Where have all the homeys gone?

Sometimes what we see from our porch perch doesn’t pack as much information as what we don’t see.

As we all know, it’s reapportionment time for the elected folks and the news isn’t always good. But for the parish police jury, the news that some district lines may be a’changing doesn’t seem to bode well for we Websterites. 

We hear that while getting the skinny on how the lines might be moved, our jury members learned that parish population numbers have shrunk from a few over 41,200 in 2010 to just a tad under 37,000 in 2020.  While your eye doctor may say 20/20 is good for the vision, it appears that 2020 ain’t so good for the home folks.

Speaking of the jury reapportionment plan, you’d think it might have been a good idea if somebody up there had let the sun shine in on both those resident numbers and the proposed new district lines. Somebody might have wanted to comment on the new redraws, but it’s hard to comment on something about which nobody has commented. Makes a body wonder if Gerry Mander is working on the new lines. Silence ain’t always golden.

Now where we come from, that population drop is a pretty good lick when a body considers the percentage of loss. When about 10 percent of the people pick up and move, that’s got to be a wake-up call for somebody. Rocker wonders if anybody in leadership is gonna be answering that call. 

And while we’re talking numbers, has anybody spilled the increase/decrease beans on our two biggest towns around here? Nope, because no news sometimes isn’t good news despite what King James 1 or James Howell said.

 If you don’t own a rockin’ chair that offers a good view, here’s a couple more informative figures.

Minden showed a 2010 count of slightly more than 13,000 citizens, but that 2020 number dropped to 72 fewer than 12,000. For those of us who graduated fifth grade with Jethro, that subtracts to roughly 1,000 exitees. In fact, Minden has shrunk just under 11 percent since 2000.

While our beloved home of HGTV specials and missing statues dropped just under 10 percent, our friendly neighbors to the north also saw an exodus. Springhill fell from 5,279 in 2010 to 4,484 for the 2020 count. Another double figure percentage decline. 

It’s not easy to put the crosshairs on a single problem that makes the grass seem greener in other pastures, but it’s easier to simply turn a blind eye to the moving vans. That seems to be the consensus of census observers since the mid-20th century and it’s getting us nowhere fast. 

Rocker fully understands it’s easy to be a problem finder. The challenge is to be problem solvers. We believe that’s what we need right now, and we need a whole slew of ‘em. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear (or read) that somebody is ready to step forward with plans that offer real solutions. 

Tasking a task force is an easy answer, but that unfortunately means getting together a bunch of the usual suspects who’ve been stuck in the ground so long they’ve taken roots. We hear constantly that this is a great place to live but the numbers are telling us it’s a great place to leave.

We can’t and won’t stop the bleeding until we admit we have a problem, face that problem and talk about it. We tell our children to be seen and not heard. It seems we are not saying or doing anything worth hearing and, at this rate, there won’t be many folks around to be seen.