best definition of a deeply professional and committed person,” said Pogue in an email. “She has never declined an invitation to serve Grambling and to mend relationships between the university and surrounding communities.”
lmuna Kayla Williams learned the importance of professionalism from Evans during her tenure at Grambling.
”Some people did not like that and (would) say ‘Ms. Evans was too mean.'”
“Ms. Evans prepared me for the real workplace.”
ntil the time comes for her to say goodbye to broadcasting and retire, is when Evans might decide to sit “about the good ol days at GSU” and think of all of her accomplishments.