Sunday, August 30, 2009

They Took Her Tent. The Police.


The tent was of course, Mercedes' home and in the middle of an especially bad heat wave, the Los Angeles Police Department decided to take it from her. As her companion explained it to me they said it was an eyesore and was on either public or private property (anything else would have been fine I guess). Consequently, it and all her possessions (except for her rosary beads) were confiscated.

There may be more to the story than this. If so, I'd like to hear about it.

Nonetheless, as of 9:45 this evening Mercedes is living and sleeping in an aluminum chair on the streets of LA.

[Some of you might remember Mercedes. I first put up this photo about six weeks ago.]

16 comments:

PJ said...

That is an astonishing photograph. There was an experiment done some years ago that involved several students who volunteered to go live on the streets of a large city, to become homeless. They were given a minimal amount of money and weren't allowed to contact anyone they knew. In very, very short order they became deeply depressed and unable to cope with making even the smallest decisions. In fact, they were paralyzed. I think Mercedes must be a wily coyote to have survived living on the street except now she has to come up with a new configuration for something the rest of us can't imagine.

Scott Roeben said...

Beautiful shot, Kevin.

Laurie said...

Can we give her another tent? Will it be confiscated if she moves to another spot?

Virginia said...

That just stinks!

Jean Spitzer said...

Brutal.

Debi said...

Can she not get her property back? I'm horrified. What can we do?!

pasadenaadjacent said...

PJ's comment interests me because I can attest to it. I first moved into downtown during the Reagan era. I remember scouting around the edges and running into a fellow who was obviously "new in town" and keeping a low profile. I would run into him months later and barely recognize him. That fact has always stayed with me. I wonder if he got out.

-K- said...

Although I couldn't buy her anything at that hour, she now has enough money to replace the tent.

Of course, there's no stopping the police from striking again.

altadenahiker said...

Mercedes: It is of Spanish origin, and its meaning is "mercies". Used in reference to the Virgin Mary, Santa Maria de las Mercedes as "Our Lady of Mercies".

Her mother hoped life would treat her daughter better.

Virginia said...

I've said this before. Something about her makes me think that life has not always been such a struggle. There is sense of grace, (style???) about her. I can't put my finger on it. God bless her.
V

spacedlaw said...

Poor Mercedes. As if life wasn't harsh enough for her...

Virginia said...

K,
THanks as always for your visits to my blog. You continue to amaze me.
V

Tore Claesson said...

Public? So when does a person disqualify to be part of the public. The right to live even if too poor to be private? It's an amazing shot. The eyes are so soft. Despite the hardship. This is important photography.

Roxana said...

such a great and true photograph, reminding me of what photography used to be at the time of such masters as Cartier Bresson...

Tash said...

I remeber this stunning photo of Mercedes that you posted before.
The tents seem to trigger confiscation - like they trigger the public having to admit that the person is truly homeless.
At the beginning of summer, our 3 year 405 & Cherry on-ramp resident had a tent, no doubt provided by a well meaning soul. The tent was gone within 2 weeks. But the guy's sleeping bag and other miniscule possesions are still there.

Shanna said...

Confiscated ??? her belongings?
Is that the new term for theft?

I agree with, I think it was Virginia, that there is a sense of grace about her.