Tuesday, 08 November 2011 19:19

Louisiana Business: Landrieu And Broadband Grant, Verizon Innovation Awards, Salazar, Lion King, YLS

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Landrieu, Broadband Grant 

U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., has sent a letter to the Department of Commerce requesting a report on potential avenues to salvage an $80 million rural broadband grant awarded to Louisiana that was rescinded last month after state officials were unable to meet necessary deadlines for completion of the project.

The grant, which was awarded last year through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), would have targeted 21 parishes in rural Louisiana, including those in the Louisiana Delta Region and the four federally-recognized Native American Indian Tribes.


In her letter to Lawrence E. Strickling, Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the Commerce Department, Sen. Landrieu wrote, “Like you, I am extremely frustrated that the state of Louisiana could not meet necessary deadlines to complete this important project. This award presented a rare opportunity to directly improve the everyday lives of residents in some of the most underserved and rural parts of Central and Northeastern Louisiana. Because of this failure by the state, I am interested in what remaining opportunities, if any exist to salvage this project. For example, many in Louisiana have inquired if any of these funds may be reallocated to the targeted parishes or local governments to carry out the project.”

To read Sen. Landrieu’s letter to the Department of Commerce, click here.

As originally envisioned, the Louisiana Broadband Alliance, a collaboration among six state agencies, planned to deploy more than 900 miles of fiber-optic network to expand broadband Internet service in some of the most economically distressed regions of Louisiana. The new network intended to provide direct connections for more than 80 community-anchor institutions including universities, K-12 schools, libraries and health care facilities. The 3,488-square-mile service area included 12 impoverished parishes targeted by the state’s “Louisiana Delta Initiative” and a separate five-parish area that is home to four federally-recognized American Indian Tribes. The new network would have connected to the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI), a more than 1,600-mile, fiber-optic network that connected Louisiana and Mississippi research universities to National LambdaRail and Internet2. 

Earlier this year, the state of Louisiana assumed overall control of the project due to initial setbacks with its implementation.  After taking control, the state proposed significantly modifying the project – from a network design proposal to a proposal centered on purchasing indefeasible rights-of-use (IRUs) from local providers.  This new approach unto itself was not problematic and has been done in other states receiving ARRA funds.  However, this request for alternate design repeatedly failed to demonstrate to federal officials that it would allow them to complete the project on time and accomplish the same goals as the original application. 

This lack of details and specificity, for example on benefits to local universities and where/when fiber would be deployed in the state, effectively doomed the project. Despite repeated requests and extensions from federal officials, the state was unable to provide sufficient clarity that its new proposal would be completed on schedule and provide similar benefits as the original application.

Verizon Wireless-Innovation Awards

Verizon Wireless will host the 2011 Innovation Awards on Thursday, Nov. 10 from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Loews Hotel in New Orleans. More than 60 companies from New Orleans and Baton Rouge applied for two $10,000 awards for the most innovative use of mobile technology in their business operations. 

Small- and medium-size companies in industries including healthcare, construction, oil and gas, information technology and hospitality  submitted applications outlining the way they leverage mobile technology to engage in machine-to-machine communication, remote customer service accessibility, electronic medical record-keeping and other state-of-the-art business processes.

Event registration for the 2011 Innovation Awards can be found at https://secure.e-ventcentral.com/event.registry/neworleansRSVP/.

Salazar And Outer Continental Shelf

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, which makes more than 75 percent of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources estimated in federal offshore areas available for exploration and development.

The Proposed Program, which is in line with President Obama’s direction to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic production, includes six offshore areas where there are currently active leases and exploration, and where there is known or anticipated hydrocarbon potential.  It schedules 15 potential lease sales for the 2012-2017 period – 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska. 

East Jefferson General Hospital

East Jefferson General Hospital today announced an expanded presence in the growing mobile market through a partnership with iTriage® – a consumer healthcare application that gives users quick and easy access to medical information. iTriage is available as a free download through app stores for iPhone® and Android® mobile devices, or through any Internet-enabled device at www.iTriageHealth.com.

Lion King

THE LION KING New Orleans premiere five-week engagement begins performances on Wednesday, March 14 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater and will play through Sunday, April 15. The on-sale is anticipated to be one of the largest on-sale events to ever take place in the area.

In cities across North America, the average line for THE LION KING single ticket on-sale is between one and two city blocks long, with the first ticket buyer arriving the evening prior.

Several hundred tickets buyers expected in line – at least – by 8 a.m. Possible 1,000 ticket buyers during the day expected to purchase tickets in person at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Shreveport Jazz and Blues Festival

The 2011 Highland Jazz and Blues Festival, presented by MetroPCS, will take place 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19 at Columbia Park in Shreveport’s historic Highland neighborhood. The annual festival, which features two stages of non-stop live music, food vendors, and an Artist’s Alley, is free to attend. Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a critically-acclaimed Dixieland Jazz collective from New Orleans, will headline a roster of blues and jazz performers including Buddy Flett, Wes Jeans, Jazziana, David Egan, Fannin Street Players with Danny Wilder, Stiff Necked Fools, Soul Fish, Jimmy Wooten Trio, and more. Columbia Park is located at 700 Columbia Street in Shreveport.

In addition to live music, the festival is known for attracting an uncommon variety of food vendors. Offerings include Cajun jambalaya, Caribbean jerk chicken, locally-roasted gourmet coffees, and more. Artist’s Alley will feature local artists and artisans selling items including hand-made jewelry and original works of art, jams and jellies, and home décor.   

Now in its eighth year, the Highland Jazz and Blues Festival is supported by the City of Shreveport and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. The Highland Jazz & Blues Festival is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit arts organization

YLS, Iberia Bank and Harrah's 

This Saturday, Iberia Bank and Harrah’s Hotel and Casino are teaming up with the YLC for its 4th park clean-up project at Soraparu Playground from 9am – 1pm (or until the work is complete). The group will perform tasks including planting 38 trees, mulching, repainting the basketball courts, removing graffiti, installing picnic tables and additional bollards, replacing basketball nets and repairing the fence.

The YLC is coordinating this effort to once again leave its mark on the city for its 25th Anniversary.

Watch the Bayoubuzz Event Videos:

Bayoubuzz Staff

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