Public Service Announcement: New Orleans
I live in one of the greatest cities in the world. I know, many people say that, but my city, New Orleans is known by its first name. (It’s kinda like the Cher or Madonna of cities). We never have to say “New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Most people don’t even know or care what state we are in and as we say here, we are a place all unto it’s self. ( OK a banana republic, but you have to admit the food is great!)
New Orleans is a complex and simple city at the same time. We are complex because of our history that lives on every street corner and in every citizen. To be called a Native New Orleanian, one must be born here. Many people say I have lived her only 45 years. New Orleans is simple because it doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not. It’s in your face from the moment you arrive.
New Orleans and its citizens are steeped in a multicultural, multi-generational experience that pulls from our past and into our lives today. We are who we are, because being who we are not seems a waste of time. We speak our minds because we have an opinion on everything and feel we need to share it. (Whether you want to hear it or not!) I have often said, I love sitting around a family dinner table, oh the stories, the food, and oh can I say LOUD!
New Orleans attacks your senses upon arrival, no subtleties here. The smells, the sounds, the sights and the soulfulness of this city can either intoxicate you or scare the living hell out of you. The city is draped with the bends and curves of the Mississippi River that shares with us all of the Midwest’s discards. From the toxic soup run off from farms, petrochemical plants and debris that rush past us, we take what other share with us willingly. (Yes I drink the water, it hasn’t killed me yet!)
Much has been written and said about the underbelly that exists here in New Orleans, which Katrina put on display for the world to see. Yes we are a urban city with abject poverty, but it from that poverty that our greatness arises. Our soulfulness, many would not consider this city soulful; in fact many have said we are damned, exists for all to see. Our cemeteries are cities, our churches are cathedrals and our beliefs are steeped in mysticism. And this city constantly challenges all of your beliefs. Think you like warm weather, spend a summer here. Think you are a football fan, welcome to heartache. The energy of the city pushes you past your comfort zone, ever challenging you to change. She forces you to question your beliefs, to open your heart to the darker side of life – engaging that as willingly as you would sunshine. For we are a city of the dark, not the oh look it’s the moon dark, but an in your face “hey it fucking dark, now move!”
Bonnie was inducted into the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society at St. John’s University, New York City for her work in Business Resilience.
Bonnie is Past Chair of the Association of Contingency Planners where she served for 6 years.
She is a proud native of New Orleans and has experienced what she calls, “The Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, and BP Oil Spill” disasters first hand. She has had to learn how being resilience leaders and businesses to increased performance, achieve stronger relationships, and build mental toughness that we all need in today’s ever increasing busy world.
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