Photos by Mathew Scott


St. Ann

“We were Catholics. We were going to church, whether you liked it or not,” David De La Torre reflects on his childhood. But, over the years, his engagement with his home parish — St. Ann’s Catholic Church — transformed from a feeling of obligation to a desire to develop his faith. He attributes this change in part to his mentor, the late Father Hugh Crowe — a generous and pious man whose door was open to “anyone and everyone at any day.”

Elysian Valley has long been home to a diverse population, and nowhere is this more apparent than at St. Ann’s. A mainstay in the community for years, mass at St. Ann’s is celebrated in Thai, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Spanish, and English.

Moving from his role as altar server to lecturer to basically working “on call for [Father Crowe]”, David witnessed time and time again the impact that genuine Christian charity can have on one’s community — and one’s sleep cycle. He recalls many times in which he’d get a call from Father Crowe at “midnight, three…or six in the morning,” asking for assistance aiding those who sought help in the wee hours of the night.

One particular instance brought the church right into his living room, when David and his family hosted a family from México with a sick child who was scheduled to visit Children’s Hospital LA the next day.

David describes Father Crowe as “all giving, no questions asked, whether the intention on the asking side was genuine or not. He was going to help and do his part.” Father Crowe’s vibrant spirit lives on in David, who centers compassion and charity in his work as both a faith leader at St. Ann’s and a revered community leader in Elysian Valley.

David De La Torre is a long-time resident of Elysian Valley and active member of the community. He is a past neighborhood council board member, the current head of the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch, active parisoner at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, and is the Chairperson of Jardin Del Rio Community Garden. When he is not organizing the community in Elysian Valley, he is a commercial accounts manager for Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals, LP in the Port of Los Angeles.