" I remember a long time ago, we were described in a magazine a trade publication about tourism, and it said we were 'an unlovely town'."
Gregg Gothreaux, leader of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), paused for a second, then uttered what I perceived to be a painfully blunt statement. “I thought that was a delicate way of saying that our looks don't match our pride.”
It was the ongoing theme of a recent discussion with Gothreaux. For there to be a cleaner Acadiana, he told me all citizens had to exhibit this. "Pride." And “pride”. And one more time. “Pride.”
And using that pride as a driving force, he continues, then upgrades and shows off another idea: “Quality of life.” And “quality of life”. And one more time. “Quality of life”.
The physicalities, or the visuals of Acadiana, move the needle on getting our guests to say, "Let's look at this".
It's the relationship between beautification and first impressions.
"That's the way we're gonna’ grow business, that's the way we're gonna’ attract business," says Gothreaux
It's putting resources into polishing up those first impression elements. “If you've only got a dollar to spend with a business budget then do it cleaning things up; do it making things look nice."
It's taking pride in the place we call ‘home’.
“Because the pride that you show in your community,” explains Gothreaux, “is reflected in your eyes and through the eyes of a visitor."
Every citizen-Lafayette, Acadiana, Louisiana-has to play a part in this, adds Gothreaux.
Picking up that piece of paper?
Tossing that cup into a receptacle?
Those kinds of things open doors and gets some well-deserved attention.
“Coming in and seeing how important this community is to every citizen is the differentiating factor in how we can attract business. How we can attract jobs. How we can create economic prosperity for everyone."
Need an idea? Try these:
Join a cleanup effort.
Or do it by yourself.
Trust me--- every little effort in the present… is plays a big part in our community's future.
“People take pride in Lafayette in our work ethic,” concludes Gothreaux. “People take pride in Acadiana in our work ethic. We need to take equal pride in a beautiful community."