For most of his journalistic career, Charlie LeDuff explored the lives of drug addicts, criminals and the destitute… His young sister, Nicole, caught up in drugs and prostitution on Detroit’s west side, was killed after jumping out of a speeding car.
LeDuff and his mom eventually visited the dive bar, The Flame, where Nicole had downed drinks with dope dealers, hookers and swindlers.
“We didn’t pay for a drink the rest of the night,” LeDuff recalled. “Whatever you’re going to think about people like my sister – or your own relatives out there, you have them – wherever she went, her crowd had respect for her. There’s something dignified in every human being, and when people ask why I write about the things I write about, that’s why – because I come from that, and there is dignity in everybody.”