You have captured the sadness of Cairo in this essay. The once beautiful rows of mansions now all sit decaying. Before he died I took my father back to Cairo and walked those same streets. He would point out where a business had been here and there, describing a bustling town of the 1940's. The “riots” (race riots of the 60's) are often mentioned as the cause of its demise, but that is not the case. Small towns are dying everywhere. Visit Paducah, Texas if you get a chance. Like Cairo, cotton was once the economic engine of the region.