Cox Opens N.O. Center

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Cox Communications New Orleans characterized the opening of its new $4 million customer-service center last week as part of its commitment to the Big Easy, which is still trying to bounce back from Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, former head of Cox’s New Orleans operation, was on hand for the ceremony, agreeing that other local companies should take a cue from Cox, according to Greg Bicket, region manager for Cox New Orleans.

“It really was kind of a galvanizing event,” Bicket said. “He kind of echoed my theme of, 'Hey, this is really a lightning rod for this community.’ Other local businesses need to look at this, and he kind of saluted Cox. He talks about businesses speaking most sincerely with their investments.”

Cox’s new 15,000 square-foot customer-service center, which was already under construction when Katrina hit last Aug. 29, is located in the Elysian Fields section of the city. That neighborhood was flooded during the storm, and there was water over the service-center’s foundation, according to Bicket.

“This neighborhood got hit pretty hard,” he said.

During the ribbon-cutting, Bicket told a crowd of about 75 people — which included city officials and Cox employees — that the while the new customer center is a “tangible symbol” of Cox’s commitment to rebuild the city, the cable company has also invested millions of dollars repairing plant, the lines on poles and below ground that aren’t noticeable.

The customer-service facility is a full-service retail center and technology showroom with eight service counters, drive-through service and an after-hours drop box.

In addition to making payments and picking up or exchanging equipment, customers can see demonstrations of Cox’s myriad services in a technology showroom. Demonstrations of digital telephone, high-speed Internet, digital cable and other services are at high-tech, customer friendly self-serve kiosks located throughout the new facility. About 45 Cox employees are working there.

Before the hurricane Cox had 270,000 subscribers in New Orleans, and it has restored service to more than 180,000, a number that will soon be approaching 200,000, Bicket said.

As for Nagin, Bicket said, “He looked better than I had seen him I months. He looked rested.”

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