Baton Rouge is a great city. We’ve got diverse people, art, music, a growing culinary scene, and enough events to keep our social calendars full. But there is always room for improvement. After a particularly trying twelve months, here are a few things that will hopefully disappear in the new year.
We all know it. We all hate it. No matter the time or day, Baton Rouge always has traffic. And when the interstate becomes a parking lot, we all take to the surface streets. We zoom through neighborhoods and take our special shortcuts, that after all is said and done, save us zero time and cause twice as much frustration. So, next time you’re stuck in streets more congested than Fat Amy’s arteries after a bacon-eating contest, just turn up the tunes and sit it out.
- BORING FOOD
We live in southern Louisiana. Food is part of our culture, our heritage. So why do we—as a city—favor eating at humdrum chain restaurants? The Red Stick used to lack fresh, inspiring restaurant start ups. But no more. The end of this year has brought so many new faces to the food scene and I can’t wait to try them all. Skip the long waits at Olive Garden, where you’ll be served the same exact food as someone halfway across the country. Try something delicious and locally owned. And ladies, can I get a “hallelujah” for these smokin’ hot BR chefs? I’m looking at you, Jesse Romero.
Baton Rouge, we’ve got to do better. Recently, the Human Rights Campaign developed a rating system called the Municipal Equality Index (MEI) to measure how gay-friendly a city is. While our neighbor, New Orleans, scored very high, our city came in with an embarrassing score. This only measures the local city government’s policies towards the LGBTQ community. Let’s hold these representatives accountable and let them know we want a kinder, fairer city. Let’s face it, legalizing same-sex marriages already improved the economy with gay wedding registries, now let’s improve and protect the lives of our local LGBTQs.
- SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGES
We’ve done the “Harlem Shake,” ice buckets, cinnamon, boiling water, Kylie Jenner, fire, the don’t judge me, water bottle, and mannequin challenge. Please, just stop. Some of these can lead to serious injury or death and I implore you to stop. Or perhaps we should just follow that sage advice: “I’m not saying let’s go kill all the stupid people… I’m just saying let’s remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.”
- BAD PRESS
Whether it’s a police shooting, riots, a gunman on a rampage, or natural disasters, this city has been in the national spotlight often this year. Next year, let’s keep things peaceful and quiet. Let’s embody the reclusive cat lady, sitting at home in her pajamas, eating leftover takeout and watching reality television. They’ll know we’re still alive because we bring the mail in, but they won’t see us unless we run out of food or booze.