Teaching for Excellence: Department of Teaching & Learning Featured in New WYES Program

In October 2016, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), with support from the Louisiana Board of Regents (BoR), adopted landmark regulations to expand yearlong residencies and competency-based curricula statewide for teacher preparation programs. By July 2018, all teacher preparation programs in Louisiana will include a yearlong residency alongside an expert mentor, and all preparation programs will include a competency-based curriculum that will provide teacher candidates with the knowledge and skills needed in order to be prepared for their first years of teaching.

The residency program designed by Southeastern’s Department of Teaching and Learning was recently highlighted by local television station WYES for its year-long student teaching residency. The documentary focused on the reciprocal relationship between mentors and teacher candidates and also highlighted how the program enhances the overall relationships between the university and school districts.

“The show also focused on how this process will assist with addressing the teacher shortage,” said Department of Teaching and Learning Transition Coordinator Jordan Ahrend.

The program  can be seen at https://www.wyes.org/tv/teaching/.

Meet the New Miss Southeastern: Chelsey Blank

Southeastern accounting major Chelsey Blank of Paulina has been chosen Miss Southeastern 2019. Blank received her crown from Miss Southeastern 2018 Alyssa Larose of Kenner at the annual pageant Friday, November 30, at Southeastern’s Vonnie Borden Theatre.

Sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, the pageant is affiliated with the Miss America Pageant system. Blank will advance to the Miss Louisiana pageant that will be held in Monroe in June.

Learn more about your new Miss Southeastern in this Southeastern Magazine interview:

Out&About, Chelsea

Giving Back with Canines & Cupcakes

On Saturday, December 1, Southeastern’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences hosted a dog-gone good time for a “pawsatively” worthy cause—its first ever Canines and Cupcakes fundraiser. The event for canines and their owners took place at Southeastern’s Kinesiology Building.

Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Ann Carruth said the event was not only a fundraiser for the Nursing and Health Sciences Foundation to promote student educational activities, but it also served as a stress reliever for students as final exams approached. Families considering getting a dog over the holidays were also encouraged to attend and learn about dog ownership.

“It was a fun-filled day of yoga, with mats provided, games, paw and law prints, photos with Roomie and the Grinch and, of course, cupcake decorating at our cupcake station,” she said. “Attendees could bring their canine companions for some exercise, fun activities, and demonstrations throughout the event.”

Activities included demonstrations by Southeastern’s Communication Sciences and Disorders animal assisted therapy department; dog-training techniques courtesy of Dog Gone Right, LLC; education on heart worm prevention from Crosspoint Veterinary Hospital; and safe food handling instruction, especially during the holidays, by Northshore Technical Community College’s Vet Tech Program. Hammond Police were on hand to fingerprint children, and volunteers helped paw print dogs.

To add to the fun, a costume contest awarded prizes for best Christmas character portrayal (human and canine), best use of Christmas colors (human and canine), best doggie Christmas character (canine only), most Christmas look-alike (human and canine), and ugliest Christmas sweater (human only).

Vendors for dog-themed shopping, paw print face painting, a kissing booth where attendees could volunteer their dogs to give kisses, games, and music were also included in the day’s activities.

Your Guide to 2018 Winter Commencement

Winter commencement is almost here! Whether you have a loved one graduating or simply want to be a part of this special Southeastern tradition, there are a few things to keep in mind to help the day go smoothly. A few changes have been made, including alterations to the list of allowed items, the addition of bag checks, an increased number of attendants to assist guests, and live streaming of the big event on the The Southeastern Channel. Please continuing reading below for further information, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Time & Place

Doctoral, Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associates Degree Ceremony
Saturday, December 8, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.
University Center, 800 West University Avenue
Doors open at 8:00 a.m.
The commencement ceremony is anticipated to last until 12:30 p.m.

Live Stream

Watch the ceremony online on the Southeastern Channel’s live stream.

Parking & Seating


Complimentary parking is available in all campus parking lots to guests attending the commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 8.  Guests walking from South Campus to the University Center should utilize the tunnel for the safest route.

