Friday, September 09, 2005

Baton Rouge Residents Secretly Pleased Over New Orleans' Demise

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BR to world: Give us a try. We have crime and substandard housing, too.

BATON ROUGE, LA. -- As thousands of Hurricane Katrina refugees leave New Orleans, and businesses there close up shop forever, residents of are admitting privately they are happy to finally get some attention.

"I wouldn't want anybody to know I feel this way, but I gotta say it's about time," said Derby Fontenot, editor of The Baton Rouge Business Times. "Companies always go to New Orleans despite the terrible school system. Well, now we can proudly say, "You can't go to New Orleans, even if you wanted to. Relocate your business here and put your kids in our crummy schools."

Some say BR is the victim of inadequate publicity. "New Orleans never had anything on us," said Capt. Ed Thibbideaux, an officer with the Baton Rouge police department. "People talk about crime in New Orleans, but did you know we have had three serial killers, and one is still at large? That's pretty impressive. New Orleans can't boast about crimes like that."

Others say BR's ammenities rival those of New Orleans. "Sure, we don't have the jazz festivals, the 300-year-old buildings, the Cafe du Monde, or the street performers," said Gwen Babineaux, the Community Outreach director for the Chamber of Commerce. "But our local government is inept at times, and we are supposed to get a trolley soon."

"If another big natural disaster comes along, we are hoping we can snag Memphis and Atlanta," Ernie Soileau, a member of the Baton Rouge City Council, said.

Striving to be a Higher Being