Anne Brooks, a nun and a physician, has struggled for years to treat the poor at a run-down clinic in Tutwiler. The nation’s new healthcare law could help – but her state is fighting it.
Reporting from Tutwiler, Miss. — This crumbling Delta town, set amid cotton fields, abandoned railroad tracks and cypress-studded bayous, is a hard place.
So hard that the plaintive sound of a local musician drawing a knife blade across the strings of his guitar gave birth to the blues here a century ago. So hard that a Roman Catholic nun named Anne Brooks has struggled for the last 27 years to keep a medical clinic open for the poor.
“It’s a pretty hand-to-mouth existence,” said Brooks, 71, a physician with a wry sensibility and a profane streak. Brooks earned a medical degree at age 44 before coming to the Mississippi Delta to open the Tutwiler Clinic with the blessing of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.