An entire L.A. homeless encampment moved into apartments. But their past still found them

Big Mama
Big Mama drops to her knees in prayer inside her new apartment.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

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Thomas Curwen is an award-winning staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where he has worked as editor of the Outdoors section, deputy editor of the Book Review and an editor at large for features. He was part of the team of Times reporters who won a Pulitzer for their work covering the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, and in 2008 he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for his story about a father and daughter who were attacked by a grizzly bear in Montana. He has received a Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for mental health journalism and was honored by the Academy of American Poets.
Francine Orr has been a staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times since 2000. Previously, she was as a staff photographer at the Kansas City Star. Orr served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. While there, she learned how to be a quiet observer and gained a love for stories. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in feature photography in 2012. Other awards include the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, the Daniel Pearl Award, Pictures of the Year, National Press Photographers Assn. and Sidney Hillman Award. Orr has done extensive work documenting the homeless population.