Three friends and I were on our way to a Bassnectar concert in Nashville, TN (driving from MN). We were on our way through St.Louis and as we were coming out of the east side when someone saw a sign for Popeyes chicken and it was decided that we would stop.
Now I knew already that Compton, CA is safer than East St. Louis so I was uneasy about stopping there...but so the driver turned off the interstate onto the exit ramp.
I instantly felt like I was in a 3rd world country. It was dusk and not a single white person was to be seen so we were glowing like a light bulb. We pulled up to the popeyes and ordered, then we made our way to the window where I saw a turn-style window accompanied by 1" thick bullet proof glass. I took most of my cash and stuffed it in my sock, anticipating that a passer by would surely rob us. We were told to wait for our order.
While we were waiting (probably 3 min, but felt like a half hr) a dude came out of the Popeyes and looked at us, he then looked around the parking lot, he looked at us again, then went back inside. We finally got our food and got back on the interstate.
This was one of the more nerve racking experiences of my life.... definitely the most I had ever felt like I didn't belong where I was. I tried to explain this to my friends but it didn't seem to register with any of them.
TLDR: I stopped in East St.Louis at a Popeyes and it was scary.