St. Louis has a lot going for it in terms of attracting smart and creative young people who don't mind having to make their own way in the world. There are lots of young people here who don't care that there is not a Starbucks on every corner, or an inner-city Whole Foods, or new buildings as far as the eye can see. They see opportunities in the cultural and physical fabric of the existing city that are seductive enough.
But the question that begs asking: Does this city keep those young people around? Does it give them the economic means (good jobs) to bolster their efforts to make this city work against the odds?
After all, when a smart young person gets sick of being a clerk at the hip grocery store or a low-level non-profit functionary, any city can seem like a cold place. Especially one that seems to say to the young person that starting a career has to happen elsewhere.
Chad and Trixie stay on Washington, sure, but what of the young with less money and more ideas? Do they still fly to Chicago, Memphis, San Francisco and Portland? Or do we retain them nowadays?
The answer to that question is a good bellwether of St. Louis' future as a culturally important place.