Rue Duplessis, rue Hallé | The Press

“You have balls, big guy!” You paid yourself a damn exorcism! »

Posted at 1:45 a.m.

Updated at 6:00 a.m.

Jean-Philippe Pleau, your father, Jean-Pierre, like mine, would have been able to pronounce the first sentence. Easy. But not sure about the second one, because maybe they didn’t know what the last word meant…

Exercise ? Exorcise? Exercise? Exorcism! “There must be another simpler one, a word, damn it! »

Routes which have a resemblance between rue Duplessis and rue Hallé.

Duplessis, it was yours, the street in Drummondville where you were raised, the Source of your stigmata, and of your book: Rue Duplessis: my little darkness.

The story of your “social rupture”, your life in a working-class family which you say was not equipped economically and culturally. Which means that today, trying to combine your past and your success as a host at Radio-Canada, you feel like you’re stuck between two chairs.

Mine, my street, was Hallé. That of the time, in Duberger, in Quebec, the same neighborhood in which you write that your grandfather, and your father lived as a child, at 1922, Place-Coté.

I lived nearby, in Domaine-Saint-Charles. Or otherwise called the “Chicken Coops”, as the Park snobs ridiculed us, those who lived in bungalows, in the heart of Duberger, around the church, further away.

They probably spoke of the Henhouses that way because we lived there one on top of the other, in low-rent type housing. Modest because a good number of social assistance recipients resided there, in fact.

Jean-Phillippe, you are a sociologist who studied at Laval University. Same for me, copy and paste. Even though I practically brought the first books into the house, my parents valued education.

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The “Chicken Coops” in Duberger, in 1974

That said, you have a doctorate, while I am under-educated, only a baccalaureate. I’m waiting for thehonoris causa to boost my self-esteem.

So, in our language, a monograph on the Henhouses of those years and that was it, look no further, it’s all there dear students! This place was a primer for social work courses. A concentration of cases – few social flaws did not exist there in my years.

I don’t want to diminish rue Duplessis, but we were hard to beat. From the Henhouses of my time, I would deduce that more guys went to prison than university.

I remember the gangs from Quebec West (today the Vanier district) who arrived in tanks to fight with the guys from the Poulaillers. No guns, that was asshole! Only knives, or brass knuckles. Gladiators!

Your father worked in a printing shop, mine was a mechanic. However, both of my parents knew how to read and count, even though they had not completed primary school.

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Scene of daily life in the Duberger district of Quebec, in 1974

They have long been afraid, as much as yours, of not “making it” financially.

We became members of the so-called middle class when we left the Henhouses, and they acquired the perfect symbol of this new ordinary aristocracy: the famous single-storey house.

According to your criteria, I have the impression of also being somewhere a “class defector”, and member of a “community of internal immigrants who ignore themselves”, as you explain in your book.

And it’s not self-flagellation to talk about it, it’s just worth trying to be useful for the rest of the world.

You talk about your acquired complexes. We could discuss it. It’s viral, this damn rubbish! It’s spreading, and the best vectors are our creators, unwillingly.

But I consider myself luckier than you, overall: fewer persistent symptoms, more scars. I managed quite a bit to tame the balls that spank in the as-a-self. I have reached a balance that is not worse at all, not absolute serenity (nirvana doesn’t exist, bullshitis), but happiness, yes, that’s for sure.

I have to tell you, 115, Saint-Vallier West, still in Quebec, the Chez Ti-Mile tavern, where you write that your grandfather René drank his paychecks: it is part of our legends.

At one point, a transfer occurred for several people, towards the Bar aux Lièvres, in Duberger, and we frequented the place a lot, my boyfriends and me: atavism.

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Régis Labeaume, on the right, with his friend Daniel Lavoie, at the Bar aux Lièvres, in the mid-1970s

For some, the friendship that reigned there held them on to life by the skin of their teeth. But over time, it wasn’t enough, and a few guys around our age erased themselves from the planet.

A damn sadness.

Otherwise, no one remembers Les Poulailles from more than 50 years ago, where I had a very happy childhood, moreover. The picture has changed dramatically today, and it is very good to live there. As for the Bar aux Lièvres, it no longer exists, but we still regret it.

I wanted to write this to you, Jean-Philippe Pleau. Out of solidarity, to remind you that you are not alone in your situation. But you knew that. But above all to thank you, and to tell you that you have a dog in your body for daring to tell you, to expose yourself psychologically.

Your book is lifesaving, JeePee, as your dad called you.

And it’s true, in Quebec, when we were from Lower Town, we weren’t from Upper Town! But we were vibrating down the hill.

Ah yes, one last thing about the Chicken Coops. When I first got involved in politics, a long time ago, I kicked the past in the ass, I played a big part in transforming them into housing cooperatives.

Dignity in the Chicken Coops, es…!

Rue Duplessis: my little darkness

Rue Duplessis: my little darkness

Jean-Philippe Pleau


328 pages

Between us

Finally, an important issue that crosses both banks in Quebec: the restoration of the Quebec Bridge. Not much better than the third link! We must give all the credit to a man who is too discreet: Yvon Charest, the former president of Industrial Alliance, and volunteer leader of the file for several years. Actuary, Mr. Charest persisted because he knows the value of time. But also because he has, like Bob Chicoine, in The Boys, “hardness of mind”. We must also thank the federal elected officials who managed to defeat the bureaucratic machine.

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