Secession? It’s Actually Happening In Louisiana

logo3Every time you turn around, you see a political movement somewhere talking about seceding from the Union because they’re upset that they can’t have their way when it comes to guns, teaching religion in school or whatever the hard right outrage du jour is. Yet, most of these are little more than a crackpot idea which fizzles out and is forgotten about once the next shiny controversy rolls around. Even the constant talk from some Texans amounts to nothing more than a fantasy of independence which gets talked about at bars and some local political meetings, and that’s about it – and of course we remember how the last serious attempt at seceding worked out.

However, there’s another kind of secession going on – and it could very well happen. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana there is a movement ongoing to break away and form a new city with its own school district and government. Why? The portion of Baton Rouge that would be left would be primarily black poor and the new city of St. George would be primarily white rich people. Oh yeah, and they would also be taking the majority of the tax base with them, leaving what remains of Baton Rouge even more impoverished than it was before.

If supporters succeed in their quest to create the city of St. George, they will carve off a quarter of the residents in areas covered by the city-parish government but take 40 percent of the sales tax revenue, according to a study by LSU economists released Sunday.

The 28-page study, paid for by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, takes no formal position on the effort to incorporate St. George but still paints a grim picture of the ultimate effect the proposed new city would have on city-parish finances. (Source)

Wait, there’s more. Certainly someone would have a financial interest in making this happen. Who stands to make money off planning a new city, new government buildings and the infrastructure that goes along with it? Whoever they might be, certainly they’d be discrete enough to not make it too obvious, right? Wrong. According to, the person leading the movement to break away from Baton Rouge and create a new city would also be in a position to make millions of dollars if this came about – a guy by the name of John Hoffpauir who just by sheer coincidence happens to own a company specializing in state contracts.

Mr. Hoffpauir is an architect and the owner of Hoffpauir Studio. Although he claims that the St. George campaign is his first real foray into politics, both the State’s database on contracts (in which his name appears more than a dozen times) and Mr. Hoffpauir’s own website reveal that his firm specializes in government projects, including, most notably, community master planning.

So let’s get this straight – you create a campaign to break off and create a new city which you would be in the perfect position to get all the contracts for, right after you endorse the first mayor of St. George, Louisiana? That’s dirty, utterly corrupt politics, something Louisiana is famous for. Lamar White breaks it down further for us as follows.

The problem is two-fold: First, it is difficult to take seriously a claim that the government has neglected you and your community when you, personally have made a fortune from the government, and second, it is impossible to discount the massive architectural and planning projects that would be created if and when St. George incorporates. This isn’t merely about building a couple of new fire stations; it’s about planning and designing an entirely new city. If you’re leading a campaign to create a new city and you’re an architect and an urban planner, this is your dream job.

St. George proponents claim this is primarily about building a new school system. As luck would have it, Mr. Hoffpauir specializes in civic, government, and educational architecture.

And there you have it. Complain that the government isn’t working, break away to form a new city that you (out of sheer coincidence, of course) would benefit enormously from, and take the tax revenues with you while leaving the old city with its poor to rot. Just the good old “compassionate conservatism” we’ve come to expect – are you really that surprised?


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  • Stephen Barlow

    This is just WHY we need a strong FEDERAL TAX SYSTEM. Yes it’s redistribution of wealth, but so is banking with Mitt Romney in the Cayman Islands. So is the entire Ryan Budget (which is the Heritage/ALEC action plan Republicans have been pushing since they sold you “Trickle Down Reganomics”). So is the oil war against Iraq.

    WITHOUT Republican corruption of the American ideal (equality, freedom, opportunity for all), schools would NOT be as vastly different from one neighboring district to the next. All states would have minimum standards for mass consumption products and services (Do you really think McDonald’s would be selling the same quality of burgers in Atlanta, Biloxi and Dallas as people would get in NYC, LA or Chitown?) so the PPACA would not have been as necessary. Fracking would be restricted universally AND the oil companies and mining companies would NEVER have had the chance to poison so much of our land and water.

