Down by law

Diligent readers of this blog know that when I am not a writer, I am what is known as a mitigation specialist. I do investigations for lawyers who defend clients -- principally Mexicans -- who are facing the death penalty in the U.S. Among the defendants' families, friends, colleagues, classmates, teachers, doctors, priests and nuns, I look for mitigating circumstances, in the hope that these details will help spare their lives.

Sometimes in the course of the investigations I find myself in sections of towns where some of the bottom fishers of the legal professions operate. These two photos were taken near the intersection of Tulane Avenue and Broad Street in New Orleans, where Central Lockup, the city's holding prison, is located. And where, when I was 20 years old, I spent a fateful night, charged with, according to the arresting officer, "aggravated stupidity." But that's another story.