15 Mar NOLA – Day 1
I arrived into New Orleans a little after 9am yesterday morning. Luckily I slept the entire flight. Lucky because, from the minute my feet hit the pavement in this town, I have been moving. A bit indicative of what’s going on in this town.
There’s so much happening here. Young people everywhere. Young, hip, smart, creative ‘kids,’ I’ll call them, most half my age. I love it. The energy, the excitement, the love for their city is overwhelming.
These young folks love their city. At a very young age, they have been charged with reviving it after Katrina. And they are bringing it back with a fury, with an entirely different vision than what you and I remember this town being.
New Orleans is electric.
We all know New Orleans for its music. Yes, there are photos of trumpeters in every store window, in every logo. It’s food as well . . . its of signs advertising po boys, crawfish, even alligator.
But what people don’t see is the swell of new ideas this town is fostering. We will attend a program later this week which is the culmination of Entrepreneur Week. The event, called “The Big Idea,” will bring 1000 New Orleanians to ‘invest’ in their entrepreneurs. Brilliant concept. Each of us will be given a $50 chip. We are to mill amongst 19 of the brightest entrepreneurs in the city, listen to their pitches, then award our $50 to the one whose idea has the greatest chance to come to fruition. The one with the most chips wins the big prize of $50,000 in start-up money. If there is a tie, there will be a ‘pitch-off.’ How cool is that! Not only for the entrepreneurs, but those of us in the audience.
So, after I landed I was whisked away along with three others in this NOLAbound program. Alicia, who manages an arts non-profit in Brooklyn, Arabella, an incredibly talented artist from Cleveland, and Jonas, a scientist, comes from Galveston. I’ve read about these folks for two months now, and it’s so fun to finally meet them. We were so busy getting to know each other that we missed the first sights of the city.
Once we checked in, dropped our luggage, we were instructed to go next door where they a film crew interviewed us as part of the documentary. From there we were taken across the street, to a beautiful circle park, where we were each photographed.
Once we finished we had the afternoon on our own. I put on my walking shoes and took off.
I walked from my hotel to the downtown district. From there to the warehouse district.
Ooops, it’s 7:27am and I have to be showered and shaved and downstairs in 33 minutes. And I gotta look cute.