Accessible parking at the University Center is limited and is on a first-come basis. Please note that disabled plates and/or hang tags are required to secure space in lots reserved for accessible commencement parking.

A complimentary commencement shuttle will be available on Saturday, December 8, to transport guests from (the Gen Pershing and Univ/Oak Street parking lots) to the University Center. The shuttle will operate before and following the ceremony. One (1) bus will have wheelchair accessibility.

The doors to the University Center will be opened for guests at least one hour before the start of the ceremony. We kindly ask that you refrain from saving seats out of consideration for other guests. Seating is available on a first-come basis so groups should plan to arrive early to find seats together.

For suggested parking lots and a layout of the University Center, please refer to the below maps.

Commencement_maps (1)


Etiquette & Prohibited Items

Commencement is a ceremonious occasion honoring your student’s accomplishments. Decorum and courtesy are important to you, as well as to all degree candidates and their families. Guests and graduates are encouraged to remain for the duration of the ceremony.

  • Once seated, all participants are expected to stay until the conclusion of the ceremony.
  • Cell phones and other electronic devices should be silenced.
  • Candidates should plan to meet their guests outside the University Center as guests are not allowed on the arena floor or stage.
  • Southeastern maintains the historic tradition of each degree candidate shaking hands with the President as his / her name is called. The last degree candidate is as important as the first so we ask guests to be considerate and keep celebratory applause to a minimum so that each graduate’s name can be heard.

Prohibited Items
For security purposes, all commencement attendees are asked to limit the handbags, camera bags, and tote bags they bring with them to only those that are absolutely necessary. All articles brought into the facility will be subject to search, and this may delay attendees from entering the University Center.

To ensure a safe and comfortable Commencement, the following items are strictly prohibited from being brought into the University Center:

Containers of any kind (including but not limited to coolers, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans, flasks)
Aerosol and spray cans
Animals (except for service animals for persons with a disability)
Balloons and beach balls
Alcoholic Beverages
Signs, banners, and flags
Laser pointers
Noisemakers (including but not limited to whistles, air horns, bull horns, sirens, thunder sticks, etc.)
Confetti, glitter, streamers, and silly string
Fireworks, party poppers, and sparklers


Inclement Weather Policy

We are hopeful that Mother Nature will cooperate in the celebration, but as the 2017 snow day proved, inclement weather is possible.  To ensure a safe commencement, the following plans are in place:

  1. The ceremony is scheduled to take place rain or shine. Given the size of the gathering, it’s not feasible to move the ceremony to an alternate date.
    1. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony may be delayed, paused, or canceled. The safety of our guests is our highest priority.
    2. If a schedule adjustment is required prior to your arrival, information will be shared via email, social media (facebook.com/southeastern, Instagram.com/oursoutheastern,  twitter.com/oursoutheastern), website, and local news media.
  2. At the venue, instructions will be given via the stage announcer. Graduates and guests are asked to listen for announcements and remain seated until otherwise instructed.


The commencement ceremony will be fully accessible. Accessible seating will be available for individuals with disabilities or guests with limited mobility. ASL interpreters will be on site. Guests who utilize sign language interpreting services should sit in sections 114 and 115.

Seating Accommodations
If you or anyone in your party is in need of accessible seating or assistance, we recommend arriving early as the seating will be determined on a first-come basis. Accessible seating is limited to only those guests who require it. The seats will be for the person with accessible needs and for one companion. No pre-ticketing will occur for accessible seating.

Wheelchair Seating Locations
Wheelchair and wheelchair companion locations are scattered throughout the main level concourse 100 level at sections 104, 109 and 110.

Street-level entry to the building is through gates 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 on the north side of facility. Passenger elevators with priority for persons with disabilities are available at gate 5, near section 111/112.

The public restrooms are accessible and all contain diaper-changing stations.

The concession stand is accessible.

Messages and Emergency Information
In case of an emergency, the ASL interpreter will alert the deaf and those hard of hearing. Emergency messages will be announced from the stage via the announcer.

Additional Activities
Lion4Life Launch Party

December 6 | 2:30-4:40 p.m.

