Why I Moved To Lafayette, LA

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks

As many of you know, in July I made a major change in my life, namely throwing all of my worldly possessions into a box, packing my wife and cat into a car, and making the move from DC to Lafayette, LA, where we recently purchased our first house.

The reasons for making this move are many, from becoming fed up with the slow-moving train wreck that is broadband policymaking in DC, to the promise of a better quality of life for my wife, to the opportunity for me to build on the success of FiberFete to start up a new non-profit called FiberCorps, which will facilitate innovative projects that leverage the fiber network to benefit the community of Lafayette.

But while on all levels the move has been an incredibly positive experience, what's making everything even more exciting is the scary amount of energy and potential I've witnessed that's bottled up within this community.

Like last week I attended a NetSquared Lafayette meetup (an informal gathering of techies talking about how the Internet can be used to affect social change) where I was fortunate enough to experience the following presentations:

- An introduction to Hubcideo.com, a local video portal that two local developers (Ryan LeTulle and Bryan Fuselier) built in a week using the Abacus Data Exchange virtual server infrastructure (Abacus also plays host to the month Net2LFT meetings). This project shows just how quickly new apps and services can be built given today's advanced internet infrastructure, from the software to the hardware. This site will be capable of storing and streaming HD video, and it's going to be interesting to watch what happens as it evolves and more people load their content up to it.

- A project of another local developer (Ray Camden) who took a publicly available data stream of 911 calls, captured and cleaned the data, and then was able to extrapolate all sorts of interesting analysis related to what are the most dangerous parts of Lafayette. This highlights how when a city makes public data public developers can come up with new ideas for how to help the city run better, as has also been proven through San Francisco's DataSF.org initiative. Here's a blog post Ray put up with more details.

- A thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of social networks and graph theory and how that can give us a better understanding of how communities operate and how people influence people by FiberCorps intern Crawford Comeaux.

Also at that meeting was Henry Florsheim, head of LITE, Lafayette's 3D visualization facility, which will house the Accelerator, an initiative by LEDA, the local economic development authority, to provide subsidized office space, services, mentorship, and training to startups and recruited companies. I find this Accelerator to be another very exciting story as while final details are still being hashed out, the players involved include many of the city's leaders and there's a real energy building to have successful executives from the community give back by helping startups succeed. What i find most inspiring about this is LEDA's foresight to understand that the future of economic development lies not just within building more industrial parks but instead finding creative ways to provide the resources that the next generation of entrepreneurs need to succeed

On Sunday night i stopped by Blue Moon, a funky B&B; and outdoor bar with some of the best music in town, which was hosting the launch party for The Give Project, a company led by Chase Brumfield aimed at harnessing the desire of good people to give to support those in need. Here's a young guy fresh out of college making a go at reaching for his dreams. And what makes it even more exciting is the potential for this to actually work in a community like Lafayette where giving of one's self and resources is built into the very fabric of Cajun culture.

A couple of weeks ago, the FiberKids from the Academy of Information Technology at Carencro High School, a nationally renown IT academy, led by Kit Becnel and a team of expert volunteers held a two-week summer camp to give kids the opportunity to leverage fiber and powerful digital media tools to create a 3D representation of the Horse Farm, a stretch of land many in the community want to see turned into a public park. She and her team continue to make unbelievable progress in building the workforce that's needed to feed into Lafayette's burgeoning digital economy.

Over the last few weeks I've had a chance to meet with a number of inspiring state leaders, including Paul Pastorek, state superintendent, whose no-nonsense approach makes him seem like the perfect partner to help fiber-powered school reform take hold, and Joel Robideaux, the LA House Speaker Pro Temp (essentially the number two guy in the LA House) who achieved his status as an independent and who I find to be incredibly pragmatic, curious, and thoughtful.

And that's not counting all of the local leaders that I am gaining infinite wisdom and insight from working with on a week-to-week basis. I feel blessed to have such a strong network of good, smart, hard-working people that I can surround myself with and that are willing to mentor me.

What's so amazing is that these stories are only the tip of the iceberg, both of what I've experienced personally, what I've heard about, and what still has yet to be discovered. And we haven't even gotten FiberCorps off the ground yet! (Lots more to come about FiberCorps to come. For an early more extended preview, check out this article in the Independent, one of Lafayette's top local newspapers.)

I wanted to start sharing some of these stories with all of you so those who weren't at FiberFete can begin to get a feel for Lafayette's potential and those that were there can continue to learn about this amazing community. While there are so many reasons for why I moved to Lafayette that have been validated, perhaps none of which has been more so than my belief in the potential of the people of Lafayette to do great things.

Look forward to hearing a lot more about some of Lafayette's superstars moving forward because I think this community has as good a chance as any in the country to be the place where big things happen as it relates to how communities can leverage fiber to drive economic development and improve the lives of their citizens.

But also know that while I might not be living in DC any more, that doesn't mean I'm leaving the broadband policy game behind. App-Rising.com will continue to speak truth to power, delivering commonsense insight into and constructive criticism of broadband policymaking in the US and abroad. The only difference is that you'll be getting a lot more firsthand stories of how fiber and broadband are changing people's lives.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.app-rising.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2168


We're glad you made the move to LA too, Geoff. But lest you forget the great eats and close proximity to your friends in New Orleans.

No matter the city in which you decided to land, we're glad it is in Louisiana (and a little thankful that it wasn't Baton Rouge).


It was a pleasure getting to meet you at Blue Moon for the launch party and I'm humbled that you happened to mention The Give Project among the host of other really intriguing happenings in the Lafayette tech. community.

I think you're exactly right, there's something special about the people of Lafayette, and tapping into that, tapping into community that is, has always been where Lafayette's strength lies.

It's just down right great to hear that things seem to be falling into place for you, and I hope that Lafayette becomes "home" for you as it seems to easily become that for a lot of people. Glad to have you here and would love to connect with you soon.

Give. Get. Give.
Chase Brumfield

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Geoff Daily published on September 7, 2010 10:18 AM.

Why Subsidizing Satellite "Broadband" Is A BAD Idea was the previous entry in this blog.

I Am Officially OVER Physical Media is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.