A seventh-generation New Orleanian, Lindsay Pick operates The Okra Inn bed and breakfast in Mid-City and co-owns the wetlands educational tour company Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental.
"My extended family is very large. I have a lot of cousins and I'm on the young end of them. I'm one of the few who are still in town. A majority of them went into more social services kind of fields, but everyone seems to leave. ... For a long time I used to joke that I was the only person who seemed to be from here. ... It seems to have leveled out, more so now that more locals have returned. I think there's a difference in opportunities and social circles and all of it. There's just more opportunity for young people here. There's more life within the younger community for New Orleans.
"I think it would have been a lot harder for me to have done the projects I've done other places. It's very approachable to be entrepreneurial here, and we're surrounded by a huge amount of resources. Lost Lands had a fellowship through Propeller (a nonprofit incubator), which was a fantastic gateway for a lot of resources. Other people are trying to do similar types of start-ups.
"What I don't like is, working within the coastal restoration field, there is exposure and some engagement (by the public and politicians) but nothing on par with what's needed considering the urgency of the situation and the possible implications, which is sometimes a discouraging place to be. Politically it's been frustrating. We were big proponents of the lawsuit [the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East filed] against the oil and gas companies and that has played out in a very dramatic way [Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill effectively killing the suit], so that was disappointing. The level of engagement given the urgency of the situation doesn't fit. ... I would like to see it become a real kitchen-table issue. I think our political leaders have demonstrated recently that they are not advocating for the best policies to address the full range of issues that affect our coast. I think ultimately that is going to call for more momentum from the electorate.
"[From a personal perspective, I think New Orleans has] a lot of new life; it's a much bigger destination for people to come to and it has given life to a lot of new things, like the Freret Corridor. ... It's interesting to have so many new, different people coming in. New Orleanians, we like New Orleanians so it's interesting to have new people come in. There are some interesting dynamics between natives and not natives and who's in tune with the natives. I lived in New York for a while and there was not that same aspect of 'Well, you're not from New York,' or, 'You can't start this' like there is in New Orleans." — As told to Kandace Power Graves
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And if you'd like to tell your story, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll definitely do a Part 3.