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Wealthy White Louisiana Residents Split From Black Neighborhoods to Form New City

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A picture of a place in Baton Rouge
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Wealthy White Louisiana Residents Split From Black Neighborhoods to Form New City

Source: Pinterest

After a long and intense legal battle lasting ten years, wealthy residents in Baton Rouge, predominantly white, have emerged victorious in their quest to establish a separate city called St. George.

The main goal of the residents in Baton Rouge who wanted to form St. George was to separate from the poorer, mostly black neighborhoods. They believed that by doing so, they could provide better schools and reduce crime rates.

The Supreme Court in Louisiana Approved a New City, St. George

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The Louisiana Supreme Court has made a decision, and it is official. St. George, covering a 60-square-mile area with around 86,000 residents, can now officially separate from Baton Rouge.

With the establishment of St. George as a separate city, they will have their own mayor and city council. It is like a fresh start for their community, providing them with more local control and decision-making power.

The Reason Behind the Establishment of St. George

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Supporters of St. George firmly believe that this move was necessary because they felt that Baton Rouge had high crime rates and schools that were not up to par. They saw the formation of St. George as a way to address these concerns and create a safer and better educational environment for their community.

Those who support the formation of St. George believe that establishing a new city governance can make a real difference. They think that by having more control over local administration and decision-making, they can work towards improving educational outcomes and overall community well-being.

Can This Be Classified As Being Racially Motivated?

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Critics have voiced concerns that the split could be racially motivated. They worry that it may lead to the creation of a “white enclave” and further deepen racial divisions within the area.

Critics claim the split between St. George and Baton Rouge could exacerbate existing inequalities by separating a wealthier area from a majority-black city and school district. They are concerned that this division may further widen the gap in resources and opportunities, leading to more disparities.

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The Origin of St. George

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It all began almost 15 years ago with a desire for a local school district. This wish for a more localized educational system eventually led to the discussions and efforts that resulted in the formation of St. George.

As the ambitions of the residents grew, they took a big step forward by drafting a city proposal in 2015. This set the stage for the prolonged battle that followed as different perspectives clashed over the formation of St. George.

Despite Opposition, St. George Incorporation Saw 54% of Residents Support

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After facing some initial challenges, the second vote in 2019 had an impressive 54% of residents supporting the incorporation of St. George. This shows that a significant portion of the community was in favor of this change.

This pivotal moment breathed new life into the stagnant movement and sparked intense legal debates once again. The momentum of the St. George incorporation gained a fresh burst of energy and reignited the passion and discussions surrounding the topic.

The Fight Against Formation of St. George

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After the vote, Baton Rouge’s Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and Mayor Pro Tem Lamont Cole decided to take legal action against the organizers of St. George. Since they weren’t in favor of the incorporation, they challenged it through lawsuits.

Broome and Lamont Cole were concerned that the split would result in a loss of $48 million in tax revenue each year. They worried that this could hurt local services and the workforce.

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The Lower Courts Initially Ruled in Favor of Baton Rouge

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The lower courts initially sided with Baton Rouge and agreed with the arguments they presented. They found merit in the concerns raised by Broome and Lamont Cole.

The proposal to incorporate St. George was ultimately rejected because of the financial concerns and potential negative impacts it could have on the remaining areas of Baton Rouge. The decision was made to safeguard the overall well-being and stability of the entire region.

Lower Court Ruling Was Overturned by the State Supreme Court

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The state’s Supreme Court stepped in and eventually overturned the lower court decisions. The court had a different perspective or interpretation of the situation.

The court affirmed that St. George’s internal budget was balanced and had enough funds to provide the necessary public services. This ruling allowed the incorporation to proceed. It is reassuring to know that the court recognized the financial stability of St. George and its ability to meet the needs of its residents.

Reaction From Residents Over Division

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The division has stirred up strong emotions among locals. For example, Sarah Stelly and others see it as a new form of bigotry. This suggests that there are differing opinions and perspectives on the matter.

There are others, like Paul Brady, who are feeling a sense of loss in terms of their Baton Rouge identity. They feel like they have been placed in what they perceive as a “white enclave.” This in turn highlights the complex emotions and concerns that arise during the divisions.

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Leaders From Baton Rouge and St. George Reacts

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M.E. Cormier, who is a leader of the anti-St. George’s campaign, foresees logistical challenges in untangling the cities. They believe that the process of separating the municipalities could lead to complicated situations.

On the other hand, St. George leaders like Andrew Murrell are celebrating what they view as a victory for citizen rights and are optimistic about the future. They see the division as a positive change that will bring about a better and brighter future for the residents.

Formation of a New Government in St. George

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According to the city’s website, before the new government can begin its work, Governor Jeff Landry needs to appoint the first mayor and city council members for the city. This step is crucial in establishing the leadership and governance structure for the newly formed municipality.

After that, residents will have the opportunity to vote for their new leaders in the upcoming election cycle. This democratic process allows the residents to actively participate in shaping the leadership of their community.

Possible Economical Impacts on Both Municipalities

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According to The Daily Mail, a study conducted by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber in 2014 revealed that Baton Rouge could face significant financial consequences. The study predicted a budget shortfall of $53 million as a result of the division. This highlights one of the concerns raised about the potential impact on the city’s finances.

Even though there are concerns about the financial impact, advocates for St. George remain hopeful and positive about their economic and social future. They believe that the division will bring about opportunities and benefits for their community.

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