The water quality disaster in Flint, Michigan, is deplorable. Many Louisiana residents, however, are unaware of the shameful situation in our own backyard in St. Joseph, in Tensas Parish.

Tensas is the poorest parish in the state. Nearly 40 percent of the population is below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate is likewise staggering.

Since at least 2012, the community has been under a more or less constant boil water advisory. Residents, though, say the problems with the water system date back a decade or more. This, of course, affects mostly the poor, black population within the town proper.

Clean drinking water is life’s most basic necessity. City and state leaders have failed to timely and adequately address this issue. I call upon Gov. John Bel Edwards to make good on his pledge to address the needs of our state’s poorest and to quickly and decisively address this issue, which has been allowed to persist for far too long.

Jesse George

attorney

New Orleans