On Monday and Tuesday, the City of Alexandria- along with GAEDA and Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix, and Hixson- hosted a one-of-its-kind conference that featured some of the nation’s and the state’s foremost authorities in crime prevention, urban redevelopment, and infrastructure investment. I had the privilege and honor of helping to plan and organize this event, so, please forgive me, but I think it’s only appropriate to publicly thank those people who made the whole thing possible. So, thank you to:
1. Mayor Joseph Riley and his staff, particularly his assistant Rita, for believing in what we are trying to do in Alexandria.
2. Senator Mary Landrieu and her staff, particularly Jeanne-Marie Ganucheau and T. Bradley Keith, for championing Alexandria.
3. Greg Saville, who flew all the way from beautiful Port Townsend, Washington to share his insight with all of us.
4. Steven Bingler and Bobbi Provosty Hill, two of Louisiana’s most brilliant visionaries.
5. Frederic Schwartz and Carlton Brown, both early adopters of the SPARC Initiative and both internationally-renowned professionals. One of the highlights of the last four years of my life has been getting to know and being able to work with Fred and Carlton; I consider myself privileged to count them as friends.
6. Patrick Moore and his whole crew. Gracias al Padre.
7. Eric Shaw, the best employee Bobby Jindal has and will ever have.
8. Jeffrey Carbo. Without Jeff’s support and guidance, the Summit would have tanked. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
9. Jason Tudor, one of the most genuine people I’ve ever encountered and one of the most passionate advocates who practices what he preaches right here in Louisiana.
10. To all the other speakers- Haley Blakeman, Chris Camp, Tyson Hackenberg, Mayor Claybar. Amazing.
11. Mayor Clarence Fields and his Chief of Staff Rich Dupree, excellent work.
12. Sherman Desselle, a rising star in Central Louisiana.
13. To Ryan Harris, the new band director at Peabody, please, keep up the good work. You guys rocked.
14. Matt Henry, Maggie Jarrett, and the other folks at the Arts Council, kudos.
15. Lisa Harris, T.W. Thompson, Charmin Weiss, Karen Landry, Teresa Allen, Keith Wilmore, Chase Olson, and David Crain.
16. To the sponsors: the AARP; Ashe, Broussard, and Weinzettle; Barron, Heinberg, and Brocato; The Center for Planning Excellence; Franklin Industries; Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects; Monceaux-Buller and Associates; Providence Engineering; Tetra Tech; White Companies; and Yankee Clipper.
17. Daniel Smith, one of the hardest-working, most dedicated, and most intelligent human beings I have ever known. (The crazy thing is: I can honestly say the same thing about Michael Smith, Daniel’s twin brother).
18. And finally, even though he was the principal force behind the Summit and even at the risk of appearing sycophantic, I want to thank my boss, Mayor Jacques Roy. Throughout the last four years, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work for him, and each and every one of those days during the last four years, he has inspired, challenged, and encouraged me, personally, to become a better person, to not fear boldness, to reject those whose only motive is divisiveness or greed, and to strive toward equanimity, fairness, and honesty.