OUR OPINION: It’s a happy day in Ascension

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Not long ago Louisiana was ranked No. 1 in the nation for the happiness of its residents in a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now comes a study by the University of Wisconsin that ranks Ascension Parish as the sixth happiest parish in Louisiana.

Boy, if that doesn’t make you feel good we don’t know what would.

In the study by the University of Wisconsin - and we don’t what those folks know or don’t know about crawfish, but we aren’t about to argue with the findings - Ascension is happier than all the other parishes in the greater Baton Rouge area, plus most all the other 64 parishes.

St. Tammany on the northshore ranked first, Madison Parish up north was least healthy and our neighbor to the east, Livingston Parish, came in eighteenth.

East Baton Rouge Parish ranked nineteenth.

The study based its findings on factors such as obesity, smoking, binge-drinking and unsafe sex practices, the obvious health related flags one might expect in a study like this one.

The access to health care to take care of problems caused by unsafe practices and other health issues was also measured, plus social and economic factors and the physical environment.

Other study factors included the length of our lives and our quality of life.

While the study did not specifically target prosperity of residents, being a prosperous parish does allow Ascension to do things for its citizens that other parishes cannot do.

Parish President Tommy Martinez astutely noted during the recent Parish Council meeting that Ascension provides mental health care services that other parishes simply cannot afford.

Parish voters in their wisdom approved a tax for those and other public health related services, and the benefits show up in everyday life and in surveys like the one from the University of Wisconsin.

Clearly, a prosperous parish can afford to offer such services, if the people choose to have them.

When you rank as one of the happiest areas in  the happiest state, you can’t help feeling good  about it. Everyone in Ascension should take a bow for contributing to this latest recognition that has come to the parish.