Small Town, Big City Problems, Promising Solutions
Lake Providence is a small, rural town with a population of just over 5,000, but many of the problems that plague large cities also haunt Lake Providence. Elected officials are working to correct them, although, it seems that some of these people have their own agendas. I have named a few of the problems that Lake Providence is currently facing. I have no answers, but I am posting these in order to raise awareness so that, perhaps, change can occur.
Years of unemployment have taken their toll on a great portion of the population of Lake Providence. We have many citizens who depend on welfare as their only source of income. The old adage, "the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer," is definitely true in Lake Providence.
Drugs and Violence
Unemployment also plays a role in this aspect of L.P.'s problems. Many young men and women have nothing to occupy their time so they gang up on street corners selling drugs and fighting with their rivals. This is not to say that everyone has chosen this path, but it has presented problems for the town's reputation. The city police, led by Chief Renee Blockwood Jones, are working around the clock to try to improve conditions.
Corruption in Public Offices
Louisiana is known for its' corruption of public officials and Lake Providence is no exception. From the Sheriff's office to the Mayor's office, rumors and allegations of misdeeds echo across the parish. The best known case is the money laundering debacle perpetrated by former Sheriff Dale Riniker.
The root of all evils, it seems, for Lake Providence. Unemployment is rampant do to the lack of industries in the area and our rural surroundings. Unless you are working for the East Carroll Parish Detention Centers or involved in agriculture, there is not much else out there in the way of gainful employment. The town loses many intelligent, hard-working young people to other cities, usually after high school graduation. Until some sort of industry or business is created, there will not be many opportunities.
Education is crucial to the future of Lake Providence but we are experiencing a lack of qualified teachers and a lack of interest from parents and children. The drop-out rate is high and so is truancy. An attempt to to prosecute parents for truancy has had limited success.
Main Street Deterioration
What was once a bustling area of commerce, the Main Street area has deteriorated over the years. Many of the building are vacant, falling in, or a burned out shell.
The installation of new sewer lines, and ample amounts of rain, have made bad roads worse. The main highway into town, Highway 65, is a mess. Along with the usual hazards of driving, Lake Providence citizens also have to dodge pot holes and a patch-work quilt of construction areas that stayed after the construction crews left. And, when it rains, traffic slows to a trickle to avoid the small lakes that pool across the lanes. Be sure to wear your seatbelt!
Lack of Community Involvement
Until the community is willing to work together, the town of Lake Providence will continue to decline.
But, even with all of the above problems, Lake Providence does has its' positive points. It is only when we improve on what's going for us will the town flourish again.
Civil War and Past History
Lake Providence's history is full of colorful characters from pirates to Civil War soldiers. Why not embrace this past and turn the town into a living history lesson?
Potential for a Retirement Paradise/Small Town Ease
L.P. has roughly the same climate as Retirement mecca, Florida. With a little tinkering with the taxes, the town could be a wonderful place for retirees.
Our Beautiful Lake
Lake Providence is one of the most beautiful lakes in northern Louisiana. It could serve as a busy vacation spot with fishing, boating, skiing, swimming, etc...
Lake Providence allows almost every type of hunting imaginable, such as: white-tail deer, turkey, dove, ducks, etc... Finding ways to make sportsmen more comfortable while in town would draw flocks.
Our only industry...