East Louisiana State Mental Institution, Jackson, Louisiana. February, 1963. Richard Avedon.
These photos are from 1963, five years prior to our setting of 1968. There is a broad range of psychiatric facilities. The East Louisiana State Mental Institution was very, very different from McLean Hospital. It is clear from Avedon’s photos that many of the patients are struggling with severe illness and have different levels of functionality. As illustrated in Chimamanda’s TED Talk, we must do our best to take in and present as many stories as possible. From a private institution, such as McLean Hospital, to a public institution, such as represented here, neither present a full picture of mental illness and its treatment in the 60s, but there is truth and validity in both, and even more so when taken together.