Community Strange Fruit

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Before we get started, a quick note: We recorded this episode before University of Louisville President James Ramsey and his staff made national headlines for dressing in stereotyped “Mexican”Halloween costumes. We’ll talk about it in-depth on next week’s show, but for now, keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook, where we’re posting updates about the story.

It’s Halloween, so to open this week’s episode, Kaila recounts a ghost story she read about in local author David Dominé’s book, “True Ghost Stories and Eerie Legends from America’s Most Haunted Neighborhood.” The neighborhood in question is Old Louisville, and this story is specific to St. James Court — where we might never set foot again, now that we’ve heard this!

51K3r15niOL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The legend of the Ice Boy has it that St. James residents didn’t want St. James Flats (the area’s first apartment complex) to be as tall as planned, so someone set it on fire. What they didn’t know was that a little boy was supposedly on the top floor, warming up between grocery deliveries, when the fire took hold. Because he wasn’t wealthy or important, so the story goes, his death was never reported on. But people say you can see his ghost in the courtyard on nights when there is snow or frost on the ground.

We also talked about the five most popular, and least popular, Halloween candies in the U.S. Kaila named four out of five of the most popular candies without looking at the list (“I’m obsessed with candy,” she explained).

And Halloween wouldn’t be complete without our favorite freaky movies — one of which is “Rocky Horror Picture Show!” Last week, we learned that Fox will release a “re-imagining” of the cult classic next fall, with Laverne Cox playing the lead role of Dr. Frank N. Furter.

We love everything Laverne does, and this will surely be no different, but people have voiced some reservations, which we do understand. Will it confuse a mainstream audience to see a trans woman playing a character who claims an identity of “sweet transvestite?” Or will it be transgressive and reclaiming? Ultimately, we trust Laverne not to do anything that would set back the trans cause (and also, we want Janelle Monáe to play Columbia).

And speaking of famous people who have been on our show, we’ve been lucky enough to talk to some very notable folks. But sometimes it’s great to check in with people in our own communities who are doing great things. So this week, our feature interviews are with two such people.

41ES89H3mXL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Ontra Caples is the founder and CEO of Down Home Tea. When he was growing up, his grandma was known for her sweet tea. No neighborhood cookout or church supper was complete without it. After a stint in the military, briefly owning a store, then trying his hand at laying carpet, Caples decided to take that tried-and-true tea recipe to the next level. Now, Down Home Tea can be found in Kroger and ValuMarket, and Caples is winning awards at trade shows. He stopped by the studio to tell us his story.

And Professor Sheila Barbour was working in higher education when she realized her students (mostly from small towns) had a lot to say about diversity. She interviewed them, and the result was a book called “Diversity’s Voice: Now and Then.” She joined us this week to share some of what she learned from the project.

Laura oversees WFPL's podcast strategy and produces Curious Louisville, where listeners submit questions and our reporters find out the answers.