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Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge we hear you.

There is no happy conclusion to be drawn from the string of tragedies that originated in Baton Rouge this summer. The news reverberated throughout the nation. We can all hope for a better day, and that will happen, but for those closest to the victims the moment of disaster is an immovable force. Despite the cliché of the times, there can never really be any closure.

In the past year, the settled sides of the Atchafalaya swamp have seen disasters; one triggered by a deranged gunman at a movie theater in Lafayette and the other the wrath of a police killer in Baton Rouge — the latter incident being the fallout from yet another tragedy.

Nearby the rocket-like state capitol is poised for takeoff while on its front lawn stands a statue of a former governor who was also a victim of a man with a gun. Huey Long made many enemies during his career; but as the murders of the summer of ’16 remind us, circumstances can make a target out of the peaceful as well.

A new governor, battle hardened from once having been an Airborne Ranger and from having survived three sessions with the legislature, rushed to the disaster scenes. Here was a classic example of a chief executive performing his most demanding role — being the voice of reason when none of it seemed to exist.

 What’s left is to move on, to figure how to stop the fury in deranged minds, so folks can experience the theater of life without having to duck for cover. Then in August, nature got involved adding to the flood of bad news with floods of its own.

If Baton Rouge is associated with a sound it is that of a 325-member band playing the opening four note of “Hold That Tiger” followed by a symphony of bravado. If there is a smell it is that of sausages on the grill chased by a beer. Kris Kristofferson’s Bobby McGee was left “busted flat” in Baton Rouge. There are worse places for that to happen because the capitol city still has a humor and a heart and knows how to be raucous, in a fun way, on an autumn Saturday night.

Baton Rouge is a good place to be, though sometimes being anywhere at all requires confidence in the power of the future.
 

-Errol Laborde

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