The NATAO story (not available online) celebrated the economic development potential of the new system and highlighted the 100 meg intranet according to the Advertiser.
The Broadband Hero award is worth highlighting itself. I had a post prepared on this that never made it out of the draft stage back in November and am chagrined at the omission. NATOA is a muscular association of telecom officers for public bodies that is extremely influential nationally and has lead the fight against bad laws — and kept up the pressure after the laws predictably failed—on issues like municipal broadband and state video franchises. Louisiana has first hand experience in both these areas of how badly these incumbent-written laws have been for local communities. NATOA, then, is both prestigious and determined. Getting an award from them, being invited to present at their conference, and having an article placed in their national journal bragging on your mid-sized south Louisiana city is no small thing on the national scene.
The reason for the "Hero" designation is evident from the wording of the award:
...for championing the need for robust, competitive communications services in his community; for championing the cause of local decision-making in communications; and for leading his community to counter efforts to thwart local communications initiatives.Durel and Huval's muscular, public, relentless defense of the fiber project was absolutely essential to its success. Many communities lack determined leaders and the award is well-deserved.