Golden Grad Reunion Luncheon
December 7 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Register Online

Golden Grad Commencement Breakfast
December 8 | 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Register Online

Hotels & Restaurants
To plan your weekend in Hammond, go to www.tangitourism.com.  Enjoy your time in beautiful Hammond, America!

Interview with Head Coach Frank Scelfo

Southeastern named Frank Scelfo the 16th head football coach in program history on January 30, 2018. Southeastern Magazine sat down with the 59-year-old Abbeville, Louisiana, native heading into his first season patrolling the lion sidelines to find out more about the man and his plans for SLU.


Your background as a student-athlete was as a baseball player (Scelfo starred on the diamond at ULM from 1978-81 and was named the school’s Athlete of the Year as a senior). How did you make the transition from being a baseball guy to a football guy?

My dad coached football and baseball, so every fall I was at football practice with him as long as I can remember. That’s just what we did. We played football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring. When I graduated high school, I signed a football scholarship with ULM (then Northeast Louisiana) with coach John David Crow and was planning on playing both football and baseball.

I decided to focus on baseball, because I thought I might have a chance to play at the next level. Even though I didn’t play football, my passion for the game never waned. Although I wasn’t on the team, Coach Crow allowed me to work with his staff as a student assistant. My first job was at Prairie View Academy in Bastrop and I was the football and baseball coach. I love both sports, but my opportunities came in football, so that’s the way I went.

How did your dad being a coach influence you as you were growing up?

Everything I am came from my parents. I was one of eight kids, and all eight of us graduated college. They were doing something right to go eight for eight. We learned so many lessons growing up that we didn’t even realize we were even learning. I don’t coach for a living; a coach is just what I am. Even when I was watching my sons playing as they grew up, it’s hard to just watch as a fan. I’m always analyzing what I’m watching from a coach’s perspective, and I think I get that from my dad.

After a game that he won, my dad would always still see the issues his teams had. It took me becoming a coach myself to truly understand. Even when you win, there’s always room for improvement. On the flip side, he was never devastated by the losses. He knew there was always another chance to be better the next day.


Is there a moment during your career that you would consider your first big break?

No. My dad told me when I first started, “Make every job your last one.” If other opportunities come and you want to take them, that’s fine. But if you treat the job you’re doing today like it’s your last, you’ll be sure to make it the best job you can. I just wanted to do the best I could at wherever I was at the time. I just want to coach.”

Besides your father, who were some of the coaches who influenced you during your career?

Everyone I’ve worked with has had an impact on me. Frank Monica taught me a lot when I was coaching under him at Jesuit High School. Dickey Meeks at Chapel Hill High School along with Buddy Teevens, Tommy Bowden, and my brother Chris at Tulane were all people who taught me things that I use to this day.

I learned from Derek Dooley at Louisiana Tech and Mike Stoops at Arizona, and those are two guys who draw on a wealth of knowledge from a lot of different people. Gus Bradley at Jacksonville was a great influence. I took a lot of things from all of those guys.

How proud are you of the influence you’ve had on coaches and players you’ve worked with over the years?

Making a difference in the lives of the players we coach is the most important aspect of coaching. If you’re just in for the numbers on the scoreboard or on a paycheck, you’re not going to be a coach very long. If we teach our players to do the right things, which they can carry with them for the rest of their lives, positive results are going to come on the field. I’ve talked to a lot of my old players, and it’s amazing the things that impacted them that I didn’t even realize would have an effect.”

Why Southeastern?

This is home for me, and it’s great to come home after coaching all over the county. I developed an affinity for Southeastern when I used to come work the Manning Passing Academy and when we came here for training camp when I was at Tulane. The campus, the city, and the area are just all beautiful. My wife and I love the people here.

I’ve always looked at Southeastern and said, “That would be a great job.” I’ve always loved Hammond. When I interviewed for the job, it was exciting to see the growth throughout the University and the city. This was an easy call to come to Southeastern.

Where do you want to take the Lion Football program?

