A year and a half after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal dismissed the federal stimulus as a debt-generating waste, the Pelican State has accepted about $5 billion from the program. The Congress-approved cash went to programs ranging from education grants to coastal restoration projects to software modeling of civil works programs’ economic impact.
In the race to secure these federal stimulus dollars, Baton Rouge received millions more than New Orleans, while Louisiana as a whole lagged behind other states.
The state’s haul amounts to $1,130 per resident, ranking the state 32 out of 50 according to per-capita takeaway. While Louisiana lagged most states, it did better than Georgia, Alabama and Florida, which came in dead last with Floridians receiving $915 per person. Yet in spite of Louisiana’s middling performance, East Baton Rouge Parish, which encompasses the whole capital city, despite its name, managed to take in $2.4 billion, much of it in grants to government agencies or Louisiana State University. The money breaks down to $5,698 per Red Stick resident, compared to New Orleans’ $404 million, or $1,295 per resident.
Data for this story was compiled by the independent journalism nonprofit ProPublica, whose complete stimulus coverage can be found here.
A direct comparison between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is mitigated by the fact that Baton Rouge receives money that filters through statewide systems such as the universities and various government agencies. Yet even so, there are some instances in which federal grants for things like public transit, biotech research and law enforcement training were simply larger for Baton Rouge.
Also beating out New Orleans were two parishes that received more money only relative to their smaller populations— St. Helena Parish with $71 million or $6,798 per resident and Plaquemines, which received $73 million, equaling out to $3,435 per resident.