The Black-White population in Jonesboro is nearly even, with slightly more black residents.
And on the City Council, there are three blacks and two whites. But a week after video of a racially-charged argument at a council meeting hits the internet many are wondering whether race is playing a part in the town's woes.
"When it happened it went viral; everybody heard about the situation," says Wendy Calahan, head of Jonesboro's chapter of the NAACP.
Here's a quick transcription from that video: I'm tired of these got d*** n*****. Yeah I said it....Every got d*** one of ya."
Carla Roberts, wife of the town's ex-fire chief, directs that to a councilman.
Roberts says she was--and still is-- unhappy with the administration's decisions--like cutting the police department.
Over the phone she tells us, "If you look up the word n***** in the dictionary, it can mean anyone. It's an uneducated, incompetent person....Based on the things happening, they are not competent. I could care less the race of the mayor."
The councilman, Lastevic Cottingham, says he's used to slurs.
"I came up with that," he says. "We grew up being called that."
The heated exchange happened inside this room after the last city council meeting. Residents say the situation symbolizes the racial tension here in Jonesboro and they say it's preventing the town from being productive.
Ironically, Calahan, of the NAACP, was at the group's national convention when it happened.
"And then to actually see and hear what took place at the council meeting was just unbelievable, but that's nothing new to Jackson Parish."
She says some simply don't accept the town's black mayor.
Mayor Leslie Thompson agrees.
"There is an element of racial hatred," says Thompson. "There is an element of racial intolerance."
Councilwoman Renee Stringer says, for her, race isn't the issue--its management.
Residents we approached didn't want to speak on camera, but all said racial tension exists.
But how do they move forward?
"I don't actually think you can correct a problem until you can first identify and acknowledge that you have that problem," says Thompson.
"We talk about having conversations with people of all colors," says Calahan.
"Prayer," Cottingham says.
Roberts, the woman who made the racial comment, is the wife of Jonesboro's former fire chief. Her husband is suing the town for back-pay related to his termination from the job.
Mrs. Roberts says the situation had nothing to do with her husband.
We reached out to David Roberts, but he had no comment.