A hundred years ago, when Louisiana was still literally in the dark, residents of Lafayette banded together to build a city-owned electric utility where once there was little more than swampland. Today, at the dawn of the 21st century, it is hatching plans to lay out its own state-of-the-art fiber-optic broadband network.Now that's good publicity, if, well, a little overblown. It might not be on quite on the same plane as having the nation's largest weekly endorse your small city's project, but if we want to be considered for next year's round of high-tech investments, being called visionary on CNet and cited for our pioneering spirit isn't a half-bad way to start.
This time, the city's futuristic ambitions are challenged not by the rigors of geography but by obstacles of business: specifically, telecommunications giant BellSouth and cable provider Cox Communications, which claimed the region as their own years ago. But the historic coastal community, known for its eclectic culture and rhythmic zydeco music, is not about to abandon the pioneering spirit that begat its visionary reputation.
I talked to one of the authors the day TechSouth closed and we had a long discussion that wandered into how it was that Lafayette and not some other city was making this bold move. I get quoted saying that it has something to do with our historic willingness to go our own way. I think that's a good part of it.
Toward the end, the story returns to Lafayette and Kaliste Saloom, representing Lafayette Yes, gets in some good points.
Take a look, its a fun read. And we come off well.