Bayou City

Houston Mourns Warehouse Live Production Manager Morrow "L.A." Potts

When a person passes, you can find a story in the pages of their life that conveys the impact they had on this world.

Last Mother’s Day, Lorina Norris, who lives in Riverside, Calif. got a call from her son in Houston, who told her that a cake was on its way to her house. It would be there by the time she got home.

But when Lorina got there, waiting on her was no cake. It was her son, Morrow Potts, known as “L.A.” to Houston. He took a one-day trip to the West Coast to remind his mom that he loved her.

That was L.A.’s life in a story, a person dedicated to making people happy, to ensuring they knew how special they were to him and to the world.

L.A. was a good son, but he’s known to the Houston masses for heading production for Warehouse Live since its inception and making it a place where hip-hop potential is discovered and futures are born. He’s credited by many in the Houston music scene for helping catapult careers in and out of the city.

L.A.’s life ended in the early morning hours of Thursday from cardiac arrest – seven years to the day after his older brother’s death.

His legacy looks as if it will live on much longer.

An outpouring of support from friends, co-workers and hip-hop legends such as Bun B, Drake, Paul Wall and Slim Thug all echoed the same thing: L.A. was a selfless, humble person who created opportunity for artists and never sought credit for it. He just loved to see people win onstage and in life.

“L.A. opened doors for guys who dropped their first mix tapes and gave them a venue to display their talent,” says Slim Thug. “He had a big impact on local artists and artists from all over the world. I saw him take artists, like Wiz Khalifa, from the small room to the big room (of Warehouse Live). Big K.R.I.T., Curren$y, even Big Sean. I saw their followings grow in that place. He took chances and helped break them.”

Richard Araguz, Paul Wall’s road manager, known simply as “Gu,” echoes Slim’s sentiment. Gu was one of L.A.’s closest friends.

“L.A. was responsible for clearing a lot of shows,” he says. “Warehouse Live wasn’t always known for being a hip-hop venue. He was responsible for bringing in hip-hop shows. Think about it; what he did with Drake, they could have done that anywhere. They did it at Warehouse Live.”

For a person whose name was synonymous with such an important Houston music venue, L.A. grew up far from the Bayou City.

Born August 25, 1977, he was raised in Santa Ana, California, where he played football from Pop Warner through his senior year at Saddleback High School. He moved to Houston in 1996 because he thought he’d have a better opportunity to make an impact on the entertainment industry, according to his mom.

L.A. planned to walk onto the football team at the University of Houston, but decided otherwise.

“He soon realized he rather get an education than get hurt,” she says proudly.

At Warehouse Live, he was a calming power in the chaos of concert production.

“In crisis he never freaked out or lost it,” says Ashly Montgomery, the venue's head of marketing. “Armageddon could be happening, [and] L.A. would come in and say, ‘Look, this is what we are going to do.”

Jason Price, in-house talent buyer and promoter at Warehouse Live, said he had a brotherly relationship with L.A., built from the time they cut their teeth at the Engine Room from 2000 to 2004 and through their time together at Warehouse until Wednesday.

“Scarface and Bun B coming here; L.A. was a big part of those staples in the hip-hop community feeling comfortable,” says Price. “They didn’t feel unsafe. He created a respectable venue where shows ran on time.”

No matter whom you talk to in L.A.’s life, they all express the same thing: You won’t be able to find anyone who will say something bad about him. In an industry that can be known to be a bit heartless at times, it was L.A.’s heart, exactly, that stood out.

“L.A. showed that kindness can take you a long way in life,” Gu says. “L.A. has proven that. He’s proof that kind, compassionate people still exist. It’s a crazy world, but they do exist and he’s an example of it.”

Like when he’d call his mom and tell her to look into her bank account.

“He took care of me,” she says, breaking into a sob.

He took care of Houston.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help defray Potts's funeral expenses. Donate here.
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Contributor Rolando Rodriguez is the co-founder of Trill Multicultural.