There are neighborhoods in Baton rouge where no landmarks from the decades before the civil rights movement can be found at all. Less than a mile from where I grew up in the downtown area there was once a federal housing project. Today there is absolutely nothing to be found of it. A lot of people think getting rid of the old falling down houses and bulldozing the vacant lots make the place look better, but there's a lot of history that becomes invisible forever in the process.
Somehow a huge hole burned in the side of my father's house during the three years I spent avoiding Baton Rouge like the plague. The house next door, which had become mine when I married long ago, now has flooring and plumbing problems. In all cases of the old houses I have been in so often in South Louisiana there is a long list of problems that need to be addressed, and never any money to apply to the tasks. Of course all that has to come after getting electricity hooked up [yeah, it's that messed up...].
The keyboard here in the State Library sounds like a drum set. The disruption it causes in the cool air makes me want to find a pile of sand and bury my head in it. And after all these years nobody has ever said, "Could you stop writing so loud on that computer?" I have often wondered when the axe will fall.
Earlier this week I attempted to revive a skater and biker tradition by beginning Baton Rouge Hell Tours again. The practice always involved going in the most bombed out abandoned areas to skate and bike late at night. Those areas have been pushed far away from the downtown area, probably to keep real life hidden from any tourists that should be enticed into wandering through the renovated areas.
I was almost to Ghost Town when a young man took offense at my presence. That usually didn't happen in the old days. It made my hair stand on end for a minute. Two blocks away the bike's flat tire went flat. The young man thought that was funny. I did too, later.
A lot of things have changed. The town isn't pretending to care about constitutional rights anymore, as near as I can tell from the turret cameras pointed indiscriminately at anyone and everyone who walk by certain points. I will provide pictures of those as soon as I get a digital camera to take a few shots of them. Apparently we have a big jump on the police state here in Baton Rouge. Our mayor wanted predator drones to fly over head at all times so that the area would know anything and everything that the citizens do. How very genteel of him. We'll have this free will thing licked in no time.
It drops to a comfortable 85 at night, with only 95% humidity. That's great sleeping weather after it keeps you up for a week and the fever dreams finally leave you drained in a puddle of sweat on the floor. Luckily the sirens at night never stop for long enough to make it possible for anyone to oversleep. The friendly emergency services crews are ready to provide inadvertent wake-up service to anyone sleeping with windows open and nothing to stifle the noise.
Last year in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, this very weekend, some atrocities took place. At least four guys got beat up very badly. There was rape and sodomy involved, in a facility controlled by law enforcement after Hurricane Gustav. In Clinton, Louisiana doing those things to prisoners became okay that weekend.
What happened to justice? What happened to the place where I grew up? What happened to my state, this country? I just don't know anymore. It's like even the ruins are being hidden, so all we can see is a big, fake smiley face.
Normal people (whatever that means): If you read this have a nice weekend. Sadists: Get bent. Death's not waiting for you.