Southeastern Channel airs 'Ten Years in One Day,' new documentary on north shore growth
Contact: Christina Chapple
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TEN YEARS IN ONE DAY – Steve Bellas, host of the "Northshore Business" special "Ten Years in One Day," discusses the north shore workforce shortage as he stands in front of residential construction taking place in Covington. The Southeastern Channel program explores accelerated growth and related concerns for the north shore since Hurricane Katrina. The show will air throughout the north shore Mondays at 7 p.m. and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Charter Cable Channel 18 (Channel 17 in Washington Parish).
HAMMOND -- Ten years in one day. That’s how far and fast Hurricane Katrina propelled north shore growth and economic development on August 29, 2005, according to regional economists, forecasters and developers.
For developer Jim Maurin, chairman of Stirling Properties, the time warp caused by supercharged post-Katrina growth boils down to a simple statistic for Tangipahoa Parish.
“Since the storm, over 6,000 new building lots have been developed,” Maurin said. “And another 7,000 lots have been permitted. You’re talking about a market before the storm in which we would do 600 or 700 homes a year.”
Maurin and other prominent north shore businessmen and officials share their insights on the amazing growth and resulting challenges in “Ten Years in One Day,” a one-hour “Northshore Business” special produced by the Emmy Award-winning Southeastern Channel.
Beginning July 23, the news documentary will on Mondays at 7 p.m. and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational access channel on Charter Cable Channel 18. The program was underwritten by Parish National Bank.
“Ten Years in One Day” features interviews with more than 40 state, parish and local officials and economists, consultants, developers, realtors, homebuilders, and attorneys from various north shore parishes.
“It was our goal to cover the growth situation from all angles and provide a comprehensive, accurate and informative program on the true state of the north shore economy,” said Rick Settoon, Southeastern Channel general manager and the show’s executive producer.
“I believe we’ve done that as well as uncover some of the huge challenges now facing north shore communities because of this growth,” Settoon said. “In that sense, this show offers a critical perspective and tool which voters can use to determine the future direction of their communities.”
“Ten Years in One Day” looks at the rapid rise of north shore population post-Katrina, especially in Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes, and the new dynamic which has accompanied that growth -- from the jump in sales tax revenues to the flurry of economic development with the influx of new businesses.
Other growth-related issues explored are the need for school facilities to keep up with the expanding population and the current workforce shortage with the increasing number of available jobs in the region.
The show looks at the post-Katrina boom in the real estate and construction industries and the spikes that have occurred in both residential and commercial construction. Local hotbeds of residential building are identified.
The program examines the skyrocketing prices of new homes, the affordability of these homes for the north shore population, and factors such as insurance costs and the Louisiana Road Home program. In addition, “Ten Years in One Day” describes infrastructure, planning and zoning challenges brought about by the increased growth, including the impact of Gulf Opportunity Zone legislation and new opportunities for regional developers.
Settoon and veteran broadcast journalist Steve Bellas, an instructor in Southeastern’s Department of Communication, produced the show. Bellas, who hosts the Southeastern Channel’s Telly Award-winning public affairs roundtable, “Northshore Focus,” also wrote, hosted and narrated “Ten Years in One Day.”
Bill Joubert, director of the Southeast Louisiana Business Center, provided additional research and consulting. Southeastern Channel staff members Jamie Bass, Steve Kleyle and Claude Levet videotaped the show, which was edited by Josh Kapusinski.
Bellas feels the show is important for north shore viewers.
“Our future is staring us in the face, and it’s happened a lot sooner than anyone could have predicted,” Bellas said. “Sometimes, we humans do miss the painfully obvious, but not in this case. And it’s up to those with fortitude to take advantage of opportunities opened up on the north shore.
“Those who moved here from the south shore and those who have long been here hopefully will take comfort that the panic home buying is long over, and that more normal economic trends will settle in, if all those expected businesses for the parishes do indeed come in.” Bellas said. “That means jobs, and it also means a new lease on education and training for those jobs.
“The trick is, will folks recognize the opportunities and jump on them in order to create even more opportunity?”
The Southeastern Channel can be seen on Charter Cable Channel 18 in Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. Tammany parishes and on Channel 17 in Washington Parish. It can also be seen online at www.selu.edu/tv.