N.O. apps  to launch as tourists approach

Many of the legacy projects completed during the past several months for Super Bowl XLVII are highly visible: New, smooth roads and upgrades to Louis Armstrong International Airport and the Loyola Avenue streetcar line, for example.

But on one recent weekend, a small army of computer programmers had 48 hours to create another set of legacy projects that aren’t as obvious but could be just as useful as the improved infrastructure: Apps designed specifically for New Orleans and in time for the game.

A panel of judges chosen by the Louisiana Technology Council and the New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee selected the winning apps in the Codemkrs Super Challenge.

The first-place app shows users which nearby restaurants have available seating. Second place went to an app that identifies live music taking place in real time across the city. Third place went to an app that allows live music fans to tip performers through electronic payments on their smartphones.

Travis Laurendine, a local tech entrepreneur who organized the event, said that in 48 hours, the participants completed about $175,000 worth of coding and design time.

“We are lucky to have a talent pool this good that is willing to participate in events like this,” Laurendine said.

The apps can be found at www.codemkrs.com. They will be developed more during the coming days, before they are launched in time for the Super Bowl.

The Codemkrs Super Challenge was a collaboration between the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the Super Bowl Host Committee Technology Subcommittee. Each group wanted to add a unique component to the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

“This idea added a new offering to the already impressive list of reasons why New Orleans is the best Super Bowl host city,” said Sam Joffray, vice president of communications for the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. “It also gave us a chance to leverage our tech talent to reinforce why that is, through apps that our visitors and citizens will find interesting and useful for the Super Bowl and beyond.”

Super Bowl host committee Co-chairman James Carville said he was “amazed” at the work that was completed in two days.

“It’s impressive that these guys were able to create these solutions in such a short amount of time,” Carville said.

In addition to designing apps to help visitors and citizens, the Codemkrs Super Challenge was an event meant to bring together the New Orleans area’s technology talent and to serve as a model for future similar events.

Lindsey Hamlin, executive director of Louisiana Technology Council, said that the apps designed reinforce that the New Orleans area “is in the middle of a digital renaissance.”

“New Orleans already has digital media and software development expertise and is poised to attract more,” Hamlin said.

“We’re hoping that, through continued events like this, we can enhance the quality of life in Louisiana and continue to attract tech talent to keep this momentum going.”