Written by Walter Pierce
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Lafayette has it; but will the chamber of commerce buy it?
If this journalism thing doesn’t work out, I may seek employment in the federal Office of Acronyms. The feds love acronyms, and I evidently enjoy a facility for creating them. Over the last few weeks as we tried to get our arms around this Cool Town issue, I, out of thin air and with great aplomb, personal fanfare and self congratulations, came up with an acronym that I believe perfectly encapsulates what it is about Lafayette that has us poised to become a hip, sophisticated city that attracts the creative class — the writers, artists, engineers, architects, planners and other professionals who are drawn to a city because of its festivals, its restaurants and museums, its parks and public spaces, its employment opportunities and cultural amenities.
Lafayette has ... drum roll please ... VIBE.
The reason this issue is dubbed Cool Town and not VIBE is because, much to my chagrin, my colleagues think acronyms are corny. I know this because the “ta-da!” moment during which I unleashed the brilliance upon them was occasioned by snickers, glances askance and smart-asterisk remarks.
They are so wrong for that.
Lafayette had the vision before the turn of the 20th century, when gas lamps were still the new-fangled way to light a home, to create its own public utility, LUS, and to press the Legislature and governor to give us a center of higher education, South Louisiana Industrial Institute, now UL. Each gave Lafayette a glow — literally and intellectually — that attracted population, professionals and new ideas.
Decades before that, Lafayette residents approved a bond proposal to fund the building of roads to Abbeville, New Iberia, Crowley, Opelousas and St. Martin Parish (most likely Breaux Bridge), creating transportation spokes emanating out from the city limits. We connected ourself to our neighbors and became the Hub City. All roads lead to Lafayette.
In 1952 Maurice Heymann had a vision for making Lafayette a hub for the oil industry. He built an office complex on his plant nursery at the corner of St. Mary Boulevard and Pinhook Road that became the Oil Center, and which led to massive amounts of wealth flowing into our city.
Lafayette has embraced innovation, the most recent example of which is the successful creation of a fiber-to-the-premises business through our public utility. Lafayette had to fight to make it happen, at the ballot box and in court. LUS Fiber is laying a technological infrastructure for Lafayette that other cities wish to emulate, one that will lure new industry and help keep the industry we have.
Lafayette has a brand that is distinct. We embrace our indigenous cultures and are happily and proudly defined by them. It wasn’t always that way; for much of the 20th century the focus was to mainstream, to dampen the accent. The creation of the Center for the Development of French in Louisiana, CODOFIL, in the late 1960s was an expression of an emerging sense of cultural pride that manifests itself today in Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, Festival International de Louisiane and French immersion education in our public schools. Lafayette is known worldwide as Cajun and Creole country, Dewey Balfa and Clifton Chenier are our sound track. That’s how we roll.
And finally, is there a more energetic, optimistic city in Louisiana or along the Gulf Coast? Energy means oil and gas, of course, but it means so much more. It’s that entrepreneurial spirit — the wildcatter mentality, as some business boosters call it, that makes us willing to take chances, to open new ventures, to do commerce pretty darn well.
Lafayette has a great vibe.
Sadly, my colleagues don’t get it.
I haven’t obtained a copyright on VIBE, but I believe this column establishes my intellectual property rights.
So, to my friends at the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, I’m open to negotiations.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
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Saints Street cottage or River Ranch condo