Football-wise, I want to consistently be a force on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. Academically, we have to do a better job as a football program of stressing the importance for our student-athletes to get a college degree. We want our players to be able to contribute to society in a positive manner. And then hopefully down the line, they’ll think so highly of their time at Southeastern that they’re willing to give back to the program so we can continue to give student-athletes opportunities.

Everything we’re doing now is built for the long term. We want to set ourselves up for long-term success.

The three pillars of the Southeastern Athletics mission statement are excellence in competition, in the classroom, and in the community. Your program has adopted Child Advocacy Services’ Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) as a charity this season. How important is being involved with CASA to you and your players?

It gives the members of our program the realization of how much they can impact others’ lives. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Our players can be influenced by the kids they mentor, and that experience will be a great life lesson for our student-athletes. We can also show these kids that someone cares about them and they too have a chance to reach their goals.

We’re also hoping that more of our fans will consider being CASA volunteers. If we do our job, we’ll have a huge influence on the city of Hammond and Tangipahoa Parish through our partnership with CASA.

Supply Chain Management Program Among Top in the Nation

Southeastern Louisiana University’s Supply Chain Management Program has been recognized among the top in the nation for 2019 by Study.com, a website that helps students research potential schools, degrees, and careers.

The website recognized 23 colleges and universities on the list. According to Study.com, the schools were selected based on unique features that give students an edge in the job market. The listed colleges and universities offer real-life training, simulations of actual supply chains, or hands-on projects, and many of them provide flexible course schedules or the convenience of online study, the website said.

“Our faculty, business partners, and alumni take an active interest in helping students find jobs in their majors,” said Dean of the College of Business Antoinette Phillips. “Supply Chain Management students have opportunities for real world experiences that make them job-ready, and able to contribute to their employers’ success from day one.”

As the only Louisiana school on the list, Southeastern was selected based on career and educational resources, faculty, job placement, and more. The complete list can be accessed here.

The website cited Southeastern’s close ties with the Institute for Supply Management, a not-for-profit professional organization for supply chain management, as one of the reasons for being selected. It also stated that students enrolled in the supply chain management program are engaged in practical learning as well as classroom education, and that the school’s Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management supports purchasing and logistics functions of regional retailers, wholesalers, and distributors.

Additionally, Southeastern’s program offers a variety of internships for its students, including those at Cal-Maine Foods, Marathon Petroleum, Wal-Mart Logistics, Coca-Cola, and The State of Louisiana’s Office of Procurement. Students who graduate from the program have gone on to work for employers such as Lock-Heed Martin, Pool Corp., Smitty’s Supply, Cisco, and more.

For more information on Southeastern’s Supply Chain Management Program, click here.

Continuing a Tradition of Emmy Award-Winning Students

For the sixth straight year, students at the Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational access station, have been honored with college division Student Production Awards given by the Emmy Awards’ Suncoast Region of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

John Sartori of Mandeville was a winner in the Talent category, while Justin Redman of Slidell, Ben Delbert of Covington and Jonathan Calhoun of Baton Rouge were winners for their production in the Commercial category.

Sartori won for his on-camera composite of Southeastern Channel work that included anchoring and reporting for the national award-winning Big Game sportscast, hosting and producing the Lion Tracks coaches’ talk show, and play-by-play announcing of live Southeastern game broadcasts.

“If you are a student interested in broadcast journalism, there is no better place for you in this country than in Hammond, Louisiana, at the Southeastern Channel,” Sartori said. “I have been given opportunities that I could have only dreamed of before entering college.”

Justin Redman, Ben Delbert, and Jonathan Calhoun won for their 15-second, stop-motion animation commercial The Cajun Spoon: Two Meals, One Spoon, produced for the Cajun Spoon seasoning brand and dry dinner mix company of Baton Rouge.

“This award is extremely prestigious because it belongs to a division of arguably the biggest and most esteemed award ceremonies for television productions,” Delbert said. “To win such an award essentially places your own work in the same field as many other professional productions.”

Delbert edited the spot, while it was produced and directed by Calhoun with Redman providing camera work and voice-over narration.

