Louisiana Will Get a New City After a Yearslong Court Battle

The original plan was to start a school district. That didn’t work. So a group of residents in a sprawling unincorporated suburb of Baton Rouge, La., expanded their idea: Create a city of their own, called St. George.

In 2015, they collected signatures to bring their proposal up for a vote, but didn’t get enough. In 2019, they tried again. This time, they made it to a ballot and won the election, only to be stalled by a lengthy court battle.

But the Louisiana Supreme Court cleared the way on Friday for the formation of St. George, a city of nearly 100,000 people that joins the ranks of the state’s largest cities, falling between Lafayette and Lake Charles in population. It is the first city to be incorporated in Louisiana in nearly two decades.

A majority of justices found that lower courts had erred in blocking the city’s creation over concerns of its financial viability.

“This is the culmination of citizens exercising their constitutional rights,” Andrew Murrell, a leader of the effort to create the city, said in a statement, adding, “Now we begin the process of delivering on our promises of a better city.”

The city will consist of an area of East Baton Rouge Parish, which is run by a blended government that oversees both Baton Rouge and the broader parish. It also carves out a largely white and more affluent section of the parish, southeast of Baton Rouge.

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