St. Louis Cathedral


Ten years ago today I was one of thousands who had evacuated from New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Monday, August 29th, 2005.

I was just days away from beginning my sophomore year of college at Tulane University. My friends and I decided to head west to Austin for a few days, assuming the storm wouldn’t be that bad; after all, the year prior we had evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Ivan and the storm missed New Orleans completely.

Fast forward to today, which marks the 10th anniversary of when Katrina made landfall. We have all seen how Katrina ended up being one of the most damaging hurricanes in our nation’s history. The “storm”, as locals call it, had a permanent effect on the Gulf Coast. It caused devastation and heartbreak as well as enduring destruction, however it also incited a revival.

Post-Katrina, there has been a renewed spirit in New Orleans. Countless residents believed in their city, thus forging ahead to rebuild it; that tenacious attitude attracted many others to move to New Orleans. Never before has “Nola” had such a vivacious rebirth for life.

I feel fortunate to have called New Orleans home for 6 years and will always consider it part of what I believe to be my “home”. We’ve heard it before and we’ll hear it again, New Orleans is a city that truly bleeds into your soul, and forever implants itself deep in your heart. There’s a unique joie de vivre that hits upon your arrival in New Orleans and visitors feel touched even after a weekend visit.

I was born and raised up the Mississippi River in southwest Illinois, across from St. Louis. Both St. Louis and New Orleans have French heritage as part of the Louisiana Purchase, so they share the fleur de lis as their symbol.

When it came time to choose a name for my health and fitness company, the fleur de lis symbol immediately came to mind. I have always loved how this symbol “belongs” to the two cities that have had the most impact on my life, and have always been drawn to it.

I named my business Fleur de Lis Fitness because those very same constructs that have always identified the fleur de lis symbol – rebirth, strength, renewal, purity, balance, and power – also resonate strongly within the realms of fitness and health. To live a meaningful, healthy lifestyle means to operate with these paradigms in mind.

As we reflect on the past ten years, let us remember to learn from the past and move forward with the knowledge and lessons we’ve gained. Take care of yourself, your loved ones and your home. Seize the day and make it count. Work hard but also remember to keep hold of the joys of life.  Most importantly, Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulez!