Outside of Los Angeles, the term “skid row” is a figure of speech; an abstract reference to an impoverished state of being.
But downtown between 3rd and 7th Streets, Skid Row is the official name of an actual neighborhood. For generations, it’s played a cruel host to thousands of homeless. It’s also incited political battles, focusing national attention on the plight of the destitute. For some, Skid Row represents a painful badge of honor. But for most, it just feels like shame.
Ivan Edmunds fell into the latter category. The product of a middle-class upbringing, Edmunds didn’t quite understand how he’d ended up penniless, addicted to drugs, and sleeping on the streets. While his father had been somewhat unavailable to him through his childhood, his mother had been a strong and loving spiritual presence.
But as he grew into adulthood, the musically gifted Edmunds pursued the wilder side of that industry. Like many, he ended up “in the wrong yard” – one of the most dangerous sections of L.A.