Downtown Lafayette: Then and now

Michele Ezell, owner of Tsunami restaurant in Lafayette, acknowledges that local business owners consider her a pioneer. Back in 2000, she was one of the first restaurateurs to open up shop in the area and spark a downtown renaissance.

“Why cant we be a little Italy or little China or little Germantown or just somewhere where people can come down here and get all different kind of foods.” said Ezell.

“The truth is that downtown was in rough shape twenty-five years ago.” said Nathan Norris.

Nathan Norris, Chief Executive Officer of Downtown Development Authority, says the area has come a long way, but is still in its beginning stages.

“One of the first cycles is just building up an employment base and then you got a cycle after that where you likely to generate an entertainment district.” said Norris.

Businesses, like CSE Icon, who have brought — class 'a' — or high-quality office space in the area to nearly full capacity.

“We felt that to grow and to attract the talent that we desire that being downtown would provide us the best opportunity for that.” said John Miller.

John Miller, Vice-President of Operations at CSE Icon, says that talent is…

“A younger technical crowd that enjoys the downtown feel a lot of these guys have lived in other cities.” said Miller.

The last of Norris' stages of downtown development.

When it comes to businesses and an entertainment district if you build them, they will come and live.

“We don't have high quality city living and so long as we don't have that we're going to be missing out on the opportunity to attract and retain talent in this community.” said Norris.

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