Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Where Heart Meets Soul, Art Meets Commerce

This article in The Daily Advertiser today.

Downtown gets new online address
Arnessa M. Garrett

Downtown has long been the place where the city's arts, culture and business worlds collide. Now, those worlds have been brought together online as well.

The new Web site - - aims to be a Mecca for locals and visitors to get the scoop on the latest happenings in the downtown area.

The site, officially launched Tuesday, provides calendars for events such as Downtown Alive!, maps of the area, lists of shops and restaurants and a guide to commercial and residential property.
"It's the end-all, be-all stop for what's going on downtown," said Michelle Ezell, president of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited, which developed the Web site with the Downtown Development Authority.

Ezell, owner of Tsunami restaurant, said tourists at her restaurant often say they are drawn to downtown's eclectic mix. The Web site can help the city advertise that uniqueness to a wider audience, she said.

The downtown area had a Web site two years ago, said Cathy Webre, director of the Downtown Development Authority. But since then, downtown's online presence has been split between the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Bureau site for cultural events like Festival International, and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority site for information on commercial development.

The new site addresses all aspects of downtown, including residential listings, much sought after since the few apartments downtown are never vacant for long.

Webre also touted the online business directory, which she said will be useful to businesses located in the area to find goods and services nearby.

"They can get links to everybody to get what they need," she said.

Abbie Feerick, owner of the downtown hair salon Studio 121, said the site launch adds a new element to doing business downtown.

"I think it's fantastic. I hope we can link to it," she said.