There was a deep puddle the width of the entire dirt road, so Dr. Andrew Theising, a political science professor at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, wheeled his car over the gravel shoulder instead.
He was taking a reporter on a mid-autumn tour of East St. Louis and no tour of East St. Louis would be complete without going down Kansas Avenue, to the corner at North 17th street, to see the childhood home of Miles Davis. As the car rolled back onto the road, the famous house came into view.
"Oh, no," said Theising. "Oh my God."
The jazz legend's house was rotting. The white wooden panels had been ripped off every side of the house's ground floor. The aluminum siding was pillaged. All that was left of the backyard porch's wall railing lay in a shattered and charred heap on the ground. The windows were boarded up. Garbage trickled around the perimeter.
"This is so sad," said Theising.