The best thing about Louisiana is the 4.6 million people who stage hundreds of popular festivals each year, cook the best food in the world and host the amazing Mardi Gras celebration, otherwise known as the “greatest free show on earth.”
The people of Louisiana are very hospitable to the many visitors who have made our state one of the top tourist destinations in the country It is little wonder that 51.3 million tourists visited the state in 2018.
Every year, tourists come to Louisiana to see the talented people, who create wonderful art and music, on display at events such as the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. People also come to Louisiana to enjoy our restaurants, the Cajun culture, the New Orleans night life, the river boats, the antebellum plantations and many other attractions.
Our remarkable state deserves leadership that is comparable to our people. Unfortunately, we have been saddled with either incompetent or corrupt leadership that has created horrific conditions in Louisiana.
While people should be moving into Louisiana in record numbers, sadly, our state was one of only eight states in the nation to lose population last year. With so much in our favor, it is amazing that we have so many horrific problems. It is truly a tale of two states.
The latest report by SeniorLiving.org places Louisiana 47th among states on possibly the most important ranking. The standard life expectancy in Louisiana is 75.6 years, three years below the national average. The researchers pointed to cancer and heart disease as the cause for 90% of the deaths in the state.
There are many reasons for this low ranking from environmental to inadequate healthcare. It is just the latest in a non-stop bombardment of rankings that show Louisiana at the top of the bad lists and the bottom of the good lists.
The personal finance website Wallethub regularly provides state rankings on a range of issues. In recent months, Louisiana ranked as the worst state in the nation for women based on economic, health, safety, and social well-being factors. It is most likely the worst state in nation for men as well.
We have the highest sales tax rates in the nation, the second highest incarceration rate, and rank as one of the most violent states in the nation. Our schools, infrastructure, and government services rank at the bottom as well.
On the issue of economic performance, Wallethub listed Louisiana as 50th among the states. To make matters worse, we were also ranked at the most environmentally unfriendly state in the nation.
Finally, the most depressing statistic is that Wallethub discovered Louisiana to be the most stressed state in the nation. Despite all we have to offer the world and the image of our state as a carefree place to enjoy good food and good music, the reality is quite different. The people of Louisiana are worried about the bad economy, the high crime rate, the poor environment, the inadequate healthcare and the crumbling infrastructure.
It is high time for a change in direction. Fortunately, we have statewide elections coming in just a few months. Voters will elect legislators in all 144 districts and all statewide positions, such as Governor.
The architects of this disaster must be sent packing and candidates with new ideas, vision, energy and an unwavering commitment to turnaround this state should be rewarded with support.
This upcoming election is a perfect opportunity for the people of Louisiana to say, “enough is enough.”
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]