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Duluth, Minn. —
We used to call them bums. You pass them on your way to work. They're leaning against a building in ragged clothes. They're drunk. In every city, there's a neighborhood where the street alcoholics hang out. Most of us catch only brief glimpses of them from the car, or the bus. Sometimes we think about them for a minute. "Why does that guy do that to himself?" Or maybe, "Where does a woman like that live?"
But you can't just walk up and start asking questions. You need a guide. Someone like Paul Ojanen. He's going to take us on a tour of First St. in downtown Duluth. He calls it Alcoholic Central.
Listen to his story, and read his column about why he chose to take you on a tour of First Street.
This story was produced by Minnesota Public Radio's Chris Julin. Read his account of how the story was produced.