The Urban Blight of Madison County

Having heard the news that Madison County now hosts a blighted urban area on the edge of the Ross Barnett Reservoir, I was intrigued. Generally, I don't like the Reservoir. It impedes the flow of the Pearl River, messes with the local species, it's surrounded by despicably wealthy members of the upper crust, and it's named after a horrible racist.

Urban blight on the waterfront is kinda my thing, in case you haven't read the website before or visited the collections or seen the pictures.

So, armed with cameras, money (I hear that rich people like it) and some assistance from frequent collaborators, we made our way to this new urban blight. I felt sure this could be a new playground.

The name was Lost Rabbit - a great and shady name denoting the lost and dazed nature of this slum.

So, off we went, expecting a world of rot and rust and hopelessness. My favorite things!

Our intelligence indicated that Lost Rabbit was a serious hellhole. Their website played music automatically, for fuck's sake!

Still, we were not prepared for what we'd see.

Wild beasts usually take over immediately.

Wild animals roved the abandoned streets. Empty lots had returned to their pristine and natural state. Tiny, tiny, empty lots. The citizens were all locked and barred in their homes, hiding from the roving bands of wild animals and whatever depraved ghetto-denizens who would be out.

The rot had set in, unattended by anyone who would care, as is the case with urban decay.

More of our homework had revealed that these tiny houses were virtually worthless.  The word on the street was that each house was going for only three to five hundred! The lots, a mere two hundred for a whopping fifth of an acre! I can only assume we were talking about dollars, and not, say, thousands of dollars, because that would be the most absurd thing imaginable.

The tiny houses were jammed together, forcing the denizens to huddle together in overcrowded housing I could call "tenements."

Uncut lawns, crowded spaces, building vertically with the lack of available space.

We saw no people, and no doubt their lack of Vitamin D plays a role in their listlessness, their unwillingness to leave - even in broad daylight - compounded by the rampant crime associated with urban blight.

This resident bricked up all his windows to avoid the rampant crime problem.

The area is also a "Food Desert," there are no grocery stores within miles, probably compounding the horrific conditions the residents face. Garbage sits in the streets. There are no jobs available in the neighborhood, worsening their dependence on cars that likely need repairing, as the county is forced to spend money on infrastructure.

Hooligans left their garbage out in the streets.

Hooligans left their garbage out in the streets.

We were perturbed, unready to accept this new face of urban blight and decay. Hopefully the huge tax bill incurred by the citizens of Madison County on behalf of these benighted souls in this brand new slum will pay off, restoring this blighted zone to a pristine state of nature.

Behold, the view from a slum.