Jacci Gresham, 71, has been running her tattoo shop in the heart of New Orleans for nearly fifty years. She is the country’s first Black female tattoo artist and has inked major celebrities like Alicia Keys and Tim McGraw.
Though Gresham is now one of the most celebrated tattoo artists in the country, her life plan wasn’t always to be an ink master.
“I actually got started tattooing … it was kind of a fluke, this was not the plan of my life,” Gresham told In The Know. The tattoo artist originally came to New Orleans to work for an engineering company doing “drafting and drawing” and got into tattooing simply because she “needed the money.”
Gresham has many loyal customers, some of whom have even gotten tattoo tributes to the New Orleans staple on their body. “She did my first tattoo, and this [is] what happened,” one customer named Auggie said about his tattoo tribute to Gresham on his arm.
“I did not think that I’d be in this business 40 years,” Gresham said. “But somehow I guess it keeps calling me.”
Check out Gresham’s full story in the episode of “Lifers” above.
If you enjoyed this story, check out this woman who quit her day job to become a competitive dog groomer.
More from In The Know: