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Editorial: WHAT WE SAY

L’Observateur / March 21, 1998

RIVER PARISHES HAVE QUITE A LOT OF GOOD POINTS OTHERS ENVY

There’s a lot of good things going on in the River Parishes, many of which don’t get enough attention. We at L’Observateur try to highlight as many aswe can find in the belief the world isn’t run so much by the bad things which happen, but the good things.

The River Region Caucus is the envy of lawmakers across Louisiana. Here,government officials from three parishes and two municipalities have organized to discuss topics of mutual concern. Together, they can bringtheir experience, collective wisdom and expertise toward solving problems of the region, taken as a whole. It has no budget, meets only oncea month and is hugely successful so far since it organized last June.

The Police Jury Association, at its last convention in Shreveport, tried to discuss creation of a “Rural Parishes Caucus” to include all the rural parishes across the state. However, what may work in north Louisianamay not fly in south Louisiana, or east and west. Keeping such groupssmall and manageable makes for a better chance of accomplishments.

In St. James Parish, recycling has been a big hit, with participation highand tonnage collected some of the most in the state. It’s a program whichhas had many problems catching on successfully in most other parishes, but not in St. James.In St. Charles Parish, jobs are plentiful, new residential development ismushrooming and the school system is strong and well-organized.

Students there are creative, accomplished and, best of all, well-educated.

In St. John the Baptist Parish, an anti-drug puppet show is a huge hit inlocal schools, co-sponsored by the sheriff’s office. It captures youngchildren’s attention, painlessly teaches a valuable lesson and entertains as well.

The St. John Trade Show, coming March 28-29, is one of the best inLouisiana, and the inmate work program is chalking up many accomplishments.

The All-River Parishes girls basketball team, selected by local coaches and the L’Observateur, highlights students not only athletically talented but academically accomplished.

There will always be people pointing out everything which is wrong or inadequate in our community, and those things should be pointed out and worked on. However, there are many, many things of which we can be quiteproud.

We are rightly proud of our children, for example, and by talking to them about what is right and exemplary about our community will help instill a sense of pride. Then, maybe, they will be less likely to hurt the communityas they grow up. They will have more affection for the people here andwant to stay and work and live here for years to come.

In the River Parishes, community pride is high and rightly so. It is foundedupon families, many of which trace their ancestry back to colonial times and are still active in the community. New arrivals make theircontributions in countless ways. Together, we are a melting-potexemplary of America at its finest.

So when you hear your children talk about their “boring” home towns, remind them there are many points of pride.

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