JR Ball: What will it take to get the cool kids to eat at Baton Rouge’s table? 

Business Report

For the better part of two decades the siren song of Baton Rouge has been our desire for young, educated professionals to make this place their live-work-play destination of choice, writes Business Report Associate Publisher JR Ball in his new opinion piece. 

The most influential among us have traveled to cities around the country in search of the secret sauce that lures the cool kids to our lunch table.

On these canvas trips with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, the quest to land the star quarterbacks and head cheerleaders of the knowledge-based world has taken Baton Rouge leaders to such places as Raleigh-Durham, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, Tampa/Orlando and Phoenix/Tucson.

We’ve recited the Memphis Manifesto. Declared ourselves the “next great American city.” Gone chumming with parties and TEDx talks. We’ve done all that—and more—and yet Baton Rouge and the Capital Region remains “creative class” deficient, Ball writes. 

These wunderkinds who create wealth by breaking paradigms remain our great white whale. They and their cohort are swimming in the blue ocean while we’re trolling blissfully clueless in the red.

Adding insult to injury, the best and brightest of our most desired generation have this nasty habit of getting the hell out of Red Stick once TOPS is done funding their college education.  

Let’s face it, nothing seems to be working. So why not spill the tea and see if that attracts any CVs? 

Read Ball’s full column, which includes a snarky “Young, Educated Professionals Wanted” advertisement, providing all the dish on Baton Rouge, and Ball’s commentary as to why the city has yet to land its white whale. Send comments to editor@businessreport.com.

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