Post-Katrina: New Orleans’ New Joe W. Brown Memorial Park, Part 2
Nov 21, 2013 10:50 AM, With Bennett Liles
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First there was a flood, then a swamp, and now it’s a beautiful sports park with a football stadium and soccer field in East New Orleans. Technical Services Group in Baton Rouge had to come up with a sound system that could handle tough weather and keep on going. Patrick Meek is here to wrap up his story about how it all happened. That’s coming up right now on the SVC Podcast.
SVC: Patrick, thanks for being back for part two and we’re talking about the Joe W. Brown Memorial Park in New Orleans, which was under water after Hurricane Katrina. With lots of help and sponsorships they got it cleaned up and eventually built a new football stadium and soccer complex there. Technical Services Group put sound systems and wireless mics in both venues. That was a lot to do. What was the timeframe on all of this? Was it a rush job or did you have time to figure things out as you went along?
Patrick Meek: No. No time at all. It was a pretty tight timeframe. It’s unfortunate, of course, being in south Louisiana, we never know what the weather’s going to be like. So we were scheduled in August to complete our portion of the project. We had just a couple of weeks to be able to get ours in. But of course we had some nasty weather, and with that nasty weather came swamp-like conditions out there at the field. That being the case, we had to wait on the press box to be installed before we could install our speakers and our head-end equipment in that press box. So, you know, with the ground the way it was they were not able to get the heavy machinery in to accomplish that, so it was tough on us trying to get it in before the football season started with, unfortunately because of delays on the construction side. Because of weather, we finished up around mid September of 2012. [Timestamp: 2:05]
Yeah, when you have that many different outfits working on one project, one gets delayed and there’s the big domino effect of everybody getting bogged down. You’ve got a lot of area to cover with the sound. What are the cable runs like from the amps in the press box to the Community Speaker arrays?
Well, I mean the Communities were right on top of the press box, so the runs weren’t bad at all. We went with a heavy-duty 12/2 West Penn wire. But we were fortunate enough to work with the contractor and the electrical contractor onsite that gave us the proper conduit in place to be able to run those cables with fairly short lengths. [Timestamp: 2:39]
And we talked a little about this in part one, but how do the sound systems differ between the one you put in for the football stadium and the other one for the soccer field?
The main thing would be the loudspeakers. Of course we went with Community R.5s. We only had a single side of bleachers to cover for the soccer stadium, so we did not need the kind of horsepower or the type of system that we needed for the football stadium. But in using the R.5s, we were able to use the Pema, as we had spoken about previously, the 8250, which was the 8x250 70V amplifier with the Protea equipped. Then also again, we used the actually RW8C 8-channel wall remote lever. The only other difference between the two systems was the microphone system. With only really needing local coverage for the microphones we went with a Sennheiser VWG3 series handheld and lavalier. So really that was the only main differences between the systems. [Timestamp: 3:48]
And did you rig the wireless mic receiving antennas the same way on the soccer field as you did on the football stadium with the remote antennas?
Correct. Correct. We did.
Well, when you get that turned on and tested, if it works and it’s a tough system, you should be able to depend on it once it’s set up right. Did you have to bring people in and train the locals there on this stuff? It sounds like it’s pretty easy to operate and control.
We did. We did. We had some of the representatives from City of New Orleans that are over the Parks and Recreation Department that came out and we did a training for them and they were very pleased with the system; how it operated, how it sounded, being able to have the consistency between the two systems of the ease of use and the same control panel for each, they were very excited about. [Timestamp: 4:32]
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