Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America
Mysterious and misunderstood, distorted by biblical imagery of disfigurement and uncleanness, Hansen's disease or leprosy has all but disappeared from America's consciousness. In Carville, Louisiana, the closed doors of the nation's last center for the treatment of leprosy open to reveal stories of sadness, separation, and even strength in the face of what was once a life-wrenching diagnosis. Drawn from interviews with living patients and extensive research in the leprosarium's archives, Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America tells the stories of former patients at the National Hansen's Disease Center. For over a century, from 1894 until 1999, Carville was the site of the only in-patient hospital in the continental United States for the treatment of Hansen's disease, the preferred designation for leprosy. Patients-exiled there by law for treatment and for separation from the rest of society-reveal how they were able to cope with the devastating blow the diagnosis of leprosy dealt them. Leprosy was so frightening and so poorly understood that entire families would suffer and be shunned if one family member contracted the disease. When patients entered Carville, they typically left everything behind, including their legal names and their hopes for the future. Former patients at Carville give their views of the outside world and of the culture they forged within the treatment center, which included married and individual living quarters, a bar, and even a jail.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Unspeakable Trauma of Entering Carville
Personal Narratives of Absconding from Carville
Personal Narratives Tall Tales and the Reality of Leprosy
Mardi Gras at Carville
History and Memory in the Graveyard at Carville
Postmemory and the Carville Legacy
Other editions - View all
absconding stories armadillo Baton Rouge Betty Martin Billy buried carnival Carville Mardi Gras Carville patients Carville residents Carville’s Christopher Manes culture Daughters of Charity diagnosed with leprosy doctor doubloons Edmond Landry entered Carville Erving Goffman father fear fence float former Carville former patients Goffman Gras at Carville graveyard Gussow Hansen’s Disease Center Hansen’s Disease Program HD patients hole hospital humor Iberia Parish identity illness isolation James Carville Johnny Harmon Julia Elwood knew later left Carville leper Leprosarium leprosy patients letters lives Louis Boudreaux Louisiana Louisiana Leper Home Mardi Gras celebrations Mary Ruth masks memories metanarration metaphor Miracle at Carville Mississippi River mother National Hansen’s Disease National Leprosarium nine-banded armadillos one’s Orleans parade patients at Carville pecan Personal interview 1984 personal narratives postmemory quarantine real names society Stanley Stein stigma storyteller tall tale tell tion told Tracy point traditional trauma treatment typical
Page 5 - Leprosy in its heyday aroused a similarly disproportionate sense of horror. In the Middle Ages, the leper was a social text in which corruption was made visible; an exemplum, an emblem of decay. Nothing is more punitive than to give a disease a meaning—that meaning being invariably a moralistic one. Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash with significance