The commercial was produced in the Communication 424: Television Advertising Production course in the electronic media concentration of the Department of Languages and Communication. In the class production, students at the Southeastern Channel produced 15-, 30-, and 60-second television commercials for a real-world business client, like the Cajun Spoon, through collaboration with advanced marketing class students who developed the advertising campaign under marketing professor Teri Root. In recent years, the collaborative course has also produced commercials and marketing campaigns for Hammond businesses North Cypress Fitness and Gnarly Barley Brewing Company.

The Cajun Spoon wanted its commercial to emphasize themes of community involvement and engagement to position the product as more than a simple dinner option, Settoon said. The company wanted to illustrate its “two meals, one spoon” initiative, where one box of mix is donated to a food pantry per each box purchased.

“The thought was to make sure the audience would gravitate to the general idea that the product brought the family together, as well as the community,” Calhoun said. “So it’s a blessing to receive the award and know that the main message was well received.”

According to Communication 424 course instructor and Southeastern Channel Operations Manager Steve Zaffuto, the award-winning 15-second commercial utilized a more stylized approach of stop-motion animation of closeups of hands passing around bowls of prepared meals in contrast to the 30- and 60-second versions that featured live action scenes of a family eating a meal together.

“The decision to utilize a stop-motion approach via a series of still frames, rather than full-motion footage, draws attention to both the product and general concept of ‘sharing’ that is vital to the campaign’s central message,” Zaffuto said.

The Southeastern Channel also won four Honorable Mentions in the Emmy competition. Sartori, as play-by-play announcer, along with color analyst Wesley Boone of Alexandria and director Freddie Rosario of Hahnville, won honorable mention recognition in the Sports–Live Event category for the Southeastern Channel’s live basketball broadcast of the December 14, 2017, Lions game with Southern University of New Orleans.

In addition, Rosario won honorable mention for Director of the Lions-SUNO basketball broadcast, while Boone was honored as Director of his short film, Intersect. Amanda Kitch of Covington won honorable mention in the Photographer category for her news videography composite.

The students and their productions were honored in the Emmy Suncoast Region, comprised of television stations and production companies in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico. Students at the Southeastern Channel have now been named Emmy winners 17 times with 62 nominations.

“Being recognized by the Emmys is the highest honor you can receive in television,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “Since so few are given, we’re absolutely thrilled that John, Justin, Ben and Jonathan are deservedly joining such elite company with this highest reward for their talent, creativity, and hard work.”

The Southeastern Channel has now won over 400 national, international and regional awards in the past 15 years.

The channel can be seen on Charter Spectrum Cable Channel 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Helena, and St. Tammany parishes. The live 24/7 webcast and video on demand can be seen at www.thesoutheasternchannel.com.

Help Spread the Holiday Cheer with Southeastern’s Toy Drive

Southeastern’s Department of Health and Human Sciences and College of Business, along with the Association of Latin American Students and the Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy, are sponsoring a toy drive for children in the foster care system from infant to 17 years of age.

Donations will be accepted at the Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy, located on Southeastern’s campus in White Hall, room 28-131, and in the College of Business in Garrett Hall, room 75, through December 7. Drop off times are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

Gabriela Pacheco, training / grants coordinator at the Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy, said there are 822 children in foster care in the local region.

“We want to make a difference this Christmas and bring joy,” said Pacheco. “Please help us collect new, unwrapped toys to bring Christmas to children in the foster care system and give them a toy for a smile.”

Suggested gifts, Pacheco added, include dolls; bikes; musical toys; gift cards; hand-held computer games; perfumed body lotions or soaps; scooters; jewelry and craft kits; video games; diaries; My Little Ponies; drawing and sketching kits; or any hand held toys, such as rubix cubes, match box cars, trucks, and trains.

For more information, contact Pacheco at gabriela.pacheco@southeastern.edu.

Night Out: Dance Performance Project 2 on November 19

Southeastern’s Department of Music and Performing Arts’ dance company, Dance Performance Project 2, will present A Few of Her Favorite Things: A Dedication to Mary Lou Champagne on November 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Vonnie Borden Theatre.

Director of Dance Keith “Skip” Costa said Southeastern’s resident student improvisational dance company will present an exclusive dance and movement improvisation concert that includes 15 performers with four solos, one duet, and four group dances.

