Parents: Mae Grant Walker (1957- ) & Frank Wes Cooper (1951-1993). Grandparents: Lucy Calhoun Keith (1921) & Joseph Cowan Cooper (1913-1995) on her father’s side; Bessie Grant (1932- ) & Walter Calahan Walker (1931-2001) on her mother’s side.
Lucy Cooper comes from an old Mississippi family. Roy Cooper entered the state in 1794 and gradually purchased enough land to have a small sustenance farm but no slaves. His son, Frank Roy Cooper was 38 when the War Between the Sates broke out and enlisted and was made a colonel of a local regiment, and served until the very end at which time he was one of last men to fall in May of 1865. One of her great-great-grandfathers, Charles “Charley” Wooley Cooper, was ten years old at the end of the Civil War, fatherless, devoted his activities to causing as much mischief for the Reconstruction politicians in and around Jackson, Mississippi, as was possible for a small boy. So, you could say that Lucy comes from a long line of hell-raisers and people with a strong disregard for authority, however, possessing a lot of respect for their Mississippi heritage. The women in Lucy’s family were no more timid, several generations of women lived lives outside the traditional role of women, and more than one resorted to violence to solve her problems (see song, “Lucy’s Grandma on Her Momma’s Side“).
Lucy was in her 30s, living in Jackson, Mississippi, supporting herself with a small marijuana dealing business. Across the street from her was a bachelor, Levi Hooper, who fell in love with her, which was not entirely unrequited (see song, “Levi + Lucy“). She had been a small time drug dealer for the last decade primarily using marijuana but she also had done harder drugs, Dilaudid and cocaine. Levi had been coming around and she began to feel a desire to change her life around due to his overall wholesomeness and positive influence on her. See could imagine herself getting clean and starting a new life with Levi. However, one of her old friends got picked up for his own drug issues, and in order to lessen his sentence gave Lucy up as his dealer.
She was arrested and convicted for possession and distribution of marijuana and sentenced to 18 months at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (her friends incorrectly referring to it as Parchman Farm).
She knew she was pregnant when she went in, but had not informed the father, Levi Hooper. After a little over six months she gave birth to a baby boy, whom the prison authorities promptly took from her and put into foster care. She became more and more despondent and depressed and began again using Dilaudid, not orally as designed but crushing the pills and dissolving them in water for injection (“shake and bake”). She died as a result of an overdose 11 months into her sentence, and only weeks before possibly being paroled (see song, “When Louanne Met Lucy in Prison“).