An appreciation of LA's sidewalk shrines

sidewalk-shrines.jpgIn the November issue of Los Angeles magazine, and online today, editor Amy Wallace and photographer Damon Casarez pay attention to the impromptu memorials you sometimes see around the city. They mark, for loved ones and for the rest of us, the spot where someone has just died.

"When we see a shrine, we’re usually on the move. In that, we have something in common with the individuals these pop-up memorials are meant to honor. Those people, too, were on their way somewhere when they reached the ultimate end of the road. And then, suddenly, nothing.

"Most of us don’t know the men, women, and children whose points of departure are marked with bouquets and candles and teddy bears. But we feel the loss. Maybe we’ve heard about the accident on the news—the celebrating twentysomethings who drank too much before they got behind the wheel, the mother and her two young daughters who had the bad luck to be in their minivan when a senior citizen with a suspended license lost control and veered into their lane. To read about these tragedies is to realize it could have been you. Which is probably why once a shrine goes up, it can grow quickly with offerings from strangers."

The shrine above, at the Metro bus stop on the southwest corner of Beverly Boulevard and Rossmore Avenue, honored Luke Akao. He was 20 when his motorcycle struck a pole at the bus stop, the magazine says.

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