Nathan Norris, the newly minted executive director of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited, addressed about 40 downtown business owners Tuesday evening at Bolt nightclub to offer an overview of his vision for the district — a vision that begins with increasing the downtown’s residential component.
DDA Executive Director Nathan Norris, center, addresses downtown business owners Tuesday.
“We don’t have enough people living downtown. If there aren’t enough people living downtown we can’t get other amenities that make downtown living worthwhile. So that’s the No. 1 goal right now,” Norris said. “We have plenty of options for those who want a rural lifestyle in this region — who want to live where you don’t have hear your neighbor or see your neighbor, there are options for you. We have plenty of options for those who want to live in a suburban area. What we don’t have are a lot of options for downtown living.”
Norris was quick to note that a robust downtown population has far-ranging effects on a community, not just on those who chose an urban lifestyle. “This is a regional issue,” he said. “It’s regional because this is really an economic development issue. It’s not about making the downtown prettier. If you’re a business thinking about moving here, you probably have 10 to 15 percent of your workforce that wants a high quality urban lifestyle. And if we’re not providing it here, the answer is I have to go somewhere else to find it.”
The lawyer/urban planner/real estate broker — Norris is featured in this month’s Cool Town issue — laid out three strategies to achieving the goal: maintain popular downtown events like Downtown Alive! and ArtWalk; improve the amenities package to make downtown attractive to developers; and facilitate what he calls “value-enhancing development” — the types of real estate development that encourages nearby property owners to invest in their own property.
“This isn’t about how we grow, how we plan; this is about whether we want to compete for talent, because that’s what businesses are looking at — they care about people, they care about talent,” Norris added. “If they can’t find the talent here they’re going to go elsewhere.”
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NOV 21 Bobby Jindal is headed to Iowa again, the Des Moines Register reports here. The paper outlines what's going on with Bobby's non-campaign for president, and there's a lot of stuff here -- too bad none of it sounds like somebody running Louisiana. Hey, wasn't that the job he wanted?
NOV 21 The end of the term has come for the grand jury investigating a lucrative Medicaid contract and a former state health official's ties to the company that won it, the Advocate reports here, but that doesn't mean the investigation into this stinkiness is over. There are still some things to look into, the lead prosecutor says.
NOV 21 With the passage of two amendments to Louisiana's much-amended constitution (it has been amended almost 200 times now) higher education has an even bigger target on its collective back, columnist Jim Beam opines in this post. Higher ed used to share the spotlight with health care, but that has changed, he says.
NOV 21 Here's a weird one: The Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association has endorsed Bill Cassidy for the U.S. Senate. Apparently, Mary Landrieu said she wouldn't consider support of medical marijuana but Cassidy said he would, WWL reports here.
NOV 21 Solange Knowles, possibly best-known for assaulting her brother-in-law in an elevator while wearing an ugly dress after the Met Ball, got married in the Marigny Opera House this past weekend, the New York Times reports here. Knowles, who has a house in the Faubourg Marigny district and owns a boutique in the Quarter, married Alan Ferguson.
NOV 21 This post on the Fuel Fix blog outlines a $1.4 billion move announced this week by the Apache Corp. that includes the sale of assets in south Louisiana. The company's interests in more than 90,000 acres in south Louisiana are some of the assets being sold, the post reports.
NOV 21 One (possible) positive from Hurricane Katrina is a comprehensive zoning ordinance for New Orleans. Nine years later, we're getting closer to that being finalized, but the current version has some problems. Here's the latest in a series of posts on The Lens in which residents give their views of the draft; this one is more amusing than most.
NOV 21 The new NOLA smoking ordinance is going to harsh your (nicotine) buzz, man. This post on Gambit outlines the high (or low, as the case may be) points: it includes electronic cigarettes and hookahs in its bans; eliminates smoking within 25 feet of any building's public entrance and in any public space - or near any public space - operated by the city.
NOV 20 Politico reports here that Bobby Jindal won't be kept out of the presidential race by anyone else's candidacy. (If he's running, which he's not, 'cause he's not done prayin' on it) So he's not interested in who is running, or what the polls say, or how much money he's got? K.
NOV 20 NOLA Defender's Tiny Daiquiri has a little fun with Bobby Jindal's Meet the Press appearance in this post. Bobby is still prayin' on whether or not he'll run for the job he's been running for over the past three years, Tiny says.
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