Latest Secession Attempt: Baton Rouge's Richer Side

St. George wants to split off from Louisiana capital

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 2, 2013 2:13 AM CST

(Newser) – A drive to create a new school district has snowballed into a push to split Louisiana's capital in two, with the largely wealthy and white southern part of Baton Rouge moving to secede and become the city of St. George, the Raw Story finds. The new city would have around a quarter of Baton Rouge's residents, but would rake in some 40% of its sales tax revenue with the help of two major retail centers. That would leave the northern part of the city, its population swollen by 200,000 former New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina, struggling to fund its services, according to a study examining the potential secession.

Leaders of the St. George secession effort say they now have around half the signatures needed to put it to a vote, reports the Advocate. They say the new city will be "wide open" and downplay warnings of fiscal disaster for the rest of the city, but opponents describe secession as unfair, noting that city funds were used to develop retail areas that would end up sucking in sales taxes from residents of the poorer part of the city. "If they pull away from Baton Rouge, it will affect everyone," says a councilwoman. "We’ve spent millions of dollars on improvements out there and making traffic better, and now they want to be their own city?" (Click for the latest on Colorado's secession efforts.)

The Baton Rouge skyline.
The Baton Rouge skyline.   (southeastBR/Wikipedia)
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The idea of creating a city like this—I can’t find another place in the United States where it would cause so much turmoil. - City planner John Fregonese

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