Mourning a Way of Life...  

49AK 56M
1074 posts
7/12/2006 2:01 pm

Last Read:
1/23/2007 5:50 pm

Mourning a Way of Life...

I have the good fortune to work in a business where my clients are all over the world, and I actually get a chance to speak with them frequently and get to know them some. I do eventually get to meet quite a few of them, but most come and go, and I never actually get to shake their hand.

One of my clients this year was from New Orleans, a city that I have more than a passing acquaintance. Back in the early 1990's, I spent about seven weeks there working in a town just east of New Orleans. I stayed in a cheap motel, had a rental car, and worked with my co-workers from our newly-acquired office there. I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time, and my immersion into the bayou was a rather pleasant culture shock.

The one thing that stood out with me was the genuine friendliness of the people there. It didn't matter if you were in a restaurant, or convenience store, or at work, the people seemed genuinely glad to meet you. And when you purchased something in the store, or when you were leaving a place of business, instead of saying "Thank you" they would say "Y'all come back and see us." The difference between the two is subtle, but telling.

When you say "Thank you", you're saying, "Thank you for your business". But when you say "Y'all come back and see us" you're saying that we enjoyed visiting with you... and implicitly, that the personal relationship was more important than the business one.

Today I had the opportunity to call my client in New Orleans to discuss the completion of a business transaction, and after getting the business out of the way, the conversation turned to how the area was recovering from the hurricane. I asked about the different parts of town, and my favorite restaurants. My former place of work was located east of the city by quite a bit, and sustained a lot more wind damage than New Orleans itself, so not only did it flood, but buildings and lives were devastated by the wind, too.

My client's tone was very upbeat -- businesses were coming back, and things were being rebuilt. The I-10 bridge across the lake was completed in record time, re-opening before last Christmas. But she also said that you couldn't travel anywhere in the area without being painfully aware of the devastation.

Her upbeat tone was the same as a cancer survivor's when he or she has been cancer-free for a year. Things are looking up, but the person has been ravaged, just the same. At the end of our chat, she said, "Y'all come back and see us!"

I plan to... as soon as I can

moonlightphoenix 46F
6508 posts
7/12/2006 2:41 pm

Very interesting post. Thank you for sharing. I love stuff like this. A window inside the world without an agenda.

JuicyBBW1001 56F

7/12/2006 2:46 pm

I have friends who went to New Orleans as part of the initial wave of Red Cross volunteers. The stories they came back and told us are very haunting to say the least.
I am glad things are starting to look up for that area. Recovering from devastation no matter the cause is never an easy process.


florallei 100F

7/12/2006 3:34 pm

TY for such a lovely post and how special the people are from there. I have never been there and it is nice to hear that the devastation has not totally destroyed their spirit...your illustration of a cancer survivor was quite appropo. God bless them.

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