St. George debate fought out over national headlines

St. George debate fought out over national headlines
Photo provided by staff
Louisiana Politics
Friday, December 6, 2013 - 9:27am

The debate over St. George incorporation is now being fought out on the pages of national publications like the Huffington Post. It’s being called a ‘fight over succession’ and termed as ‘White Flight’, something incorporation supporters deny.

"This is not a white affluent movement or a black movement. This has nothing to do with race. This is about the middle class, the middle class is fleeing and has been fleeing the city of baton rouge and east baton rouge parish. What we're trying to do is stop that flight," said Lionel Rainey of the incorporation movement.

The headlines color the fight as a battle of affluent whites breaking away from poorer black communities. Something those opposed to incorporation have said is not too far off the mark.

"Is that on the surface what it appears to be? I think each individual can look at the situation and make up their own mind about it," said Vickie Farrar. Farrar stands opposed to St. George.

Locally incorporation supporters are circulating a video that attempts to fight headlines claiming St. George is full of the rich. A video those against St. George said is just offensive to those neighborhoods in the montage.

"Very embarrassing and unsettling that it's going out nationwide," said Farrar

"It's also embarrassing that they're using the class division to support their city," added Leslie Defley, who also stands in opposition to the incorporation.

"That's not the way we're going to come about this, literally race has nothing to do with this. we didn't put the video out. I don't condone the video," said Rainey.

Lionel Rainey, with the incorporation movement said while the national media is playing the issue out all wrong, it is still quite a conversation starter.

" We don't have the money to run a big ad campaign, so the more media and the more attention that is focused on our effort to incorporate the city of St. George, we welcome it," said Rainey.

The national headlines began to pop up after the report released by LSU economists.

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