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Craig Smith writes about Paris’s homeless

In Friday, May 5th’s International Herald Tribune, Craig Smith writes about the Medecins du Monde (Doctors’ of the World) effort to alleviate the homeless in Paris by providing nylon tents.

He states that a 2001 survey put the number of homeless in Paris at 15,000 yet the number has certainly increased since 2001. I haven’t seen any of these tents (we just arrived) but I’m eager to see some in use. My one question about Craig Smith’s article is WHY he quoted a woman in the following way:

“They’re ugly,” said a short woman with a large red purse marching past two tents in the affluent Seventh Arrondissement.”

Why did he feel we needed to know that this woman was short and had a large red purse? Was he insinuating that he thought she was ugly, or that she was affluent or both? Are short women with large red purses generally affluent and critical? I am still a little baffled about the short woman with the large red purse. If I go for a walk, maybe I’ll be lucky to see the tents, but I don’t think I’ll ever get a chance to meet the short woman with the red purse. What a pity.