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March 3, 2007

the unfortunate

City Insane Asylum. Record of Patients :: New Orleans in the late 1800s :: haunting read


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Comments (5)

The catch-all nursing home where I've been interning has almost the same roster of residents; some "raving maniacs," some "used up by age..."
It's amazing that despite all the new diagnoses, new drugs and new therapies, the experience of mental illness today doesn't seem all that different from 125 years ago.
Fortunately, with all we've learned about the brain, we CAN do things like this:
http://imaginaryfriends.typepad.com/neuroscienceart/2006/09/karen_norberg_1.html
Which I think is pretty neat.

Posted by: h at March 3, 2007 1:45 PM

We have made some wonderful advances in the field of mental health - idiocy and stupidity, were at that time, grounds for asylum committal - now days we elect them to public office, some have even made it to President. I find that totally fascinating.

Posted by: BlakNyte at March 3, 2007 11:07 PM

Reading this reminded me when they started renovating the old mental health aka insane asylum on the old county grounds a few years back to make way for office space. Huge well built beautiful structures (1890), all abandoned since the 70’s. Most of the buildings needed extensive work because of roof and rain, save one, the largest of the structures, which was remarkably in very good shape. Would have made a good building for a school, but they tore it down because as it turns out it was the actual asylum, and also a stones throw away from Potters Field; which has now been converted into a community garden, ew. I thought it a waste to tear down such a well built and architecturally beautiful building until the cranes came and stared ripping things apart. You could see the puke green plastered walls, the cages and iron chains dangling five stories up where the patience were kept and just imagine the tortures those people suffered. Was a grizzly sight. One hopes we have more empathy now for the mentally ill. Having worked with psychologists… well, in the broadest of terms, they’re a strange lot. The rest I’ll keep that to myself.

Posted by: urinvited at March 5, 2007 4:19 AM

I can't believe how many alchoholics they have listed there. And everyone is profiled by race/nationality, even before gender. I like 2007, screwed up as it may be. At least there's AA.

Posted by: Rebecca at March 6, 2007 2:05 AM

This reminded me that when I was 23 I decided to apply for a
job in an asylum and I told the panel of doctors interviewing
me that I thought we were all more or less insane, sane. I had
been out partying the night before so my tongue was loosened.
I did not get the job. Which i later figured out was mostly to
wrestle unruly patients to the ground.

Thanks for your articles Ze,

Patrice

Posted by: Patrice Yourdon at March 9, 2007 10:32 AM

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