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The city’s reaction to the fire, the most lethal in 30 years, was fierce. Many residents had grown tired of these tattooed and pierced panhandlers. In the days after the fire, there were calls to enforce vagrancy laws more strictly and bulldoze the squats. Yet the conditions in the crime-infested streets of the Ninth Ward were already very rough, and that hadn’t kept anyone away. As Flea’s procession the day before the fire had demonstrated, there were a lot more of these traveling kids in town than those begging for change in the French Quarter.

“A World on Fire.” — Danelle Morton, Boston Review

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