Monday, February 21, 2011

Baton Rouge chose an unfortunate sister city

Saint Expedite is a popular patron in New Orleans.  He is prayed to for those in need of speedy relief from their suffering.  His statue in Our Lady of Guadalupe chapel on Rampart Street, is the only one venerated in a Catholic Church in North America.

He was martyred in the Roman city of Melitene in 303, what is now the Turkish city of Malatya.

Mayor "Kip" Holden recently signed a sister city agreement between Baton Rouge and Malatya.   I'm not suggesting that the 400,000 current citizens of Malatya are responsible for the martyrdom of St. Expedite during the reign of Diocletian.  I just find it ironic that Baton Rouge, a place that is routinely accused of tormenting New Orleans, should wed itself to ancient Melitene, a place where St. Expedite, who may as well be granted citizenship in Orleans Parish, was similarly harried.

As Mayor Holden said at the time, "A lot of people passed up on this area."  I wonder why.  Of course, a lot of people pass up on New Orleans, too.  More probably pass up on the chance of moving to Baton Rouge with a shrug.  Why bother?  I have nothing agains the capital of Louisiana.  I don't like to visit but  it is pretty much off my radar.  I just find it interesting.

Baton Rouge has entered into other Sister City agreements, as its Center for World Affairs, Inc. will tell you.  Of all the cities in the world though... why Malatya?  Fate?

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