Picturing the Story

Juárez and El Paso locations featured in Desert Blood.
All quotations copyrighted by Alicia Gaspar de Alba, 2005.


The Santa Fe Bridge (photo by Alicia Gaspar de Alba, 2002)


"At the top of the bridge, sitting between the two flags, was one of Ivon's favorite views of downtown El Paso: tall bank buildings against the slate gray mountains and a bluebonnet sky. She loved this place. She hated this place. Always, the same contradictions."
--from Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders, p. 57 © Alicia Gaspar de Alba, 2005


Campos Eliseos/Elysian Fields (photo by Alicia Gaspar de Alba, 2002)

"... Ivon found herself in a new development behind the industrial park, Campos Eliseos, it said on the brightly lit billboard up ahead, The Elysian Fields. A clone of the Champs d'Elysée arch had been erected at the entrance to the development on Victor Hugo Street, and behind that were streets called Versailles and Concorde and Saint Germain...A tree-lined park ran the length of Elysian Fields Boulevard...She noticed the yellow warning signs ... that prohibited digging in the ground or building fires, a skull-and-bones image to warn off those who couldn't read that this verdant oasis was not a safe place for picnics or barbecues."
--from Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders, pp. 269-270 © Alicia Gaspar de Alba, 2005


Colonia Puerto de Anapra (photo by Alicia Gaspar de Alba)

"Over here's where they found some of the bodies," [Father Francis] announced as they passed a section of trash-covered dunes. "Lomas de Poleo, Pollen Hills, they call it. A couple of little boys found a human skull buried in the trash they were sorting. Police found the bodies of twelve women here and the remains of several others." ...The irony stung Ivon like a rock on the cheek. Water for Puerto de Anapra, the sign back there had said. A port without water. Not even the Rio Grande came to this godforsaken place."
--from Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders, p. 38© Alicia Gaspar de Alba, 2005


Smelter Cemetery with Cristo Rey in the background (photo by Andrea Baca, 2001)

"Nobody guarded Smelter Cemetery. Not even ghosts...The truck lights bounced off the tombs. Piles of stones and crucifixes populated the little graveyard. The ground was covered with mounds of thick black soot, and the chemical fumes were so strong they made her eyes water. Here and there plastic flowers and green scrub brush broke through the black ground...Just below the cemetery, she could see the billboards off I-10, and beyond that, the lights of West El Paso...Now the tires were crunching down the loose asphalt away from the cemetery. In the moonlight, the refinery smokestacks stood like sentinels of death."
--from Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders, pp. 294-295 © Alicia Gaspar de Alba, 2005

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