    How much LESS corruption is there in DOD contracting now that military spending is privatized? (Generals not going to jail for letting Boeing bribe them into choosing an inferior tanker for the whole Air Force, not one Boeing official even fired comes to mind) Never would the VP of the US EVER have funneled $100’s of millions into his own company through no bid contracts in secret. (national Security you know)

    When the military cost 1/5th of what it does today, was 20% of military spending on bound to fail, destined to never fly or go boom projects like the F-35? Before banking deregulation, transportation deregulation, and the universal scuttling of oversight, does anyone remember having the possibility of an ENRON (with Presidential protection), of a Rick Scott level of industrialized fraud in Medicare, a HealthSouth scam, or how many dozen knowingly flawed drugs taken off the market because they are LETHAL? (and subject to class action suits where the lawyers and not the victims get compensated)

    Would it be so terrible a thing for businesses to operate profitably if there were twice as many Government employees making sure they did it honestly and safely. I think they would hate not being able to cheat the public so easily if THREE times as many Americans had secure, quality, well paying jobs in Government. I mean that would mean (OMFG!!!) 4.5% of the workforce (and 94% of those in the BLOATED DOD, Vet’s Affairs and DHS)!!!!!

    This would mean less than 500,000 Americans in jobs making sure than 135 million workers and their families, the 100 million retirees and disabled and the 65 million students in American get clean water and air, National Parks, paved roads, heated schools, safe borders, Emergency Disaster Relief, and all the other things the DOD can’t handle. But WAIT A MINUTE!!!

    if 94% of the bloated Too Big It Fails Government is already DOD, DHS or VA (2,016,000) and we triple the essential service of the other 6% of the USGov… That means tripling the meager 126,000 peace time government workforce by only 250,000 jobs. At a cost of a 0.01% tax increase.

    YES! All those Federal job cuts in the last 3 years, all that “slimming down” austerity the REDS raged about… saved only $5 billion dollars. Which is the cost of all the Republican congressional salaries and expenses.

    If St. George becomes an ALEC model for the new segregation of the tax base, Civil War WILL come, but this time, the ghettos won’t be what’s burning.

  • John Masters

    You know, slightly off-topic (but you opened the door for it), Puerto Rico has always wanted to be a State. I think we should let Texas secede, and make Puerto Rico a State, then we don’t even have to change the flag.

    • djtejas

      Nope, I’m a fifth generation Texan and I don’t want our state to secede. The people that want that are idiots and need to go away and start their own country outside of the USA.

  • Michael Siever

    I guess it’s only fitting that the new city be named St. George after the patron saint of screwing over poor people, George W. Bush…

  • Edward Krebbs

    So they couldn’t take it all with them by “white flight” to the suburbs. They now have to draw a circle around the proverbial “wrong side of the tracks” so they can keep any wealth that is on the right side of the tracks.

  • Edward Krebbs

    Separating a city and drawing a circle around the poor side of town. Other than the fact that they aren’t erecting a wall, doesn’t this sound a little like the ghettos drawn in Europe in the 1800s to early 1900s ?

  • MLR

    Nothing that conservatives do surprise me anymore. What still surprises me is the lack of outrage from the American people regarding all the shit that conservatives do and/or try to get away with.

  • E. Freed

    Good lord. If you all knew and actual read the facts you would see (or maybe not) that this is NOT a separation or secession. That part of town is UNINCORPORATED and wants to start a city via the WILL of the residents who live there. This is how most cities are started and at a population of over 100,000 (twice the requirement to apply for statehood) you want to deny their will. Of course you do, how else can you employ the heavy hand of control over INDIVIDUAL lives and FREEDOMS? If Baton Rouge had anything OFFER them rather than what it can do TO them, they would petition to be part of Baton Rouge. They wanted there own school system and the State said no because they weren’t a city, so they are trying to be a city where they can send their kids to schools that actually produce. May be it is the case where you all think the number if cities in America is finite, and that number should be just one; easier to CONTROL and OPPRESS the populous that way, right?

    • Matthew Walton

      Funny how none of the liberals reply when you post facts