Sunday, October 26, 2008

Notes on DC ...

We are on the road, leaving DC today for Williamsburg, so today’s entry will be a short one.

The only variations from our pre-trip report are that we also took in the Spy Museum. I would recommend it only if you have time to spare. The Newseum and Holocaust Museum (pictured)are another story. I would put them in the must-see category.

The Newseum is basically a history museum from the viewpoint of the media. It is beautifully laid out and full of interesting stories and artifacts.

The Holocaust Museum tells the story of the Holocaust, from the rise of Hitler to the liberation of the concentration camps. We have seen the “Topology of Terror” museum in Berlin, the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, and two concentration camps, but are still moved every time the story is told.

The World War II monument is impressive and gave our brains a rest. It is all to be seen with no descriptions of any events in the struggle. It is worth seeing. Also we plan to see the Pentagon memorial as we leave town.

These get us up to date on all the Washington museums and other attractions too new for us to have seen before. We also visited some friends for dinner in Old Town Arlington. We got around on the comfortable and convenient Metro. The only difficulty was figuring out the fare card machine.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

DC and Virginia …

I know we still owe you the description of our Alaska trip, and we’ll probably start that next week. I feel we owe it to you, but maybe some you would just as soon forgive that debt.

But this week’s topic is the trip on which we are now embarked. We flew to DC. We had considered driving but it would have stretched the trip by two days in each direction. Also, Susan does not behave well on driving trips. By air to DC it was an hour and a half.

This is being written before leaving home and published during the trip. Therefore there are a lot of events that are described as though they have already happened. So, I suppose, this represents what would have happened if all had gone according to plan. If there are serious deviations we will let you know sometime soon.

We arrived in DC on Tuesday the 14th at 10 a.m. We settled into our hotel, then went to the Newseum, a museum centered on the media and politics, topics that interest Susan and me.

On the 15th we toured the Holocaust Museum, very intense but thoroughly gripping. With a little spare time, we also went to the Spy Museum, a mere trifle but a fair amount of fun. That night we visited some old friends in nearby Virginia, and had a great time getting caught up on what has happened since our last visit.

The 16th was spent just taking in the sights of the City. We saw the World War II memorial for the first time, wandered through the Smithsonian for a bit and stoked up our already intense patriotism. DC is an exciting place.

On the 17th we rented a car for the trip to Williamsburg VA, a trip back in history. We stayed in a hotel on the Colonial Williamsburg grounds and enjoyed a colonial era dinner. We also stayed there the next day to see more of the attractions.

On the 19th we headed for Charlottesville VA, home of Monticello and the University of Virginia. We also had dinner with Susan’s niece, and the next night with an old and dear friend of Susan. Both are affiliated with UVa.

After spending some time in Charlottesville, we returned to good old Cincinnati on the 21st.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Katrina Group Convenes in Cincinnati ...

We have organized a group called “Displaced by Katrina.” It is for Cincinnati-area residents who lived in New Orleans before Katrina, and moved for various reasons related to the storm.

We started the group through the Meetup organization. We got terrific publicity in the Enquirer, the area’s daily newspaper, not to be confused with the National Enquirer.

The Enquirer put our first meeting in their community calendar, ran two nice stories about the organization and us. The timing of the publicity was perfect, just before our second meeting. They then wrote a story after the meeting which was quite complimentary.

Our story also got covered by two television stations, though I think the second interview landed on the cutting room floor. We recorded the first interview when it ran on TV, and will be glad to show it to you when you visit.

Through the group we have met some very nice people, and their stories are all interesting. Several friends have seen the publicity and congratulated (or teased us) over lt. A few strangers that saw the publicity have introduced themselves on the street, the gym, and a doctor’s office. We have also gotten a couple of calls by people wanting to join the group.

The group is now up to 12 people, and met for dinner last Friday at DeeFelice Restaurant. Here is some information from DeeFelice’s web site:

Jazz, swing, New Orleans decor and great cajun food, right in the heart of Covington's Main Strasse Village! (That’s Covington KY, just across the River from Cincinnati.

DeeFelice Foods offers a selection of cajun and creole sauces, seasonings, and spices at their online store and retail outlets.

“DeeFelice is your home for New Orleans Cajun and Creole style food and entertainment. If you're in the Cincinnati area, stop by our restaurant.”

Altogether the experience has been a kick.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Sunday, October 05, 2008

N.O.’s fountain of youth ...

From CityBusiness, by Deon Roberts. Disclosure: the last paragraph contains a quote by my wife, and she is now retired from the University of New Orleans; we are living in Cincinnati:

New Orleans became a magnet to young people from across of America after Hurricane Katrina. Young adults flocked here eager to rebuild the city, and some have settled and found permanent work.

But how does New Orleans retain these young professionals over the long term?

According to an August 2007 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 18 percent of young adults (those ages 18-34) said they are planning on, or seriously considering, moving from the greater New Orleans area, a statistic Kaiser called “a finding of potential concern.” Among adults 35 and older, only 8 percent said they were planning on, or seriously considering, moving out the area.

Some are trying to prevent young, talented adults from leaving New Orleans. The Idea Village has launched a project it calls “504ward” to link young people with jobs and networking opportunities.

“What drives economic growth is talent,” Tim Williamson, Idea Village president, said in a CityBusiness story this week. “By engaging the business community to provide the connections or relationships, the ultimate beneficiaries will be the companies.”

According to the CityBusiness story, some young people have trouble making connections in New Orleans.

“New Orleans is a provincial place. It can be inscrutable to someone who’s just moved here,” said Jeffery Schwartz, a 26-year-old Ben Franklin High School graduate who has an urban planning degree from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Being new to the New Orleans area also plays a large role in young people’s decision to move from New Orleans, the Kaiser study said.

“A young resident who is new to the area has a predicted probability of planning to move that is four times that of an older resident who lived in New Orleans before Katrina,” Kaiser said.

An Aug. 21 article on reports on the influx of young people to New Orleans since Katrina.

“Despite efforts to keep young nonprofit workers in the city, some people who moved to New Orleans after Katrina are starting to think about leaving — or have already gone,” the article said.

Since Katrina, the media seem confused about whether New Orleans is attracting or losing young people. For example, the story highlights the influx of young people. But The Associated Press reported this in a grim story Dec. 15, 2006:

"New Orleans is losing an alarming number of young professionals in Katrina’s aftermath. Many doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers and other highly educated people are gone. Some left during the storm and never came back. Others came back, but soon gave up and moved out altogether."

Whether a full-blown brain drain is under way is unclear. But some suspect so, and fear the exodus will only get worse.

“They don’t see the career opportunities here that they see elsewhere,” said University of New Orleans political science professor Susan Howell.


jbv's Competitive Edge