Friday, October 15, 2010

Juicy*, I've a feeling we're not in 4th and Gill anymore

Over the summer I moved from 4th and Gill to, what I lovingly call, the ghetto side of Luttrell Street. You know what I'm talking about. Turn at the Broadway BP onto Grainger and you're there. It's a wonderful and bizarre place.

The first time I moved to this neighborhood was in 2005. I was still in school and found this sweet old rental house on Grainger with tall ceilings, hardwood floors, and textured wall paper. It wasn't in the best shape, but considering my previous home was Shelbourne Towers, I could only improve my situation.

I moved in with two girls in the downstairs of the house, and four girls lived on the second floor. At 3 am on the night before classes started at UT, we awoke to something I hope to never wake up to again. The back of our house had been lit on fire by some bored and deranged soul. Welcome to the neighborhood!

I currently live right around the corner from that house, and within the first week of living here, an equally disturbing situation occurred. A strung out woman came to my door and asked for a woman named Suzy. I told her that Suzy did not live here, which caused her to curse loudly at me and call me a liar. She had knocked on my neighbors' doors as well, so we called the police. I grew up a lot that night, as I saw a glimpse into the life of a drug addict.

Now that I live here again, I began to wonder which neighborhood association claimed us. I learned it is not 4th and Gill (why am I not surprised), but actually Old North Knoxville. Much to my chagrin, Luttrell Street is divided by the Hall of Fame/Broadway exit, and so even though I live on Luttrell, which is one of my favorite streets in Knoxville, there is a difference between 4th and Gill's Luttrell and our side of Luttrell.

For one, it doesn't take even a minute's walk from my place to feel like you're sort of in a third world country. Dogs run through pothole infested streets in front of dilapidated houses. Front porches are like junk museums. You hear people yelling quite a bit, and all the neighborhood dogs bark in chorus with one another multiple times a day.

We have a man who is our self-proclaimed Neighborhood Watch. He rides the streets on his motorized wheel chair. Everytime I see him, I feel so safe.

Some of the houses are just as darling as 4th and Gill's are, but we also have a little greenway and creek nearby. Even though there are signs that warn you NEVER to touch the water in the creeks, it is incredibly beautiful in spots where the path winds through enormous trees.

I, like Wild Bill, have moved quite a bit in my eight year stint of living in Knoxville, but this is my hood these days. These streets are tough, but I've moved here twice, so I guess that's saying something.

*my cat


britt said...

I live on Luttrell too and want to know: how do you pronounce it? I moved here from out of state and every time I hear Luttrell uttered, it seems like the emphasis is on a different syllable. I wonder if the way I say it gives me away as an outsider!

Anonymous said...

It's really no different than Old North on the other side of Broadway. Same yelling neighbors, transients etc. Old North is not the Ghetto. Try living on Linden Avenue, Parkview Ave., or anywhere in Lonsdale for a taste of Knoxville Ghetto.

ck said...

The "Grainger District" really needs it's own identity- not really Old North, not really 4th and Gill- with bits of Parkridge and North Knoxville bleeding in... it's its own animal.

B said...

Yes, we are sort of an in between, not fully ghetto, but enough for me.

@britt I put the emphasis on the Lutt. I think it's funny when people lu-TTRELL. but who knows, maybe they are right.