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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- ...more
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published December 2nd 2004 by University Press of Mississippi
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As I read Marcia Gaudet’s book, I was reminded of the immeasurable resilience of human beings. The symptoms of Hansen’s disease (leprosy) are bad enough, but what is perhaps worse is the social stigma attached to anyone who contracts HD, and to his or her family. In some cultures today, and in Medieval Europe, leprosy is associated with witchcraft. The illness is loaded with preconceived notions of its contagiousness and origins. Gaudet cites Susan Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor to explain how muc ...more
Jun 15, 2015 Karen rated it liked it
Carville is, for many older folks in Louisiana, synonymous with leprosy. In fact it was the site of a hospital devoted to treating patients with Hansen's Disease (aka leprosy), that underwent many different administrations and identities before finally closing in 1999. Up until the 1930s or 1940s, Hansen's Disease was one of the few diseases that an American citizen could get that would consign him or her to mandatory and in some cases life-long quarantine. In effect, HD patients were interned i ...more