Originally published in the anthology: Lowriting: Shots, Rides & Stories from the Chicano Soul, January 8, 2014
Santino J. Rivera (Editor), Art Meza (Photographer)
In the 1970’s, we lived off of Florence in Southeastern Los Angeles, in an area called Cudahy that was so crappy we called it Crudahy. There was nothing good in that town. Nothing. It was economically depressed. There was nothing but roach-infested, cheap tract housing and even crappier apartments. There were a few “real” houses but they too, were nothing to write home about and just stood there as hold outs to a time before tract housing for steelworkers. That end of the L. A. River was nothing like the Los Feliz part of it that had delicately tiptoeing egrets, green rushes and the hills of Griffith Park surrounding it. No, this side of the river was all concrete, stink, florescent green algae and junk.
Our street was a dead-end. It wasn’t a gaba neighborhood where such things are called cul-de-sac’s in a tone that implies that somehow made it safe. No, to us it was just a dead-end street and had nothing to recommend it. Our street was so bad to the Bell Police Department (yes that City of Bell) that they came four in a car, in full riot gear just to cruise. Cudahy didn’t even merit its own police station. Read more