Liam Doyle: Acadiana Access Advocate

Liam Doyle of Lafayette, LA.

Liam Doyle has been had mobility issues since he was born. He used a walker to get around in elementary school, but shifted to a chair in middle school because the campus was larger and he had to get around to classes.

He graduated from Lafayette High, one of the largest high schools in the state that operates on a campus built 50 years ago to accommodate a student body about half the size of the one there now.

He’s 28 now, working on an associate degree in History at South Louisiana Community College and plans to attend UL Lafayette when he finishes up his last class in the next semester. He’s just passed the battery of tests needed to show he has the capacity to drive a car.

And he’s got his hands full working with Lafayette Consolidated Government to improve physical access to public spaces and businesses in the City of Lafayette. He chairs the Mayor-President’s Awareness Committee for Citizens with Disabilities, so is pretty officially in the business of removing barriers to access.

Even though LCG is the parish government here, because of we have semi-consolidated government here LCG has no authority in the small municipalities that remain in the parish after Lafayette lost its mayor and council to the parish. It’s a complicated yet subtle form of discrimination against city residents who provide much of the funding for the parish.

In the podcast of our conversation, Doyle says he’s found his voice and maybe his calling in the role of advocate for the disabled in Lafayette. It was the role that thrust him into the public spotlight just over two years ago and it’s a role he’s developed a comfort with in dealing with public and private entities as he has gone about the work of making Lafayette accessible for all of us.

He’s got a great story! We get to a good bit of it in this interview.

The podcast also includes a segment about recent developments in connection with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s Coastal Master Plan. It was recorded before St. John the Baptist Parish became the sixth parish to file suit against oil and gas companies for damage they did to wetlands by way of exploration activities in the Coastal Zone of that parish.

If oil and gas won’t pay, we can’t stay in South Louisiana.

•••

Thanks to Matt Roberts, AOC’s Community Production Manager for help locating the music used in this segment.

A Foolish Game by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/55394 Ft: Snowflake