Keoni Cabral / Flickr

NOLA Tech Week starts on Monday. It's the second year for the citywide event, which bills itself as a "celebration of all things tech.”

These days, New Orleans is making a name for itself as the place to be for technology start-ups — it was recently called the "most improved city for business” by the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes says it’s the number-three city for information technology job growth.

Piotr Esden-Tempski / Flickr

NOLA Tech Week begins on Monday. It’s only the second year for the local technology industry conference, which bills itself as a celebration of all things tech in New Orleans.

Organizers of the event call it an “unconference.” They say that allows members of the technology community in New Orleans to set the agenda for the meetings and to host events based on topics they want to hear about.

Cheryl delPozzal / It's New Orleans

Over the last few years the word "disrupt" has found its way into the American business vocabulary. On today's Out to Lunch, Peter Ricchiuti introduces us to two local disrupters.

Tom Hayes is New Orleans General Manager of Uber. Uber is an international and nationwide car service that disrupts the taxi business — which it is in the process of doing here in New Orleans.

Steve Beatty is Editor of The Lens. The Lens is an investigative reporting organization that is disrupting local news media.

Burns Library, Boston College / Flickr

Louisiana's U.S. Senate race is a central battleground in the Republican Party's national drive to catch up to the Democrats' data collection know-how that helped power President Barack Obama to two terms.

This year, with control of the Senate at stake, Republicans are depending on paid interns and volunteers to help it close the technology gap.

Party organizers have started a door-knocking effort to gather data that can be fed into a mobile phone app and uploaded to a central database for harvesting later.

izzatFulkrum / Flickr

Cox Communications says it’s doubling Internet speeds for about 75 percent of customers across Louisiana this week.

On Tuesday, the changes went into effect in New Orleans. Wednesday they will be rolled out to Baton Rouge and Acadiana.

A company spokesperson tells Times Picayune the higher speeds will not come with a higher bill. Prices for service will stay the same.

EMSL / Flickr

Fourteen researchers from a coalition of universities in Louisiana and Mississippi have been awarded $6 million from the National Science Foundation.

The scientists are part of a consortium of universities working on developing smart polymers.

Smart polymers are materials that can react to the environment — like a self-healing artificial joint, or a heart valve that can resist bacterial growth.

David Reber / Flickr

A good cook can spend years getting the flavor and seasoning in a single pot of jambalaya just right.

But when there are lots of portions to serve — like a tailgate party or big family gathering — scaling up a classic and complicated recipe like jambalaya can get tricky.

That’s where Jay Grush comes in. Grush goes by the name “StadiumRat” on an LSU sports message board called A few years ago, he started a dialogue with other food aficionados on the site’s Food and Drink discussion board.

Rick Lineberger

In the New Orleans entrepreneurial community there’s a conversation that comes up fairly regularly. It’s speculation about who’s going to be the first company in the new wave of startups to break out. To hit the big time. To be our version of Google, Facebook, or Twitter.

Two of the company names that surface near the top of everybody’s list are Federated Sample and 365 Connect.

A Shreveport-based electronics recycling business has created a fundraising model for organizations to make money from e-waste deposited in recycling receptacles.

Pandabit CEO John-Scott Thompson says his “feed the panda” campaigns are catching on. He has five employees who are running two campaigns a week. Thompson splits proceeds with an organization 50-50.

NASA/Michoud / Wikimedia

A massive structure described by NASA as the world's largest spacecraft welding tool has been completed at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which was chosen in 2011 to build components of a major new rocket system.

The 170-foot-tall structure is called the Vertical Assembly Center. It will play a key role in construction of "Space Launch System" rockets.