I spent the last few days in New Orleans for a BNI event hosting the 210 winners (and guests) of the 2007 USA Member Extravaganza for the organization.
There are two things I want to share about my visit to the area. The first, is my impression of the business people. It’s great to see business “start” to come back in the city. One of the things that struck me was how so many businesses THANKED us for visiting the city and helping in some small way to bring back the economy. It was truly dramatic. Every time my wife and I purchased something, the stores went out of their way to thank us for our business. When we told them were with a group of 210 people, they were extremely thankful. It felt great to help the city and I invite you to visit New Orleans. They definitely need more business and they appreciate it more than any group of people I’ve seen in recent years.
The second thing I want to share relates to the many stories I heard about courage and giving. Prior to the event I mentioned above, I had an opportunity to speak to about 150 BNI and Jefferson Chamber of Commerce members in the greater New Orleans area . I heard many stories about the hurricane and its aftermath. One that really jumped out at me was a BNI member by the name of Dr. Morris Panter.
Dr. Panter (seen here with me at the event) told me that immediately after the hurricane, he had no practice! His office was damaged with holes in the roof but it was still partly usable. So, he spray painted a plywood board that said “Relief Workers Adjusted for Free.” He told me that over the next several months he adjusted 900 relief workers helping to clean up from the disaster!
I think Dr. Panter’s story is another one of the many examples of courage and giving that we have seen come out of this horrific event. In the face of the temporary loss of all his business, he took the time to “give” to the people helping his city.
It was an honor to speak to people throughout the greater New Orleans area and I wish them continued success in building the city’s economy back up.