[LAFAYETTE SQUARE] A Legacy in Lafayette Square

The Bates Family: (from left) Eric, Alexa, Traci and Raina

The Bates Family: (from left) Eric, Alexa, Traci and Raina

One of the great things about Lafayette Square is the sense of continuity in this neighborhood. It was fun to sit down with Traci Bates, who lives on my street, to talk about her experience in the Square.

The idea of building a life and a family in close approximation to the lives and families that came before you seems like a lost American value. However, it still exists for the Bates family.

Traci is a third generation Lafayette Square resident. She bought her charming house from her grandparents’ estate.

Traci’s grandparents moved into the Square in the early fifties when the racial covenants were lifted. Her grandfather, Clarence Smith, was a successful entrepreneur and real estate investor. Her grandmother, Edith, was a real estate agent.

Traci grew up in Leimert Park and Inglewood, but spent many happy days at her grandparents house, wandering the same tree-lined streets of Lafayette Square as her father. He was an early computer systems programmer and followed his career opportunities to Liberty, Missouri, where he still resides. Her mother has retired from her job in the Chief Administrative Office of Los Angeles County and lives here in Los Angeles, close to her beautiful grandchildren.

Traci met her husband Eric at comedy club in Manhattan Beach. She commented to her best friend that fateful night that she had “met the man she was going to marry”.

Eric Bates grew up in Culver City and after graduating from law school, went to work for Johnnie Cochran. Right before O.J. Simpson became Johnnie’s most famous client, Eric left to become a public defender.

After learning the art of criminal defense, Eric opened his own practice until joining the State Attorney General’s Office where he now happily tries civil cases as the Deputy Attorney General.

He is also the vice-president of the South Los Angeles Planning Commission, and was recently seen in a parade procession seated with Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Traci and Eric welcomed their daughter Alexa into the world in 1999. She is now a junior at Marlborough School and while loving history, has also participated in the Junior Olympics for long jump and relay. She’s eyeing a few colleges on the East Coast, rather than in California.

In 2000, Raina became the next addition to the Bates’ household. She is a sophomore at Marlborough who plays lacrosse and loves to sing with the Marlborough School chamber choir.

Since 2007, Traci has enjoyed a successful career as a real estate agent specializing in historic homes and Historic Preservation Overlay Zone areas with her partner Lorna Hennington. Owning an historic home herself, Traci grew to treasure the original details that make a house a home.

When she started her real estate career, Traci was thrilled to get paid to do something she loved. She and Lorna have represented historic properties from Los Feliz to View Park for the last 8 years and are still going strong as these properties are in even greater demand than ever. Traci also serves as Historian of the Lafayette Square Association Board.

Traci’s rich history here in the Square just adds to the “Mayberry” feeling we all treasure. It’s a lovely thing to imagine her learning to ride her bike down the same street where her children learned to ride their bikes, here in this oasis in the city, Lafayette Square.

Leave a Reply