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Also in this issue

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VALUE <p>On May 17, the university’s graduating class, along with families, friends and faculty from all the university’s schools and colleges, gathered together under one roof for the 2008 commencement ceremony. And it was a very, very big roof.<br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:223169|" height="262" alt="Commencement Confetti" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/confetti.jpg" width="375" border="0" /><br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"><br /> <p>Members of the class of 2008 celebrate amid a flurry of green and<br /> blue. <a id="CP___PAGEID=223199,commencement-2008-photos.cfm,10|" href="/news/tulanian/commencement-2008-photos.cfm">View more photos from Commencement.</a><br /> </p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, the university’s commencement ceremony took place in the Louisiana Superdome.</p> <p>“It is completely and totally appropriate that this class graduate in this building,” political guru, commentator and author James Carville told the more than 2,000 graduates in attendance.<br /> <br /> Carville, who shared the role of commencement speaker with his wife, political commentator, consultant and author Mary Matalin, reminded his audience that while the images of the Superdome most vividly seared into the public’s psyche are that of “the people who had no place left to go during Hurricane Katrina,” that the building has had a long and distinguished history of hosting prominent events, including an appearance by Pope John Paul II, the Republican National Convention and six Super Bowls.</p> <p>“Many great things have happened here,” said Carville. “But you remember this for the rest of your life: Maybe the greatest thing that happened here is that this class came here to graduate.”</p> <p>Throughout the program, graduates were lauded not only for commitment to return to the university and the city after the storm, but for their efforts in the recovery of both.</p> <p>Carville told graduates that he had learned several lessons from them, the first being that “the age of cynicism is dead, and your fingerprints are all over it. You heard every reason that you shouldn’t come back, and you did.”</p> <p>Matalin introduced her husband, who was raised in Louisiana, and recounted how they had recently moved with their two young daughters from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans, after Tulane President Scott Cowen and his wife, Marjorie, encouraged them to join in the rebirth of the city.</p> <p>It was the 10th anniversary of Tulane’s unified commencement ceremony, which represents all of its schools and colleges. As customary, the event featured musical performances by Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band, the Pipes and Drums of New Orleans and a performance of “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans,” by Wanda Rouzan.<br /> <br /> This year also featured appearances by the Hot 8 Brass Band and the Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indians.</p> <br />
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VALUE <blockquote> <p><strong><em>Historians look at the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade 200 years ago as a step along the way in the African American saga of resistance and emancipation.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:223308|" height="341" alt="Bound by Slavery" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/bound-by_1.jpg" width="250" border="0" /> As slaves, the Africans on the Portuguese slave ship <em>Vigilante</em> were likely bound for Brazil. As free people, they ended up in the Bahamas—by way of Sierra Leone.<br /> <br /> The Africans’ story from 1836 is a narrative that might have been lost, their voices forever silenced, had not historians searched for clues and evidence to piece together stories about the trafficking of enslaved people across the Atlantic Ocean.<br /> <br /> Randy Sparks, professor and chair of the history department at Tulane, says that Americans have had a blind spot about the Atlantic slave trade, often called the Middle Passage. “It’s almost inconceivable the suffering that enslaved Africans endured.”<br /> <br /> Through the transatlantic slave trade, 12 million Africans arrived in the Americas, forcibly transported to the New World for nearly three centuries.<br /> <br /> Historians are trying “to put a human face on these numbers,” says Sparks. “They are overwhelming. It’s hard to wrap your head around those kind of numbers.”<br /> <br /> The United States abolished the transatlantic slave trade in 1808, but slavery in America continued until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865 after the bloody Civil War.<br /> <br /> The British abolished its transatlantic slave trading in 1807 and abolished slavery in their empire in 1834. For six decades, through the authority of a web of international treaties, the British policed illegal slave trading. They interdicted ships carrying Africans on the seas en route to the Americas.<br /> <br /> This bicentennial year of the U.S. abolition of the importation of slaves from Africa “should be an opportunity to raise public understanding about the Atlantic slave trade,” says Sparks.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><em>“One of our jobs is to tell as honest a story of history as we can. Even when it’s painful, and sometimes especially when it’s painful.”<br /> —Randy Sparks, professor and chair of the history department</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><br /> Scholars are trying to individualize stories of the Atlantic slave trade, but it’s tricky to do without much in the way of written records. Few of the imported Africans left any written record at all. “So it’s difficult to tease those stories out of the record, but every one of them is awfully important for that reason,” says Sparks.<br /> <br /> As historians, says Sparks, “One of our jobs is to tell as honest a story of history as we can. Even when it’s painful, and sometimes especially when it’s painful.”<br />  </p> <h3>UNDER OATH</h3> <p><br /> The story of the Africans taken from the <em>Vigilante</em> by the crew of a British ship is told by Rosanne Adderley, associate professor of history, in her prize-winning book <em>“New Negroes From Africa”: Slave Trade Abolition and Free African Settlement in the Nineteenth-Century Caribbean</em>.<br /> <br /> For her painstaking work about Africans entering the British Caribbean in a new way, Adderley won the 2007 Wesley-Logan Prize in African Diaspora History awarded by the American Historical Association—the professional association of historians in the United States—and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.