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

By Marcia Gaudet, James Carville

Mysterious and misunderstood, distorted via biblical imagery of disfigurement and uncleanness, Hansen's ailment or leprosy has all yet disappeared from America's awareness. 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 analysis.

Drawn from interviews with residing sufferers and huge study within the leprosarium's information, Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America tells the tales of former sufferers on the nationwide Hansen's affliction middle. For over a century, from 1894 till 1999, Carville was once the positioning of the single in-patient health center within the continental usa for the therapy of Hansen's affliction, the popular designation for leprosy.

Patients-exiled there by way of legislations for remedy and for separation from the remainder of society-reveal how they have been capable of deal with the devastating blow the analysis of leprosy dealt them. Leprosy was once so scary and so poorly understood that whole households may endure and be kept away from if one friend gotten smaller the ailment. while sufferers entered Carville, they often left every little thing at the back of, together with their criminal names and their hopes for the long run.

Former sufferers at Carville supply their perspectives of the skin global and of the tradition they cast in the therapy heart, which incorporated married and person dwelling 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 within which fellow victims of Hansen's ailment prevailed over trauma and ostracism. via their stories and tales, we see their very human quest for id and patience with dignity, humor, and grace.

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Additional resources for Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America

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Betty was mercifully spared the worst effects of Hansen’s disease, and when she died in June 2002, her face was still unmarked by the disease. However, the trauma to her family was still very real. ” Her obituary, using only her real name, made no mention of Betty Martin, and there was no acknowledgment in the media that Betty Martin, author of Miracle at Carville, had “An Exile in My Own Country” { 33 } died. Her family honored her wishes as reflected in the title of her second book, No One Must Ever Know (1959).

This but proves the horror with which the disease is regarded. The leper dies when he enters the institution. He does not forget, but he is a forgotten man” (Elwood 1996: 51). Hazel, a native of St. Louis, was eighty-five years old when I talked with her in 1983. She had first come to Carville in 1922, the divorced mother of a six-monthold daughter. She had been a discharged patient since 1946, but she came back to Carville in 1969 because of cataracts. Hazel said that when the doctor in St. Louis first diagnosed her disease, he put her in isolation in a hospital, but he did not immediately tell her family what it was.

Carville, Leprosy, and Real People { 13 } that, to our knowledge, the disease has never been reported in a full-blooded American Indian” (Trautman 1989). The disease is caused by Mycobacterium leprae, but most people have natural immunity to this bacterium. Dr. Gerhard Armauer Hansen was the Norwegian physician who discovered the leprosy bacillus in 1873, a time when leprosy was endemic in Norway. The long incubation period for the disease added to the mystery of its transmission. The period of incubation may be as little as three to five years in susceptible people, but it is believed that it may be as long as twenty years in some cases.

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