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.