Walking In Your Shoes creates connections

Walking in someone else’s shoes helps you understand them better. It helps build connections. And through those connections we can build so much together.  I share stories, photos, videos, and thoughts with the hope of helping us all build stronger connections. Hope you will also share your thoughts along the way.

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A little bit of New Orleans in Richmond

Ten years ago when Hurricane Katrina threatened New Orleans, Cain Bassett and his family left their home in the city’s West Bank area and headed to the Louis Armstrong International Airport. Not to take a flight out of harm’s way, but to hunker down until the impending massive storm passed.

Cain with worker In 2005, Bassett, who now lives in western Henrico County, was employed by Delaware North. He helped manage the company’s 20 restaurants and bars that lined the New Orleans airport’s concourses.

In the long hours before Karina hit, the company allowed Bassett, his wife, their two children, as well as a few other employees, to take refuge at the airport.

The Bassetts stayed busy helping to feed hundreds of residents and tourists who filled the airport as they evacuated ahead of the hurricane.
“Everyone had to pitch in,” Bassett said as he recently recalled the storm that changed his life.

A decade later, Bassett is director of operations for Boss-Chi Catering & Concession. One of his main jobs is managing the food service at Richard Bland College in Prince George County.
Watch a video about Cain Bassett and Hurricane Katrina.

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Hear that sound?
That’s the sound of me reconnecting with friends and colleagues in the Richmond area now that I’ve moved back to Virginia.
My texts, emails and Facebook messages have been keeping the virtual wires sizzling.
Career and new friends kept me busy in Delaware and Louisiana over the past few years. And I loved every minute of it.
Well, almost every minute. I could have done without the second surprise ice storm in Lafayette or the ankle-deep mud at Dover’s Firefly Festival.
Now, my time will be centered around doing some much-needed yard work, jumping feet first into a community health project (details of that to come soon) and finding opportunities to share interesting stories about people in the region. I still plan to find time to just sit, relax and enjoy summer.sitting spot But first things first. I’ve already visited (twice) with Ervin Clarke, the publisher of Urban Views Weekly to bounce around some potential story ideas.
A week or so ago, I met with Chris Williams, who is now at Virginia’s Make A Wish Foundation. I hope we’ll get the chance to work together again.
If you live around central Virginia and you haven’t heard from me in awhile, get ready.
I’ve got a long list. Meanwhile, feel free to send me a note or invitation. I’m looking forward to reconnecting.

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Everybody is doing it so I’ll do it, too (VA2LA)

How cold is it? It’s so cold that I saw an alligator on the bayou wearing ice skates.

I couldn’t resist. I joined the “Man, it is cold” frenzy. CNN was calling it a “Polar vortex.” Whatever the hell that is!

The fountain outside my apartment building shows how cold it is here.

The fountain outside my apartment building shows how cold it is here.

As I sat in my car yesterday morning watching the external temperature gauge frozen at 28 degrees, I tweeted out a few how- cold- is-it comments as I waited for my car to warm up. And I thought, this isn’t suppose to be happening here, not in south Louisiana.

My husband, who is holding down the fort in Virginia, and I had compared weather notes by telephone before I headed out the door.

Looks like it’s going to be colder for longer in Richmond than it will be in here in Lafayette. He may have won the it’s-colder-here contest but it that didn’t stop me from complaining about the temperature.

Then I remembered that we’d had a similar conversation back in August. That time I was complaining about the heat. My husband had reminded me then that Richmond had been hotter for that past week than Lafayette.

Guess, I’ll just shut up, strap on my ice skates and head to work today as the temp now hovers around 21 degrees.

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Great music ahead in 2014 (VA2LA)

Rockin' Dopsie ar River Ranch concert

Rockin’ Dopsie at a River Ranch concert

One week into the new year, I already know that it’s going to be another great live music concert year for me.

After all, I do spend most of my time in Lafayette, La. — one of the best and  most diverse music scenes in the country.

Don’t believe me?  We have three local musicians nominated for Grammys this year and another one who will be presented the Lifetime Achievement award.

So trust me, 2014 is bound to be a great year for me to catch some fabulous music performances.

In fact 2013, was a pretty amazing year. I saw artists ranging from Joan Baez to Rockin’ Dopsie Jr.and the Zydeco Twisters. And all right here in my own Louisiana backyard.

Happy New Year and hope 2014 is full of good music  and good times for you as well!

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Dueling Festivals (VA2LA)

Kids play at Festivals Acadiens et Creoles

Kids play at Festivals Acadiens et Creoles

I can’t attend the Richmond Folk Festival this year even though I promised myself not to miss it after going last year and having a ball.

I even volunteered at the Folk Fest last year helping greet some of the musicians who were playing at the three-day event.

I won’t be there this year. Instead, I’m covering a different three-day cultural festival in Lafayette. Today is the last day of Festivals Acadians et Creoles.

This festival celebrates two distinct but forever interwoven cultures including their cowboy music roots.

It’s not just one festival but three that were combined after being held separately to honor the music, food and arts of this rich south Louisiana culture.

So I’m sorry I’m missing the Folk Festival but so far I’m having one heck of a time at Festivals.

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Eight Months and Counting: (VA2LA)

It has been eight months since I started splitting my life between Richmond, Virginia and Lafayette, Louisiana (with a few side trips to Knoxville, Tennessee.)

To be honest, I’ve spent less time in Richmond than I intended to when I started this “commute.” Not that I don’t miss RVA and all that’s happening there. But I guess this was bound to happen considering that south LA has so much to explore.

Heck,  just consider all the chances to hear music. Watch. You’ll see what I mean.

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It was a “tough” assignment but somebody had to do it

I have covered or supervised the coverage of presidents, major breaking disasters and huge celebrations.

Covering last week’s Festival International ranks up there as one of the best assignments ever.

I got to hang out at Carpe Diem! Gelato-Espresso Bar and talk to people about their best memories and moments of a free festival with music from more than 80 bands from around the world.

I got to cover live performances by groups  including Red Baraatt  and  The Wailers.

Wish all my assignments were this much fun.

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