Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:
American Press, Lake Charles, La., on showing more pride in state:
A recent survey by Louisiana Gannet newspapers shows that while most Louisianans have a positive perception of their state, they are concerned about the negative feedback they get from people in other states.
One way the people of Louisiana can help turn that negative perception around, according to Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, head of the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, is by speaking positively about it to visitors.
Dardenne said the department is putting Louisiana's best foot forward. But he said it comes down to the people in Louisiana, as the impact they have on visitors is priceless.
"Stories are the best souvenir," Dardenne said. "There ought to be 4.5 million ambassadors for Louisiana. All of us should be marketing."
While Louisiana is a poor state in regard to per capita income, that doesn't mean it is a bad state to live in or visit. In fact, Louisiana is among the richest states in natural resources, world-class tourist attractions, a unique culture, ecology, a paradise for outdoor sports, a fascinating history second to none and food that has become a favorite among people worldwide.
While slightly more than 70 percent of respondents to an opt-in survey said they feel positively about living in Louisiana, several answers in the survey referred to "negativism" about the state from those on the outside looking in as well as in-state residents.
The Mood of Louisiana survey was made available to the print, digital and social media audiences of The Town Talk in Alexandria, The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, The Daily World in Opelousas, The Times in Shreveport and The News-Star in Monroe in early December. Five hundred people participated in the survey.
Overcoming negative perceptions is something every state deals with, Dardenne said.
"Every state has got its challenges, and every state has its assets," he said. "And I think our assets far outweigh our negatives."
And one of the easiest ways for Louisianans to show state pride is to buy a state flag and fly it outside their homes and businesses, and don't be shy about bragging about our unique and beloved state.
The News-Star, Monroe, La., on making international students feel at home at ULM:
Imagine being 18 years old and beginning college on a campus halfway around the world from your parents, friends and home.
You may have a fragile grasp of the language but are unfamiliar with the food, customs and culture of your new home, country and most of your classmates.
While relishing the magnificent opportunity, it can also bring a lonely transition that affects your initial quality of life and chances at success.
Eric Liew, a University of Louisiana at Monroe graduate, felt all of those things as an international student from Malaysia 30 years ago.
Today Liew owns and operates the international AOSS Medical Supply company headquartered in the Monroe Air Industrial Park.
He not only adopted Monroe as his hometown and the United States as his country but also has created hundreds of jobs here.
But he never forgot those first days at ULM, and this month he and his family pledged $1 million to establish an international student center at ULM to provide a family setting for future students.