Streeterville Doorperson of the Month: Kahari “KJ” Jones at North Water Apartments

(Published July 31, 2019)

By Jesse Wright

Kahari Jones has been working at the North Water Apartments for nearly two years and he’s already made an impression. He was nominated by two separate residents.

This isn’t his first building as a door person though. Years ago, he started at 510 W. Erie on the Lake and he was there for four years, until his mother died. It was a hard time and he said it about wrecked him.

“If you’d have saw me when it happened, you’d have said he’s not going to make it,” Jones said. “But time is the cure for most things. But by the time I was whole again they had another person who was pretty good and they brought me over here.”

Jones said he enjoys the building, and its mix of young and older residents.

“If you’re leaning too much to one side or another, it takes away from the balance of the building, “Jones explained. “I’ve had people who have come here from some other buildings who have said it was just too young over there, it was a college atmosphere. We’ve got people return here who have come back because of that.”

The building is about 427 units and while it is at the end of a cul-de-sac with very little traffic, Jones said it can get busy at times. On the day of the interview, the garage elevator was down, which was frustrating for residents and Jones.

“That can really cripple the building,” he explained.

Jones went to college in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and while there, he fell in love with New Orleans, a one-hour-and-20-minute drive east.

“I love the state of Louisiana,” he said. “I always say this about Louisiana and New Orleans specifically, that the eating is comparable to here in Chicago.”

Like the rest of America, Jones watched in horror after the levees breeched following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Jones went down to New Orleans following the storm and volunteered to clean out houses and do what he could for the city he loved.

“It was very humbling because what you saw on TV, it did nothing. That was nothing,” Jones said. “When I touched down and then drove into the city, for miles and miles the trees were mangled at their tops and they were always pointed in the same direction, hanging, facing the same direction. Then, when we came into the city, hundreds of cars were flipped over. The stuff I saw on TV versus the stuff I saw when I got there, it was drastically different.”

Jones volunteered with a couple of cleanup crews. He worked long summer days, tearing out drywall and mucking out houses for residents who were very much depending on the kindness of strangers. It was hard, hot work, but Jones said it changed him for the better.

“It was one of the best things for me,” he said. “It reinvented my disposition. What I can say is, I feel as though I will never really work again after that.” 
To nominate your favorite doorperson, email with the door person’s name and why you think they should be the doorperson of the month. Each winner will receive a $25 gift card to Mariano’s.

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