A largely white Louisiana enclave gets the go-ahead to secede and form its own city

Conservatives are trying to make secession a thing again.

Last week in Louisiana, the state’s Supreme Court paved the way for a largely white enclave within Baton Rouge to break off and form its own city, which will be named St. George.

The push to cleave off this part of Baton Rouge from its less affluent and more diverse surrounding areas has been years in the making. It started in 2012 when a group led by white conservatives claimed that they needed a separate school district, based on claims that crime and poor school quality meant their tax dollars weren’t being used properly. When that effort failed, the right-wing activists tried to form a new city instead. After a long legal battle, the Louisiana Supreme Court finally approved the plan.

The court ruling was denounced by critics in Baton Rouge, who have long warned that the new city could deprive nearby communities of revenue needed to run local services. Opponents are asking the state Supreme Court for another hearing on the matter.

St. George proponents previously have floated ideas such as eliminating Baton Rouge’s public transit system to provide money for subsidizing Uber and Lyft drivers.

St. George proponents previously have floated ideas such as eliminating Baton Rouge’s public transit system to provide money for subsidizing Uber and Lyft drivers. In other words, this new city appears to fit squarely within conservatives’ agenda of privatization and public divestment.

And secession plans like these seem to have increased in recent decades.

A conservative-led plan to cleave the largely white neighborhood of Buckhead from Atlanta was quashed last year. And a study found that several successful efforts by largely white areas to form their own independent school districts had worsened school segregation in Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana.

It’s hard to see these plans as anything but efforts to divest money and other resources from communities that embody the project of multiracial democracy. And to, instead, establish white-dominated fiefdoms with equal (or likely more) power.