New Orleans is where I grew up, and it is wonderful to be living here again. My wife Amy and daughter Lilly are enjoying the great mid-November weather (it’s 74 degrees right now), we still love our Saints despite their 4-5 start, and I am trying very hard not to gain any (more) weight from the amazing food here (it’s hard for me not to blog about food every day). The undercurrent of New Orleans’ brand of music is simultaneously familiar and seductive, and there is an energy and a passion for civic engagement here that rivals that of any city in the United States.
Uptown New Orleans is our majestic home. Each day, I watch our out-of-town guests enjoy their tours on our beautiful campus. They marvel at the soaring palm trees in front of Marquette and other locations. Like many of our students, these spectacular specimens are not indigenous to our area; and yet they thrive here.
Students thrive in this climate because the weather is perfect from September to May. They thrive because much of our city is enjoying a make-over, a powerful renaissance, and they are part of it. They thrive because they enjoy personal relationships with all of us–faculty, staff, and each other. They have thrived here for 100 years, and they will thrive here for many decades to come.
Some of my friends in other parts of the country occasionally ask with a well-meaning tone of concern how things are here, and I try to be sympathetic to their questions. I don’t want to seem rude, but I also want to paint them an accurate picture. Things are GREAT here. We have a very safe campus, and, without dropping any names, lots of very famous people live within a two mile radius of Loyola. I tell them that Uptown New Orleans is a top 10 U.S. destination to visit, to work, or to be a student. While some parts of the city recover at a slower pace than we would all like to see, Uptown is doing wonderfully and it is helping to lead the way in the rebirth of this most spectacular American city.
I hope that you will visit New Orleans and Loyola soon, if you have not yet done so, to see them for yourself. We love it here. You might, too.