Friday, June 12, 2009

Susan Larson reflects on Carville, LA

Susan Larson of the Times Picayune has a great article on the legacy behind the National Hansen's Disease Museum in Carville, La. From 1894-1999 the grounds were used as a treatment center for people with the long-misunderstood disease.

Larson calls on Jose Ramirez, Jr., author of Squint: My Journey with Leprosy, to help bring this forgotten era to light. Ramirez was taken to Carville as a patient when he was only 20. Squint is a painfully honest chronicle of life as a patient there and his triumphs after his release.
I was healing for a long period," he said by phone from his office in Houston. "I go back to Carville a minimum of twice a year. Magdalena (his wife) and I stay at the facility. We visit with the 15 residents there. They all call me son. They were the age of my parents when I got there, and now they're elderly.

"It's become a second home. When I was there, all I could think of was how much I wanted to get out, but I could appreciate the beauty of all the people there."

Squint is now available from UPM. For more information on the book and its author visit www.leprosyjourney.com

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