Download Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America by Marcia Gaudet, James Carville PDF

By Marcia Gaudet, James Carville

Mysterious and misunderstood, distorted through biblical imagery of disfigurement and uncleanness, Hansen's disorder or leprosy has all yet disappeared from America's realization. In Carville, Louisiana, the closed doorways of the nation's final heart for the therapy of leprosy open to bare tales of unhappiness, separation, or even power within the face of what was a life-wrenching prognosis.

Drawn from interviews with residing sufferers and broad study within the leprosarium's data, Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America tells the tales of former sufferers on the nationwide Hansen's sickness middle. For over a century, from 1894 until eventually 1999, Carville used to be the location of the single in-patient health center within the continental usa for the therapy of Hansen's sickness, the popular designation for leprosy.

Patients-exiled there by means of legislations for remedy and for separation from the remainder of society-reveal how they have been in a position to deal with the devastating blow the analysis of leprosy dealt them. Leprosy was once so scary and so poorly understood that whole households might undergo and be avoided if one friend shrunk the sickness. while sufferers entered Carville, they often left every thing in the back of, together with their criminal names and their hopes for the long run.

Former sufferers at Carville supply their perspectives of the surface global and of the tradition they cast in the remedy middle, which incorporated married and person residing quarters, a bar, or even a prison. these quarantined within the leprosarium created their very own Mardi Gras celebrations, their very own newspaper, and their very own physique of commemorated tales during which fellow victims of Hansen's affliction prevailed over trauma and ostracism. via their thoughts and tales, we see their very human quest for id and patience with dignity, humor, and grace.

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Extra resources for Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America

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Patients at Carville used these traditional resources, along with personal and political agency, to help shape their own self-understanding, to maintain some dignity and control over their lives, and to negotiate their relationship with the outside world. Carville residents not only survived but through their actions, verbal strategies, and self-understanding were often able to see the ironies and absurdities of their situation and to respond with humor, even at times laughing at the society from which they had been banished.

It was a highly unusual institution located in the American South, a region with legal segregation of the races. While the isolation and separation of leprosy patients may have had similar roots in the kinds of Carville, Leprosy, and Real People { 21 } Patients’ volleyball game, ca. 1940. Courtesy of National Hansen’s Disease Program. ignorance and fears that foster other exclusionary practices, such as racial segregation, patients at Carville were not further stigmatized within their community because of race.

However despairing the circumstances, most of the narrators eventually saw sources of laughter in their situation, calling to mind Anatole Broyard’s statement about his own life-threatening sickness: “Illness is not all tragedy. . Much of it is funny” (1992: 46). Through their memory and narratives, we see their very human quest for identity and their survival with dignity and grace. Exile in My { 2 } “An Own Country” THE UNSPEAKABLE TRAUMA OF ENTERING CARVILLE At ten o’clock on that Sunday morning, March 1, 1931, I became an exile in my own country.

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