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|
The continued refusal by LPSB President Hunter Beasley and attorney Dennis Blunt to release a draft copy of the investigation into Superintendent Pat Cooper has resulted in a lawsuit by The Daily Advertiser.
The New Orleans Saints' early season slide is the kind of scenario Sean Payton had in mind when the coach and his staff placed a premium on character during player evaluations.
Long before a man was diagnosed with the Ebola virus in neighboring Texas, Louisiana's health department was working on what to do in case someone with the disease showed up in the state.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
Women sue over sperm mix-up; Romney on campaign trail; Ebola patient was released from hospital and more national and international news for Thursday, October 02, 2014.
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, surprised few in the Hub City Wednesday afternoon when he made (semi) official what most of us have known for months: He is running to replace Joey Durel as city-parish president.
Two bedroom town home or three bedroom contemporary home
Let the party begin
Louisiana's first black Republican state senator since Reconstruction — who was a Republican before he was a Democrat before he was a Republican again — is accusing Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of using the black community for votes and providing nothing in return.
LSU's governing board has backed new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services.
Rachel Hector returns home to cultivate a generation of yoga instructors.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is courting young voters in several appearances across Louisiana this week, talking about her support for legislation that could lower students' college costs.
It is distinctly possible control of the U.S. Senate will hinge on Louisiana, which is why, during the last several months, outside groups have made this the most expensive election in Louisiana history.
A constellation of South Louisiana musical stars descends on Parc Sans Souci to honor an ailing David Egan.
INDStyle Awards 2014 was one for the books; the American Cancer Society took over The Victorian's big tent; and the battle of the sexes was alive and well for Walk a Runway's Christmas fundraiser.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra teams up with choreographer Clare Cook for a modern take on a Stravinsky classic.
Local food pantries begin seasonal drives
A girl's best fashion friend
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Creative living flourishes at Downtown’s artist hub
Four bedroom cottage or four bedroom traditional
Bold looks for fall define INDStyle Awards 2014
Statement pieces for the season
The gents venture out
Project Front Yard has been launched to help us change our image and our habits.
Alleged victim is a Navy vet with brain trauma resulting from a car accident three decades ago.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Richard Buswell was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an investment scheme that defrauded his clients of more than $6 million.