City-Parish President Joey Durel was joined Feb. 2 by UL President Dr. Joe Savoie for his annual State of the Parish address at the Cajundome Convention Center. The State of the Parish address kicked off The Independent Weekly’s 2010 Lecture Series, sponsored each year by IberiaBank. Joining forces for the first time this year, the two presidents laid out a vision of Lafayette’s economic future that hinges on shared goals of the city-parish and the university.
Durel touted Lafayette’s growing nationwide reputation as a center of innovation. City-parish government, he pointed out, has been invited to be part of a panel discussion at the upcoming U.S. Chamber of Commerce convention in Washington, D.C., to discuss such projects as LUS Fiber.
Early in the presentation Durel praised the resiliency of the Lafayette economy, which enjoys an unemployment rate (5.5 percent) well below the state average (7.5 percent) and far below the national average (10 percent), with a caveat: “There is no denying that the economic plight of the country has affected Lafayette. Our sales taxes continue to decline, and if there isn’t a leveling off in the next few months, we will be forced to make some difficult decisions as it relates to cutting our budget.”
Durel also mentioned new initiatives related to LUS’ fiber to the home project, including an event April 20-22, FiberFête, during which technology experts from around the country will be in Lafayette to discuss and plan the city’s technological future. “I’m committed to seeing Lafayette build on what’s already great about our city and our parish by us becoming a leader in driving fiber-powered 21st century innovation,” he said.
Overall, the joint presentation was short on timetables and funding mechanisms for their vision for Lafayette’s future development, but long on cooperative-endeavor ideas for applying smart growth principles to UL-owned land in the heart of Lafayette. “It is important to recognize that the essential economic advantage of cities flows from their abilities to promote and encourage interactions among people,” Savoie told the sold-out lunch crowd. “Cities work best and are most successful economically when they enable easy interaction among people.”
Among the ideas mentioned:
• A performing arts center/entertainment complex at the site currently occupied by Blackham Coliseum
• Commercial development on Congress Street across from Cajun Field in the University Research Park that would include hotels, restaurants, shops, retail and residential spaces
• Transformation of the UL horse farm on Johnston Street into a passive, public park
• Conversion of Johnston Street into a boulevard
• Light rail transportation within the city
“All of this and much more will be addressed through a comprehensive plan,” Durel said in closing.
|Sterling LeJeune, Dud Lastrapes and Andrew Perrin||Daryl Byrd and Richard Chappuis|
|State Reps. Fred Mills and Page Cortez||Ron Lee, Bob Barras, Brad Hamman and Mike Skinner|
|Stanley Blackstone, Pete Yuan and Kurt Carleton||Joey Durel and Joe Savoie|
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun