Franz Strasser attends panel discussion in St. Louis

10:35 PM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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By Art Holliday

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - North and south of Delmar Boulevard, just one or two blocks can separate million dollar mansions from blighted areas of St. Louis.

That Delmar divide caught the attention of a reporter working half way around the world.

Last March, BBC reporter Franz Strasser talked to residents and business owners north and south of Delmar. He wanted to know why a Manhattan Institute study indicated St. Louis was one of the most segregated cities in America.

The story went viral, and Strasser was invited to St. Louis Wednesday night so he could take part in a community conversation.

"I was just here for two days. I did a four-minute piece that barely scratches the surface," said Strasser.

A German reporter working for the British Broadcasting Company has created a stir in mid-America.

Strasser's report, The Delmar Divide, was sparked by census data north and south of Delmar Boulevard. Median salaries, property values, and higher education paint a stark picture of segregation and inequality.

"You can tell they are expensive homes and as soon as I got to Delmar you can see just across the street, you're slapped with the reality the economically you have entered into the twilight zone," said Strasser. "On the one side, one in ten people have a bachelor's degree, and on the other side, seven in 10 people have a bachelor's degree. The fact that one side the houses are barely worth over $70,000 and on the other they're over $330,000."

Strasser's report went viral back in March, and has sparked a community conversation about what happens next in St. Louis.

It was a standing room only conversation Wednesday at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. Several hundred people turned out to discuss racial and economic issues in St. Louis.

"There are several areas north of Delmar that are great areas that people know nothing about," said Angela Newsom, who lives north of Delmar.

'When we moved into the Central West End, I heard several people say, don't go north of Delmar and so I want to understand more about that," said David Harper.

"What we really need to do is bring those two sides together. I think it starts with conversations like this. We need to work play live more together in the City of St. Louis," said 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French.

Strasser says he's shooting material for a follow up story on Delmar Boulevard while he's in town.



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