But it was the reminiscences that intrigued the historian in me. Especially interesting was Randy Menard's story. Menard was a member of the outgoing council that backed LUS fiber before that was an easy thing to do and which soldiered through the worst of the battle to secure it. His recounting pushed the story back more years than any tale I had heard before. Apparently Terry Huval recommended that council members attend an American Public Power Association conference in Toronto that planted the idea of a community communications network—12 years ago. On Menard's retelling he went and came back an advocate. A fiber ring for city use came up later and was eventually built. When a discussion about trying to get other people to build a fiber network in the city came up Menard says he asked Huval "Why aren't we doing that ourselves?" Huval's careful answer was that some people up the line weren't in favor. Translated: the then-current administration had put the kabosh on it. Menard and Ardoin, a former councilman, worked around that opposition. Menard, who does not live in the city proper, jokingly expressed a desire to be annexed. (I won't be surprised if that desire becomes more widespread.) Apparently there was a time when Huval was not the most enthusiastic proponent of further extending fiber...but that changed. On Mayor Durel's recounting Huval set him down even before his inarguration and laid out a plan to offer fiber to the home. When Durel committed to its support the course was fixed.
The rest, as is said, is history.
Correction to the Correction: Ok, I was wrong about being wrong. It was Randy Menard and after talking to others who were there I am now confident about that. I still need to absolutely confirm that Menard lives outside the city—that's what my evidence shows, but... Anyway, a hearty thanks to the anonymous reader who encouraged me to think I might not be in error. :-)