“Mary Lou and William Champagne are both alumni of Southeastern who fell in love while in college. Mary Lou loved dancing and continued to dance after college,” Costa explained.

Over time, Champagne opened her own dance studio in Pearl River, Louisiana, and was very successful in dance education in her area, Costa said.

“Mary Lou’s love for dance is the reason the Champagne family established a scholarship about 10 years ago. She passed away in the summer of 2017 at the age of 88,” Costa explained. “As of today, the Mary Lou Champagne Scholarship has been awarded each semester to a total of 13 dance majors / dance minors to help continue their dance education at Southeastern.”

“Moods change from joyful to religious to personal, which are all based on the themes selected from the list, submitted by her husband and family, of some of Mary Lou Champagne’s favorite things she enjoyed in life,” Costa said. “Music was selected to enhance the dances from the styles of music that she loved, including Dean Martin, Perry Como, and Frank Sinatra, among others. Several scholarship recipients will perform solos and a duet.”

Dancers performing in the concert include Alaura Cervini, Metairie; Ashley Covington, Brianna Denmark, Brooke Harris, Trevor Jenkins, and Alexis May, all of Denham Springs; John Duplantier, Covington; Brooke Himel, Plaquemine; Brooklyn Jackson, Kattie Kelly, and Destiny White, all of New Orleans; Hayley Jordan, Baton Rouge; Gabrielle Levet, Mandeville; and Emma Pinion, Loranger.

Tickets to the concert are $10, with $8 reduced admission available for students, seniors, and children, and will be available 30 minutes prior to the performance in the Vonnie Borden Theatre lobby.

For more information, contact Costa at Keith.Costa@southeastern.edu.

Southeastern Alumni Create the First Digital Driver’s License

The driver’s license has been an indispensable part of many Americans’ lives for decades. But while its components have evolved over time and between states, at its core it has essentially remained the same—a physical piece of identification. Now, well over 100 years after the first personal driver’s license was issued on a simple, small piece of paper, the State of Louisiana and one Southeastern alumni-led company have begun ushering in the second phase of the driver’s license by pioneering the arguably inevitable digital future of personal identification.

In 1903, the year that the Wright Brothers took to the sky at Kitty Hawk and only five years before Henry Ford’s iconic Model T was unleashed on the world, Massachusetts and Missouri began issuing the first required non-commercial automobile driving licenses. Americans were on the move, and state regulations had begun trying to keep up.

Over the next 51 years, possessing a driver’s license became a requirement in every state for those getting behind the wheel. Louisiana adopted this policy in 1946. Photographs were added to non-commercial driver’s licenses for the first time in the US one year later, and by the mid-1980s the incorporation of anti-counterfeit devices on state IDs was
becoming standard.

But these advancements have now fallen behind where we are today: a world where a continually increasing majority of people turn to tiny, illuminated screens to discover current news, learn, be entertained, keep up with their mail, and connect with others. Love it or hate it, using mobile technology for all the information you need while on the go, and then some, is the new norm.

Two years ago, the State of Louisiana addressed this need to meet citizens where they are by passing House Bill 481, a legislation championed by Representative Ted James. Louisiana had officially become the first state in the nation to legislatively approve acceptance of a digital driver’s license, leading the way for the next chapter in the story of the American driver’s license.

But then there was a new challenge—actually creating it. After thoroughly assessing proposals from various companies, Louisiana chose the well-developed, creative approach offered by Southeastern alumnus Calvin Fabre and his company Envoc. Fabre, along with his all Southeastern alumni Envoc team of six developers and a group of 10 state employees, met the challenge by creating a user-friendly and secure app for both iOS and android devices—an app that also meets a myriad of legal requirements for acceptance by State Police and other agencies. They named it LA Wallet.

Achieving this, though, was certainly not without obstacles. “The most challenging part of the project is always a commitment to ongoing privacy and diligence,” said Fabre. The user’s safety and security were indeed of primary concern when developing the app, which is not only secure but also contains anti-forgery precautions and carries a no-touch policy.

