Regional Debates, Unlikely Partners

By Peirce, Neal R. | Nation's Cities Weekly, December 5, 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Regional Debates, Unlikely Partners

Peirce, Neal R., Nation's Cities Weekly

For generations, New Orleans and its neighboring parishes have been at each other's throats -- the city acting out its role as the racially and socially tolerant play-city of North America, the parishes trumpeting their political conservatism and periodically electing candidates who espouse white supremacy.

But when Marc Morial, a black who's in his first term as the mayor of New Orleans, made a recent political and financial swing through Washington and New York City, he had a couple of interesting traveling partners.

One was Michael J. Yenni, the president of Jefferson Parish. For decades, Jefferson was a bastion of whites in flight from increasingly black New Orleans. The parish used to be so intent on holding down its taxes, while still taking advantage of the big city's parks and other facilities, in fact, that a mayor of New Orleans privately maligned it as 'America's most parasitic suburb."

But Yenni, this autumn, seemed downright pleased to be seen with Morial. The two traveled with James Monroe, the president of MetroVision, a business-led effort to boost economic development and other activity across the entire New Orleans "citistate."

Why would Yenni choose to so closely identify himself with the mayor of New Orleans?

"As parochial as some of my constituents can seem to be, as great as they think Jefferson Parish may be," Yenni said in an interview, "we will never reach our potential unless the whole region rises together."

And while he pointed out that "a large part of my constituency is always paranoid that crime will spread across the parish line," Yenni said that he welcomes the progress that Morial can report of a dropping crime' rate in New Orleans, especially as a result of the city's 9:00 p.m.- 6:00 a.m. curfew on all youth.

Morial and Yenni said they were delighted by the efforts of MetroVision to promote tourism in and around New Orleans, to deal the region into the significant business opportunities with Mexico that have accompanied the North American Free Trade Agreement and to father the first council of governments for the nine-parish area. And while MetroVision has spent millions on slick advertising and typical "smokestack-chasing" hunts for big industrial hits, it has also pushed the development of business and industrial development corporations (BIDCOs), which are designed to benefit small, medium-sized and minority-owned businesses.

New Orlean's unlikely partnerships may say a lot about America's citistates these days. No one believes that the region's historic parochialism, its deep social and economic inequities, will subside anytime soon.

But at least a genuine dialogue about a more cohesive future for the region is dawning, driven by the overwhelming and shared necessity of economic survival. Morial and Yenni also agreed that the spread to the suburbs of tough urban problems--crime, overcrowded schools, poor public transit and solid waste disposal, to name just a few--is creating a natural community of interest.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Regional Debates, Unlikely Partners


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?