Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An early morning adventure

After a horrendous bout of insomnia (thanks a million, t.p.t.b.), I was still up at 6 a.m. this morning. I decided that I needed to do something. Anything.

I took a mini-road trip across Baton Rouge to see the actual facility of a funeral home that I work with on a regular basis. It's not in an area of town I've ever really spent much time in and I was curious.

I figured there wouldn't be much, if any, traffic at 6 a.m. and it was already light outside, so I got in the car and drove. Right on South Acadian, right on Government, right on South 22nd Street, past Sacred Heart Catholic Church, over I-110 and continued on to Plank Road.

I've always considered my apartment two blocks south of Baton Rouge General to be on the edge of ghetto. Today I realized it's not even close.

As I drove further and further into North Baton Rouge, the more it looked like a bomb had gone off. People were wandering aimlessly on foot or literally sleeping (I choose to believe they were sleeping anyway) in doorways or by the side of the road.

Buildings were in such poor repair that roofs were missing (in part or in whole), siding was gone leaving what insulation there was exposed to the elements, you get the idea. I lost count of how many little liquor stores, bars, beauty salons and bail bond establishments I passed. It went on mile after heartbreaking mile.

I knew things were bad in North Baton Rouge; people have talked about the problems in NBR my entire life. Now, having seen it for myself as an adult, I feel the need to do something to help. What, I don't know. Have any ideas? It's such a big problem with multiple layers that I don't really know where to start.

By the way, I never did make it all the way out to the funeral home. By that time traffic was picking up and I decided to head back to my apartment.

1 comment:

  1. Check out this blog...

    (Not that she has any idea of how to help the situation) She's some crazy yankee that doesn't seem to mind the risk of taking photos all over the scary parts of BR. It is really disheartening to see how an outsider views our city.

    You're right about there being too many layers to even begin to think how to help - crime, lack of education, poverty, etc. Guess you would have to inventory your skills to see how you can help. I can't repair a house, but I could definitely paint. We could volunteer at a school.

    A few websites with volunteer opportunities.


    Something else that's really been bothering me - have you seen the water park BREC is building on Lobdell? Why on earth is the city investing money in a water park when there are so many without the basic needs of life? They should tear down some of those crack houses in NBR.