Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

At dawn, Luis Luna waits outside the warehouse where he works. His minimum wage job barely pays his rent, but it provides some stability in a country where he is locked out of most job opportunities.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna works in a used clothing warehouse in the neighborhood where he sold chocolates as a child. The owner remembered him and gave him a job.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna trades text messages to set up a basketball game after work. The cellphone was given to him by a friend after he returned penniless to Southern California.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna, right, and his close friend Julio Cortez shoot baskets at a school in South Gate, a suburb of Los Angeles. Cortez was one of several U.S.-born friends who helped Luna when he was living on the streets of Mexico.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna lives in this converted two-car garage. Comparing the studio apartment to his homeless months in Mexico. he said: "I don't have to sleep in the streets no more. I can actually close my eyes and sleep until I wake up knowing that I'm going to be alive."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna spent his childhood walking the streets of Los Angeles selling chocolates. Brought from Mexico by his mother when he was 3, he says the U.S. is the only country he knows. "I feel like an American," he says.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna takes a placement exam in an effort to earn his high school diploma. He was deported before he could graduate from high school.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna talks to students at South Junior High School in Anaheim about his harrowing attempts to cross the Arizona desert and return home. "They told me I was ready to die. I couldn't breath. I had a blank stare. The coyote said, 'I've seen this before, he's not going to make it .' "

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Return to Southern California

Pictures in the News | Jan. 29, 2015

Thursday's Pictures in the News begins in Mexico, where rescuers work amid the wreckage caused by an explosion that ripped through a children's hospital in Mexico City on...   View Post»

   

Cold weather in Southern California

Cold Weather in Southern California

Amid frost advisories for Los Angeles County and freeze warnings for the Inland Empire and Ventura County, Southern Californians are bundling up.  View Post»

   

Return to Southern California

Japanese Internment: Manzanar

In 1942, all resident Japanese aliens and Japanese American citizens - nearly 120,000 – were interned for the duration of World War II. The Manzanar War Relocation Center was...   View Post»

   

Thousands flood Coachella for music festival

Photos from the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

The three-day Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, featuring headliners the Black Keys, Radiohead, Dr. Dre and Snoop...   View Post»

Return to Southern California

Luis Luna returned to his hometown of South Gate in May. His arms and legs were scraped raw from cactus needles and his eyes kept blinking, still starved of moisture from his eight-day journey through the Arizona desert the week before. Read Story

4 Comments

  1. December 27, 2012, 6:28 am

    That's too bad Luis but a lot of folks are waiting. Get in line!

    By: guest@roadrunner.com
  2. January 3, 2013, 10:53 pm

    It was a great but risky journey… I wish to learn abour Luis .. is he well now?

  3. September 18, 2014, 11:17 pm

    What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions throughout .

    By: wordpress
  4. December 28, 2014, 6:27 am

    Really nice shots!!

    By: masevilla

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published