OUT TO LUNCH finds creative business consultant Aileen Bennett conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Aileen invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join her. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana business community. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.
The tension between town and country has been around since the Industrial Revolution. It exists in every developed nation where there are cities. The fact is, cities depend on surrounding rural regions to produce food. And rural regions depend on cities to produce manufactured goods, even as basic to their survival as tractors and shovels. But because of economics, politics, and other factors, we frequently find urban and rural populations at odds with each other.
Here in Acadiana, if you live on a farm or in a small town, you have a certain perception of Lafayette. It’s too big, it’s too busy, it’s dangerous, and you don’t go there unless you really need to. It’s the same perception people in Upstate New York have of Manhattan, or people in Bakersfield have of Los Angeles. It gets even more granular here. If you live in Lafayette itself, you might have similar feelings about downtown versus your neighborhood. That’s why there’s an organization dedicated to keeping downtown Lafayette thriving, and making sure we all know that it’s a safe and great place to live, work, eat, shop, and play. That organization is the Lafayette Downtown Development Authority.
Anita Begnaud is CEO of the Lafayette Downtown Development Authority.
Besides economics and politics, there are other factors that have come to pit urban and rural communities against each other. The biggest of these other factors is perception. Or, in many cases, misperception. Cities get the reputation of being places that are dangerous and unwelcoming. Those reputations are often the result of reports of incidents that may in themselves be true, but the way these events are presented to us gives them a weight that is often disproportionate to reality. That method of presentation of information is Television.
From the mid 20th century on, TV, and especially TV news, has had an enormous influence on how we see the world. Including how we see ourselves in Acadiana. If you’re the gatekeeper of that perception, you have a big responsibility. Here in Lafayette, that role belongs to Sean Trcalek.
Sean is the General Manager of KADN-FOX15, KLAF-NBC, and MyNetwork Acadiana.