Patrick, a former New Orleans resident, has been struggling to put his life back together since Hurricane Katrina tore it apart. A year ago he inherited a small sum of money, so he bought a bike and a new guitar and headed west. He arrived in San Francisco in October, his inheritance almost depleted, intending to stay a few days.
“I had just enough money to catch a train back to New Orleans or buy a monkey suit. I chose the latter,” he said.
During the day he wears the $149 suit to perform; at night he wears it inside out to defend against the cold sidewalk he uses as a bed. He avoids shelters and food lines for fear that his amplifier and guitar make him a target for theft “or worse.” He tries to keep his real identity separate from his monkey persona.
“I don’t want people to pity me,” said Patrick, who intends to stay in San Francisco until he’s no longer welcome. “It turned out that I fell in love with this city.”