It's New Orleans: Out to LunchIt's New Orleans: Out to Lunch

High Above New Orleans

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In September 2022, Apple announced the release of the iPhone 14. Since the creation of the iPhone in 2007, Apple has been responsible for almost every major innovation in cellular communication. Patents notwithstanding, these innovations almost always find their way onto other operating systems. So, what starts out on the iPhone ends up on every phone.

Apple’s iPhone 14 innovation is the addition of satellite service. Gone are the days of your phone not working while you’re at sea, when you’re hiking in Nepal, or out on your tractor in rural Louisiana. For millions of people worldwide out of the range of cell towers, this is a major development. It’s also a revolutionary life-saver for people who find themselves in danger someplace remote and need emergency medical or rescue services.

You might think Apple would turn to SpaceX to provide this kind of global satellite service. But they didn’t. They turned to a telecommunications and satellite company called Thermo/Globalstar. Thermo/Globalstar is headquartered in Covington, Louisiana. The Executive Director of the Board of Directors of the company is Jay Monroe.

Wherever you go in the world, you’ll never find anyplace quite like New Orleans.  However, because New Orleans is flat, the only way you get a bird’s-eye view of what our expansive city looks like is if you happen to be in someone’s office in one of the downtown high-rise buildings, like Place St Charles or Canal Place.

In that case, you’re probably there to see an attorney, so you’re probably not in a frame of mind to be gazing out the window enjoying the view. Here’s some good news. You can now enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the city of New Orleans without worrying about running up billable hours.

Vue Orleans is an observation deck on the 33rd and 34th floors of the Four Season’s Hotel. On the 34th floor you’re outside. On the roof. Inside, on the 33rd floor, you can interact with a series of high-tech installations that recreate experiences that are unique to New Orleans.

Vue Orleans is part of the transformation of the World Trade Center into the Four Seasons Hotel.  This transformation was designed and built by Woodward Design and Build, one of the largest design and construction companies in the Gulf South. The President and CEO of Woodward Design and Build is Paul Flower.

It seems like ever since humans started walking on earth we’ve looked up and wished we could fly like birds. To experience the freedom of flight. But also to see what they see from up there.

For centuries, in lieu of flying we climbed to the highest point we could get to. And we often built fortifications, and even whole villages there.

While our ancestors were scaling hilltops, they were communicating with each other over the greatest distances they could with all kinds of innovations, from drumming to carrier pigeons.

The point we’ve reached today is extraordinary. Satellite cellphone technology makes it possible for a person in even the most remote location on earth to communicate with anybody anywhere. What’s equally amazing is that this final frontier has been crossed by technology created in Covington Louisiana.

While you’re pondering Covington-powered radio waves bouncing through the heavens, you can go from 5 feet below sea level up 34 floors in an elevator and look down on the city below, at Vue Orleans in the Four Seasons Hotel Building.

It's enlightening to even just scratch the surface of everything you’re Jay Monroe and Paul Flower are up to.

Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. You can find photos from this show by Jill Lafleur at

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