Politics has never been Norman Browning’s preferred choice of playing fields, but his latest venture has put him smack at the center of a raging political controversy.
As leader of the effort to create a new city called St. George and an independent school system, the 61-year-old father of three is pursuing a cause that could fundamentally change the shape of East Baton Rouge Parish and its politics for years to come. He’s a hero to some for giving voice to their frustration with a status quo they consider unacceptable, and a villain to others who see his effort as tearing the parish apart and disrupting continued progress in Louisiana’s capital city.
While Browning has never run for office or served on government boards or commissions, he has taken an active role in his community. He’s been content until now to exercise his leadership skills as a volunteer with the public schools, serving as PTA president and in a variety of other roles, including 15 years as a volunteer baseball coach at Woodlawn High School.
These days, Browning is the leader of the effort to incorporate the city of St. George. For the past two years, he’s served as the president of the nonprofit group Local Schools for Local Children, which fought and failed two years in a row to secure from the state a funded independent school system...
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