Mayor: East St. Louis Is Not “Hell On Earth”

Brian Kelly

EAST ST. LOUIS, Il. (KMOX)-East St. Louis has taken a lot of shots over the years for its reputation as a crime-ridden, corrupt city,  but the latest edition of The Hockey News delivers a slap-shot right to the chops.

In the cover article featuring St. Louis Blues captain David Backes, writer Ken Campbell talks about Backes’ efforts to rescue dogs, and in describing one of his rescues in East St. Louis he suggests that to find the city on the internet you Google, “Hell on Earth.”

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks’ response?, “It’s not what you’re called, it’s what you answer to. We understand here in East St. Louis that we have had an image issue in East St. Louis for longer than any of us have been alive. We are looking to erase any bad images and replace them with good images.”

Parks says he’s not frustrated by such characterizations, “We just understand that we’re up against a very big mountain. The reputation goes back to the 1800’s.”

The Mayor says the city is working to erase that reputation, by trying to capitalize on its strengths, “We have a wonderful riverfront, we’re right across from the Gateway Arch. We’ve got four interstates coming through here, eight rail lines servicing the community with the Mississippi River on our westward banks. We have an unparalelled location.”

Parks says the city also has some of the best people anywhere, “People who are strong-willed, innovative, determined, improvisational and all the rest that will make any kind of business go.”

Parks says he would welcome Campbell to visit East St. Louis, so he can see it’s not ‘hell on earth’, “There are many, many fine things and outstanding things happening every day in East St. Louis, it’s not just when we win all the state championships in football, track and the other sports. It’s the every day people making wonderful things happen here in East St. Louis. We invite that author to come over to City Hall and let us take you on a tour because we’ve got some great things happening.”

By the way, if you Google “Hell on Earth”, East St. Louis will not come up.


  • Amy

    This article is a joke and the mayor is kidding himself. All you have to do is watch the local news or check out the stats to see East St. Louis IS hell on earth. The crime rates there are off the charts. I would recommend Mr. Backes not take the mayor up on his offer to visit–he’s likely to be the victim of a violent crime!

    • Ann

      the mayor… what a joke!

  • dcorvino

    The truth is, every major city with a large black population has a GIGANTIC crime problem, a huge drug problem, and everything associated with those things. Enormous numbers of unwed single black mothers, kids running the streets looking for trouble, it is ridiculous. BUT, they have freeways, and a river front, and blah, blah, blah…

  • rufus2009a

    it is hell if you are there and happen to be White!!!

    • Ann

      oh no, they’ll happily take your car and give you some crack!

  • Ann

    Just take a look at “Stray Rescue of St. Louis” and you will see the brutality of the people who live there. It’s despicable what they do to these animals. The drugs are rampant on the streets, just a bunch of thugs.

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