SOUND AND LIGHTS

There are moments when you can see a very clear snapshot of the end game. A recent Saturday night was one of those times. There has been much discussion currently about what we will become as a community and region. Possibilities seem to be endless and a bit nebulous. The difficulty is to be able to visualize what this will all mean to us. So, here is my example.

Saturday afternoon, I stopped by a local grocery for some smoked sausage and boudin. Banners was presenting the first of our Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers and the topic was the culture of food. Those items seemed to be fairly good examples of our food culture. Three other customers stood with me. Each clearly dressed to let me know that they were headed to the stadium for McNeese’s football game.

As I arrived on campus, the band was warming up on the quad. People were walking across campus to join friends for the game. As I approached the Shearman Fine Arts building, I could hear a piano student in the practice room. At the same time, a Justin Timberlake tune was playing somewhere in the parking lot. As I walked through the Grand Gallery, an exhibit of faculty art was being installed. A family was walking through to look it over.

The movie was great as was the filmmaker. Our small crowd was enthusiastic and leisurely chatted with him. As I was leaving, a friend texted me to say that they were gathering downtown and I should join. I spent some time with my friends and then headed home.

Well, Patricia, that is very nearly the most boring story I have ever read. Point taken, but that was not my point. Here is what I saw. There were many events happening not just on campus, but in the community in general. McNeese’s Athletic Department worked their magic. Another fairly popular school across the state had their fans gathered in homes and sports bars in support. Banners brought a nationally recognized expert in to show his film. Live music was playing downtown and you could have a tasty meal as well.

That can become the norm for our community. I look forward to looking through the list of choices for the evening and being forced to choose. I want to meet the couple from Beaumont that drove over to hear a band they like or eat at a restaurant that is not in their town. I want to head downtown for a poetry reading and a good latte. And I would secretly really love to find an ice cream parlor around a corner someday. No one knows what our town will look like in 5 years. It is up to us to be sure that we take advantage of this opportunity to become the destination that we seek.