Nation: THE CITY: THE EAST ST. LOUIS BLUES

Most American cities are in trouble. Few are in more trouble than East St. Louis, III., a decaying industrial suburb across the Mississippi from St. Louis' soaring Gateway Arch.

Almost half of the 130 stores that once lined the city's main shopping streets are gone. So much business has fled the community that city hall is now the third largest employer, public schools the fourth. More than half of the city's families live on less than $3,000 a year; 21% of the labor force is unemployed. One-fourth of the 82,000 residents receive some kind of public assistance. Relations between the city's 38,000...

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