Anthony DiFatta | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Anthony DiFatta

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Tony DiFatta is something. I met Tony, 38, not too long before we started the Jackson Free Press, and he came on board immediately. He did the art for our very first cover, and he's done memorable covers for us ever since, including a certain one of Sen. Trent Lott in a dunce hat. And most of you know how popular his art shows are at spots like Nunnery's Gallery.

But that's not why I made him Jacksonian. I chose him for our Fall Arts Preview, which ended up being as much about healing as about art—because if anybody can help heal the world, it's Tony DiFatta.

Tony's desire to help people is frenetic, and it's real. He doesn't just talk about changing the world; he changes it, or at least his little postage-stamp corner of it.

In the days after Katrina, many heroes emerged, but none greater for me personally than this guy, and his family.

His brother-in-law David Baria—another inspiring soul who is part of a loving, compassionate family—had just lost everything his family had when Katrina demolished their oceanfront home in Bay St. Louis. But this family didn't lock themselves away in despair; the Barias went to work gathering new clothes for their three children and loading up an RV to take supplies back to their neighbors in Bay St. Louis and Waveland.

Tony, meantime, started hauling truckloads of stuff—toys, diapers, t-shirts, feminine hygiene products, pillows, blankets, you name it—to local shelters in a borrowed truck. He called up his friends and family members, gathering their soon-to-spoil food and cooked for volunteers. While taking a pot of his meatballs over to the Red Cross headquarters on Riverside, he saw that the volunteers there were drinking decaf coffee—"decaf coffee!" he exclaimed to me into the phone—and so went back home and got his grinder and a bunch of beans and gave it to them.

By Friday, Tony headed to North Mississippi where his wife, Melissa, and little son Preston had gone while the power was out. But by this Tuesday, he was back in Jackson, working with artists/patients at the Mississippi State Hospital (his day job) to help them prepare for the Serendipity Art Show now re-scheduled for Sept. 29. And he was getting ready for the JFP Art Show this Thursday at The Cedars, from 6-10 p.m., where he is donating work to be auctioned off to—what else?—help people in need.

Previous Comments

ID
82402
Comment

Tony Diffatta, Jacksonian? What a perfect choice during these trying times. He puts his heart and soul in every piece of work he does... so it doesn't surprise me that he is doing everything he can to help others. Donna is right: he is not just a humanitarian. He is and for the last two years will always be Jackson's Best Artist.

Author
c a webb
Date
2005-09-07T18:38:53-06:00
ID
82403
Comment

I HEART TONY!

Author
kaust
Date
2005-09-08T07:24:56-06:00
ID
82404
Comment

And he does a mean Copa Cabana, too.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-09-08T11:57:41-06:00
ID
82405
Comment

he be a bad man.

Author
Scott Albert Johnson
Date
2005-09-08T22:48:04-06:00
ID
82406
Comment

bad as in good, I mean

Author
Scott Albert Johnson
Date
2005-09-08T22:48:22-06:00
ID
82407
Comment

and he's the most humble dude ever, too

Author
casey
Date
2005-09-09T13:23:31-06:00

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