Saturday, August 04, 2007
Alan English and Joel Anderson put the skull on the supper plate: statistics on Shreveport say it is a dying city
Last week editor Alan English and writer Joel Anderson put the death head back on the dinner plate with a story entitled "Shreveport struggles to keep pace with the rest of the South, Sun Belt."
Anderson wrote, "Shreveport is hovering just above the critical 200,000 population threshold. Falling below that pivotal mark could mean the loss of millions in federal dollars annually, city leaders and other officials say.
Worse, the reported steady population decline in Shreveport and — on a larger scale, Louisiana — could portend a place with an older, poorer, less-educated populace, even as other metropolitan areas in the South soak up much of the nation's youth and talent and brainpower."
What does the demographer see? "We do not have what attracts young people," Stonecipher said. "We all know that young people leave here because they can't get good jobs. And they take the birth rate with them."
Stonecipher believes, "Louisiana's struggles are a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow laws, a poor public education system and an onerous tax structure. That combination has created a state that is among the nation's worst at keeping and luring the highly coveted class of young professionals."
The article generated a flood of Comments at shreveporttimes.com.
The story also might have prompted Shreveport mayor Cedric Glover to move ahead with some very important political leadership.
Anderson: "With those concerns in mind, Mayor Cedric Glover said his administration is close to unveiling the "210 in 2010" campaign. The goal is to increase Shreveport's population to 210,000 by the 2010 Census, an admittedly lofty goal for a city that hasn't grown much — if at all — in the past few years."
There is no magic formula for reversing the slide. And Glover told the Times "This isn't something that exists in a vacuum in Shreveport. These are issues affecting Louisiana as a whole."
My thoughts on how to rebuild Shreveport focus on building tourism and involving the public in enhancing the work of Southern University and LSUS. More on those issues over the next couple of days.
What parts of the puzzle can you help solve?