211 West Ninth To-day

The liquor store is now a parking lot. Of course it is. It had to be burned. It had LEPROSY!!!

I can see Baccarat now. His mottled porcelain white-skin. The nasal ulcers. The eyebrows falling off. “You want the pint or the fifth?” His cytokines and activated macrophages raising all manner of lesion and nodule…”your change, sir!”

Ah, leprosy. That most biblical of afflictions. We think of leprosy, ahem, Hansen’s, as some sort of Medieval/pirate-themed/Third World typa deal, but remember, American citizens so diseased didn’t win the right to vote until 1946. Dan had probably been hauled off to Carville in shackles and under armed guard, as many a leper was, while outside the walls kids in catechism class were learning the palindromatically helpful Repel evil as a live leper. (I like to think said wisdom is still so imparted.) Heck, the Japanese still excecuted the children of lepers through the 1950s.

To Carville’s credit, it was there in the 1940s scientists discovered sulfones could cure leprosy…though it wasn’t until the late ’90s that long-term residents were given the choice of leaving. Forty of them remained. Home is home.