I’ve always lived in Louisville; never in the cool or desirable parts of town, but Louisville nonetheless. During my childhood, I lived in Camp Taylor across from Camp Taylor Park. When I reached my tweens/teens, we lived off Dixie Highway behind Walmart for a while, and then in the early 90s moved to Fordhaven Road by the Southwest YMCA. So, you could say that the places I’ve lived have never been places where people made a point to visit. That brings us current to Southside.
Southside really is unique in that its make up is mostly industry, train tracks, Americana, and the old Naval Ordnance. There are houses and apartments for sure, and we are home to the largest immigrant community in Louisville. But overall, Southside serves as a gateway to other neighborhoods and landmarks such as Beechmont, Iroquois Park, UPS, Industrial Park, Jefferson Memorial Forest, and the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center. Ultimately, if you’re avoiding highways and need to get to most of those places, you’re likely to drive through Southside.
My neighborhood has (to me) an underlying noble grittiness that is lost on some of our adjacent neighborhoods, and tends to only be found in other areas of the city that are comprised of lower income households. Neighbors borrow each other’s lawnmowers or other yard accoutrement without batting an eye. Kids run wild in the streets either on bare foot or wheels. Cookouts are rowdy and run late, but not too late. Fourth of July starts in May and runs until New Years. Store fronts are utilitarian at best. Lastly, Southside is a place where I feel comfortable enough to sit on my front porch, and use my megaphone to tell people to have a good day or that I like their shirt.
Some could say we’re tacky. We say we’re fun.
I’m hoping to discover more about my neighborhood as I write these articles. As a result, I’m hoping that as you’re avoiding the highway to get to Iroquois Park or Jefferson Memorial, you’ll stop by and see what we love about Southside as well.