The River Parishes do not exist in a vacuum

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2011

This week most of the area has been choked by smoke emanating from a marsh fire in eastern New Orleans. Although the fire is about 40 miles away from the River Parishes area, the gray cloud brought with it unpleasant odors and even some health concerns.

And the worst part may have been that there was little anyone in the area could do about it except barricade themselves inside.

Just as that smoke cloud spread from parts further east to cover the whole region, so, too, do the politics and events in New Orleans and Baton Rouge cast an inescapable shadow over the River Parishes.

Especially in this age of global interconnectivity, no place is truly an island. As unique as the culture and traditions of the River Parishes are, they are inextricably tied to the culture and traditions of Louisiana as a whole.

Good fortune for New Orleans is good fortune for the River Parishes as area tourism and economics are closely tied to that of the city. And bad fortune for New Orleans is — as the swamp fire tangibly demonstrated — also bad fortune for the River Parishes.

From crime to politics to business, the problems — and successes — of the River Parishes reflect those of New Orleans. The film industry is a fine example. It was only after New Orleans was dubbed “Hollywood South” that the River Parishes began to see an influx of film projects.

This is no longer an age in which one can sit back with folded arms and say, “That’s their problem.” Only when people from different areas of the state begin to work together for the greater good will the state be able to soar above the smoke of marsh fires, lack of education and corruption.