If you are curious about Austin’s sizable homeless population or if you just want to see someone shoot heroin right in front of you, then Radiolab's Servant Girl Murders Walking Tour is the tour for you. The audio guided tour will lead you on a mile loop around downtown Austin pointing out buildings famous during the Servant Girl Murders of the 1880s. Simultaneously, the tour guides you through some of downtown Austin’s most drug-infested back alleys and underpasses.
It is not hard to imagine the smell of the horse-pissed streets of 19th century Austin as you walk under bridges dripping with urine. Nor is it hard to imagine the trepidation women must have felt at night as you question, even though it is daytime, should you really go down that alley filled with what appears to be cracked out battalion of men behind the Driskill?
If your tour is anything like ours, you will excuse yourself past men exchanging money for drugs, shimmy around passed out homeless men who recently defecated themselves, watch a woman stick a needle into her arm and step over empty bottles, needles, puke and used condoms.
The tour is equal parts fear of one’s safety, informative tidbits of life in Austin’s early days and dwindling belief in humanity.