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.
According to Gov. Bobby Jindal, President Barack Obama needs to stop talking about “justice” and start murdering people, even if we have to go alone.
A nationwide search is under way to fill the vacancy of Lafayette Regional Airport Director Greg Roberts following his resignation over an incident in which he allegedly pointed a fake gun at an engineer during a meeting in June, and a replacement is expected by January.
The Ragin’ Cajuns got off to a superb start Saturday night, and the Human Jukebox made the soaked season opener even sweeter for the third-largest crowd in Cajun Field history.
The Louisiana health department will follow a federal judge's order and refrain from immediately penalizing doctors who are trying to comply with a new abortion law that requires them to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, a spokeswoman said Monday.
Halliburton says it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a substantial portion of plaintiff claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
While bogged down with qualifying candidates last month, Secretary of State Tom Schedler didn’t lose sight of the true endgame coming in November and December.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Stoned driving a concern when pot is legal; Detroit's bankruptcy trial; speed trap scandal in Florida and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 02, 2014.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home
No laboring for shoppers this holiday
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.