“State Police asked for a no-touch solution,” said Fabre. “This means that when showing your digital ID to an officer or anyone else, you will never have to allow them to touch your phone, let alone hand it over.”

To combat fraud and prove that it is a valid license, there are two simple methods the driver can utilize. The first one is to hit the refresh button, which connects the app with the Office of Motor Vehicles, resending the information to the device and proving that the license is still valid. The second method is interactive with the user. When a user presses the rendering of their driver’s license in the app, the seal for the State of
Louisiana pops up—effectively demonstrating that the license is real and not a screenshot.

The image of the license itself is not a direct capture of a physical driver’s license either. Information is pulled directly from the Office of Motor Vehicles and reassembled to create a high-resolution digital rendering. As Fabre explained, the result is “a unique image generated by our servers, that only our servers can create. And it is a unique image that leverages all of the anti-forgery, anti-tamper-proof techniques that the state has developed.”

While the image on the “front” of the license will still be familiar to people though, the “back” looks somewhat different. This screen contains additional information such as endorsements. To further aid the no-touch policy, the bearer’s license number appears in a large font on this side for better readability at a distance.

The beauty with which all of these new technological and identity challenges were overcome is perhaps only overshadowed by the truly collaborative effort involved. According to Fabre, “Public Safety, State Police, state attorneys, and technology all got in one room and all worked together to find something that’s going to best serve the citizens, and they were genuinely wanting to serve the citizens. It’s a great application of many disciplines that don’t normally get together. That’s diversity.”

And this product of Louisiana’s insightful vision, Envoc’s technological innovation, and the harmonious collaboration between state and private—between various backgrounds and specialties with one common purpose—has now truly made history. In early July, the final app store approvals were granted and the product officially launched to the public.

Its prospects extend even further—far beyond acceptance by State Police, and most likely beyond Louisiana. According to Act 625, all parish and municipality police officers in Louisiana are also legally authorized to take LA Wallet for identification purposes, and the establishment of state-wide acceptance procedures and training is currently underway.

Envoc has additionally worked closely with the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and has met their requirements by completing requested modifications to the app. This summer, the digital license officially became a part of the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control’s responsible vendor program. With this agency’s approval obtained, LA Wallet is now valid for the purchase of alcohol and other restricted products sold at Louisiana retailers, including bars, restaurants, and stores. However, since the app is quite new and businesses are still implementing it into their procedures, for now it’s a good idea to also carry along your old driver’s license before heading to your local watering hole or picking up a six-pack.

From library cards to school IDs, this new technology has a potentially bright future aside from the driver’s license as well—with further applications that Fabre is passionate about one day bringing to life. “Think of the possibilities of allowing a college to have an extension of the digital driver’s license on their phone,” he said.

All of this has not gone unnoticed by other states, either. One undisclosed northern state has already reached out to Envoc, expressing interest in following the path now being blazed in Louisiana. As the download numbers keep going up, an increase in other states looking to Louisiana will likely closely follow.

And there’s plenty of reason it should. Fabre said that while we may not have always received national coverage on it, “Louisiana is very forward thinking in this and other areas related to serving its citizens through technology. We are the Silicon Bayou.”

Anyone with a current Louisiana driver’s license can now download the app for both Android and iPhone. The app can immediately be used for identification with Louisiana State Police, with the other uses to evolve in the very near future. The app itself is free, but an in-app purchase is required to initially activate and then to renew the license when it expires, similar to paying for a new physical driver’s license.

While you shouldn’t plan on tossing out your current Louisiana ID just yet, it’s quite possible that time may soon come. The first paper driver’s license was created to keep up with people more on the move as a result of the day’s increasing acceptance of and reliance on industrial technology. Americans today are still on the move, perhaps more than ever; but we have also collectively embraced a whole new concept of being mobile—and a whole new era of technology. Louisiana, along with Envoc’s Southeastern alumni-led team, has now crossed the threshold of being the first state to fully join its citizens in this digital era. The next chapter in the story of the American driver’s license has begun, and Louisiana citizens can now be among the first to help it unfold.