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Post-Katrina: New Orleans’ New Joe W. Brown Memorial Park, Part 1

Nov 7, 2013 11:11 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

The football stadium at Joe W. Brown Memorial Park in east New Orleans equipped with Community speaker arrays.

What was once a flooded swamp in East New Orleans is now a beautiful athletic park with a top-notch football stadium. Technical Services Group in Baton Rouge was called in to install a very tough sound system and Patrick Meek from TSG is going to tell us how that went, coming up next on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Patrick, thanks for joining us on the SVC Podcast from Technical Services Group in Baton Rouge, La., down there in the bayou country. We’ve got a very big project with some big name sponsors in the Joe W. Brown Memorial Park in East New Orleans; a brand new football stadium and soccer venue there. First let’s hear a little about Technical Services Group. How long has that company been around and what sort of AV projects do you do?

Patrick Meek: Well, I appreciate the opportunity that’s been given to me to do this. Technical Services Group, we were founded approximately 30 years ago by the owner of our company—Bo Hoover. We are a technology company that specializes in AV and broadcast. Our home office is in Baton Rouge, however, we do cover a lot of the South, including New Orleans, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and over into Mississippi, Alabama as well.

You have a lot going on.

Yes, we do. We have a lot going on. We work in the public sector with big projects as well as design/build, and consulting as well for special customers. [Timestamp: 1:50]

Well, this one was a special situation. I don’t think we’ve had one on the SVC Podcast like this one because of how far the area came after Hurricane Katrina, where the whole area was devastated to what it is now which is a beautiful dual athletic park for football and soccer. But that park in the aftermath was under what, about 7ft. of water? And the project had some very respectable backers.

The area that this park was built in is right next to the swamp, so yes, it was a very badly damaged part of New Orleans East. It’s a good revitalization of the facilities. From my understanding there was not a football stadium there previously, definitely not one of this caliber, but we were definitely fortunate to be able to work on this project. We were working with CH2M Hill, who iwas the general contractor and also design consultant for the project. We were fortunate to be able to work on this project. It was being sponsored by Nike, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Foundation, and also the Drew Brees Foundation, who helped us along with the new football and track and soccer field as well. [Timestamp: 2:58]

No small project. They spent a considerable sum on getting this all done and now that we’re in football season people are used to seeing immaculately laid out football fields and this one is just a magnificent looking stadium. What was the scope of the project for Technical Services Group? Was your part of it mainly the sound system?

That’s correct. We were brought in as a design/build consultant to be able to design a sound reinforcement system for their football stadium as well as for the track and field/soccer field. [Timestamp: 3:28]

Okay, and that’s a big enough job. Obviously you had to select components that not only work well together but that would be capable of withstanding some pretty challenging weather conditions. I believe I saw you went with Ashly systems for amps and processing, so what was the advantage with that line of gear? Were you used to using that?

Yes, we did go with the Ashly Protea processing for both portions of the project. The football stadium has a Ashly Protea processor along with QSC amplifiers. And the track and field and soccer has the Ashly Pema 8250, which is the Protea-equipped media amplifier. Both of the systems, we wanted to try to make them as easy to use as possible. We used the RW-8C wall-mount remote lever controller for slide controls for ease of use. Since this is a public facility, we wanted to make sure that the continuity between the two systems was used so if somebody went in between the two they would be able to use either one of them flawlessly. [Timestamp: 4:30]

And the Ashly RW-8C is pretty easy for anybody to walk in and operate. I think it’s just a four-gang wall plate with something like eight inputs.

That’s correct. We gave them eight slide levers with mute controls.

Was that unit something you had put in before or was that particular controller something new for you?

Oh no, we’ve used the Protea system for quite a few years. This is the first time we did integrate with the Pema system, the Protea amplifier, but we have continued to use it since then and we’ll continue to use it as it is very rock solid as well as very affordable. [Timestamp: 5:04]

So on the football stadium the control point is going to be somewhere up there in the press box area at the top level of the stands?

Yes. They have press boxes in both fields. Of course the football stadium is quite more expansive than the track and field and soccer. They did have a home side, a visitors’ side, as well as an area for the announcers in the middle. The RW-8C control panel is mounted into the desk or into the surface. [Timestamp: 5:29]

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