THE FORUM: Celebrating the 225 – Perspective From a Lifelong Baton Rouge Resident

By: Helen Frink

February 28, 2023

In June of 2023, I’ll officially celebrate 29 years as a resident of the Baton Rouge community. I was born here – over at the old Woman’s Hospital on Airline Highway – and I’ve lived here every moment since.

Throughout my life, I’ve heard friends, community members, leaders, and everyone in between compare this city to its peers, often emphasizing its weaknesses and shortcomings. I spend a lot of time traveling to cities like Austin, Houston, Denver, and Seattle, where I get to see the comparisons made by those around me. Despite what they have to offer, I still choose to call Baton Rouge my home, because there’s nowhere else like it.

Baton Rouge’s greatest strength is its people – the friends, relationships, and community spirit that’s embedded in everything we do. No matter where you go, there’s a friend to be made, or a connection that can help you somewhere down the line. It’s easy to connect to the people of this community.

Several years ago, Baton Rouge’s residents began using #225Day as a social media campaign to celebrate this city and its people. The annual celebration featured young people posting what they love about Baton Rouge and sharing everything the city has to offer. We saw this celebration come to life in 2023 with the inaugural 225 Fest (shoutout to Myra Richardson for making this vision become a reality). The festival was meant to highlight the diversity and spirit of community that allows our Capital City to thrive. It was put on by a group of young professionals from across our city who have experienced and currently lead very different paths in life. Their dedication to our community offered an opportunity for thousands of residents to come together to celebrate Baton Rouge’s artists, restaurants, and unique culture. I’m proud to have been involved in this experience, just like I’m proud to be a member of this community.

Plenty of people will take every opportunity to cast Baton Rouge in a negative light, but it’s those who dedicate their time, energy, and capacity to celebrate our city that make it shine.

As young professionals, we all play a role in celebrating our community and identifying opportunities to change it for the better, not only on 225 Day, but every day of the year.