Today started out with dreadful rain; it had clearly rained throughout the night in Indianapolis, and hadn’t relented by the time I had to hit the road. The first few hours were dreadful driving, but as I got further west it slowly began to clear up. It was still a drizzle when I hit St. Louis, but light enough that I could wander about.
My first stop was the Hyde Park district, for no other reason that I had found a cafe on the map that promised good coffee. I was really in the mood for a beignet, but I don’t know St. Louis or where to find them. It turns out the Hyde Park district is nearly derelict, but the Sun Ministries non-profit group are trying to reinvigorate the area. I spoke at length with (Terry?) and his wife, who’ve been in the area for a few years now, about their vision. They goal was to create a few businesses, and employ folk who would otherwise be considered unemployable: felons, addicts, and others who would have difficulty getting job opportunities. By giving these folk something to work and to live for, they hope to inspire pride in the community, and get people back on their feet.
By all accounts, this seems to be working. The people in the Sun Cafe where I breakfasted were lovely, and the food was delicious. They were gracious enough to let me take some photos of the cafe, which is furnished entirely out of what the community has built—reclaimed wood, furniture, and lumber all went into the tables and chairs of the cafe. I was truly impressed with what these people are doing in one of the most uninvested areas of the city. I truly had no intention of going into such an area, and had I known, I might have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to meet kind, wonderful people.
By the time my breakfast was done the rain had finally let up, and I drove a few minutes across town to the Bellefontaine Cemetery, which was my intended destination in St. Louis in the first place. You might not be surprised to learn that I have rather a penchant for graveyards, and this was no disappointment. Apparently there are something in the region of 80,000 graves there, and remarkably nearly every one was well-tended. This actually made for some less-than-ideal photo opportunities (I prefer rot and decay), but it was utterly beautiful nonetheless.
Ultimately I sent around two to three hours in St. Louis, and I’m heartily glad I did. It was hardly a tourist trip, but it was well worth it. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more on my trip back in September.
Then it was back on the road for another few hours, on my way to Kansas City to spend the night with my cousin and aunt. Tomorrow I head out for Boulder!