A Container of Detergent
October
31, 2008
By Roger Emile Stouff

While Iím on my soapboxÖ

Okay. Sure. Thereís 25 miles between Franklin and Morgan City and a whole different area code. I get that. Itís kind of a "different world" over there, and they admittedly feel the same about us. Thatís fine and dandy.

But it seems to me like, all other complaints asideÖsomebody could have picked up the phone and called the chamber, the mayorís office, the newspaperÖand asked, "Hey, yíall got anything going on the first of November Ďcause weíre looking for a date to reschedule our Shrimp and Petroleum Festival."

Too much to ask? I think not.

Harvest Moon Fest is the same time every single year.

Why canít we connect in this parish? Why is everything always so disjointed, unorganized and askew?

A phone call. Thatís all it would have taken.

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Whichever festival you go to, I hope you enjoy it. While Iím rootiní for Harvest Moon, of course the Shrimp and Petroleum gets my complete support as well, itís a great festival. Iíll suggest attending both! S&P goes on three days, Harvest Moon only one, so letís show some organization at least in our activities, shall we?

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Rather than sitting here and typing off the top of my head, it may surprise you to know that I actually do have sources sometimes.

In talking to people who have developed thriving communities, especially in terms of tourism, a common theme emerges:

You have to build it.

Unless you live alongside some remarkable natural wonder or something that people will come to see in droves anyway, you have to develop a tourism industry. This isnít to detract from the fine job our tourism board and officials are doing, but you have to give them something to work with.

Theyíve done a better job with that on the east end of the parish, and we can all guess "how" and "why." We on the other hand have done little, and have so much more in place to offer already we donít need to build multi-million dollar golf courses or fill in a lakeshore.

Yet we sit on our hands and do nothing.

Worse, we make things even harder.

Somebody said the other day probably the most damning but fitting thing Iíve heard about our area:

"Iíve never seen a community that could mess up so many good things as this one can."

And thatís the way it is, as Cronkite said.

Where, by the way, are all you people who phoned, emailed and lunched with me saying, "Youíre right! We have to do something! Iím on board! Iím in!"

Whereíd you go? I havenít heard a peep out of most of you. The farmerís market people are still on board, and my group is diligently heading for a spring community conference after the hurricanes ruined our plans for September. Weíre shooting for spring now and rather than being dismayed, weíre looking at the delay being an opportunity to make it better.

Where are the rest of you? Given up already?

If so, you have no right to complain. Itís like voting. If you donít vote donít gripe.

Community after community not so unlike this one has picked itself up by the bootstraps and made it. Made it good. Communities that ainít got half of what we got to offer.

Oh, except that one thing they have. The thing we donít:

Commitment. Persistence. Dedication.

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So howís the best way to get started?

Believe it or not, at the risk of being redundant, get out and go to the festival of your choice this weekend (preferably ours!) and have a good time.

Donít gripe. Donít complain. Support. Nothingís going to grow if you donít support it through the growing pangs and the rough times.

Some people have worked very hard to put this thing together, and no, theyíre not perfect, thereís some things about it that Iím grinding my teeth and biting my tongue over.

But Iíll be out there to show my support. Because thatís how we start. Thatís how we begin to develop success.