Sorry, We’re Closed

[Footnotes presents this essay as part of a series addressing reconceptualizing space and social interaction during Covid19, as the Covid19 pandemic forces us to rethink our social lives and how we use and interact in various spaces.]

The Delmar Loop, a stretch of what was once racialized as the “Delmar Divide” for the way it separates St. Louis’ population, is normally a bustling shopping and dining district full of tourists, Washington University parents, and suburban families that might not want to go too far into the city. I’ve only been here for six years, but I’ve heard many St. Louis locals remark that the Loop was “so different” just ten years ago. Whether “different” means better or worse usually depends on who I’m talking to.

These photos were taken the day after the city and county’s joint Stay Home order. The Loop is a ghost town, save for the three moving trucks down the way which Washington University hired to move and ship student’s belongings from their loft apartments back home.

I have a strange fascination with text in photos. It draws the eye and demands to be read. There’s also a sort of linguistic dataset here too: how do shop owners talk about disease or closing or loss; how do they express hope; how do they cling to some kind of income or stability?

This is “Sorry, We’re Closed.”

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