To Our Readers: Aug. 15, 1994

Senior correspondent Jack E. White has witnessed poverty in its worst degrees, from the refugee camps of Africa to the inner cities of America. But his experience failed to prepare him for the sights of Lake Providence, Louisiana, which according to Census figures is the poorest place in America. In this decrepit town he found crumbling shotgun shacks, burned-out houses and a poverty so desperate it has resisted all the remedies of the past three decades. "People told me, 'Be prepared for something like you've never seen,' " says White. "They turned out to be right. Most Americans would not believe...

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