<br /> <br /> Of the <em>Vigilante</em> incident, Adderley says, “I tell this story because I don’t think we always think about what it meant for Africans with African ways of thinking to have these sorts of encounters in the Americas.<br /> <br /> “In dealing with the abolition anniversaries, we tend to forget that there were African and African-descended human beings in the center,” she adds.<br /> <br /> It’s all too easy to focus on the British who in the first half of the 19th century “ruled the waves” and were well-equipped for what they called this “costly moral action.”<br /> <br /> Approximately 150,000 Africans altogether were liberated from slave ships by the British. Most of the rescued Africans were transported to Sierra Leone in Africa, but approximately 10 percent settled in the British Caribbean, where they acquired a special status separate from the “Creoles” or the slaves already there.<br /> <br /> In Adderley’s book, she focuses on the unusual group of approximately 15,000 Africans who settled in the British Caribbean after the British removed them from slave ships. Adderley pays close attention to the Bahamas and Trinidad, comparing the experiences of Africans in the different cultures of those two colonies.<br /> <br /> In the <em>Vigilante</em> case, the British vowed to protect the “new Negroes” under their new legal status as free people.<br /> <br /> The British colonial authorities in the Bahamas conducted interviews of the Africans to record the violent abuse that had occurred on the perilous transatlantic crossing, asking the Africans to testify under oath about two murders on board the vessel.<br /> <br /> Mindful of a cultural divide and apparently respectful of the “new Africans,” the British interrogators asked the Africans how people swore oaths in the land from where they had so recently been taken.</p> <p>The Africans said that their practice was to lay their hand on a certain bush, and if what they said were not true, they would die.<br /> <br /> But the particular bush did not grow in the Bahamas.<br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:223319|" height="229" alt="Rescue from a slave ship" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/slave_photo_1.jpg" width="375" border="0" /><br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"> <p>Africans rest after rescue from a slave ship by the British Navy<br /> in the 19th century.<br /> </p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>The British governor reported to the secretary of state of the Colonial Department that the Africans “were then examined as to their belief in God, and replied that they believe in the Great Spirit who had delivered them from the Portuguese.”<br /> <br /> With God’s name invoked, the African immigrants in the British colonial court then said they’d kiss a book (probably the Bible, which the British used in oath-taking during court proceedings).</p> <p><br /> “If they told an untruth after kissing the book, they would, after death, go into the fire,” reported the governor of the Africans’ first encounter with the British Caribbean legal system. “They were then sworn according to the usual form, the words being interpreted to them.”</p> <br /> <br /> <h3> </h3> <h3>COME SHOUTING</h3> <p><br /> An old way of looking at the conversion of slaves—or African people in the New World—to Christianity is that the religion “was imposed by masters as a way to make enslaved people more compliant,” says Sylvia Frey, professor of history.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><em>"We have really done nothing. I see few efforts to sit down and understand how history brought us here."<br /> —Sylvia Frey, professor of history</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><br /> But Frey and her co-author Betty Wood in <em>Come Shouting to Zion: African American Protestantism in the American South and British Caribbean to 1830</em> present research that shows the opposite is true.<br /> <br /> “White missionaries came in and in a sense planted the seeds of Christianity. But it was the black people themselves who appropriated it against the wishes of their masters,” says Frey.<br /> <br /> Masters worried that Christianity would radicalize slaves—and for good reason. “There was a widespread belief among some whites and in the black community as well that baptism freed slaves,” says Frey.<br /> <br /> The belief in spiritual equality among all believers took root among black people in the Americas.<br /> <br /> And most of the major slave revolts were inspired by the slaves’ own interpretation of the Bible, says Frey.<br /> <br /> “Religion is an enormous force for change,” she adds.<br /> <br /> In <em>Come Shouting to Zion</em>, Frey states: “The passage from traditional religions to Christianity was arguably the single most significant event in African American history. It created a community of faith and provided a body of values and a religious commitment that became in time the principal solvent of ethnic differences and the primary source of cultural identity. It provided Afro-Atlantic peoples with an ideology of resistance and the means to absorb the cultural norms that turned Africans into African Americans.”<br /> <br /> </p> <h3>NEW INSIGHTS</h3> <p><br /> Africans, no matter their status, were vulnerable to being captured and sold as slaves. And the complexities of their stories go on and on.<br /> <br /> Randy Sparks in his book, <em>Two Princes of Calabar: An Atlantic Odyssey From Slavery to Freedom</em>, tells the story of two Africans from a ruling family in Old Calabar, a major slave trading port in the Bight of Biafra. The princes, named Ancona Robin John and Little Ephraim Robin John, were themselves slave traders. But in 1767 English traders kidnapped the two men and forced them into slavery. They were enslaved in the Caribbean and Virginia before they escaped to England, converted to Methodism, won their freedom and returned to Old Calabar.<br /> <br /> The princes were educated and literate, and they left letters and written documents about their ordeal.<br /> <br /> Sparks confirmed the accuracy of each man’s account of his enslavement through a remarkable new tool for historians—the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.<br /> <br /> The database is a major effort by scholars to collect information on the thousands of individual voyages of slave ships, including the names of the ships and captains and the numbers of crew members and slaves on board—both the number placed on board in Africa and the number of slaves that arrived in the Americas.<br /> <br /> These consolidated shipping records are transforming the study of the history of the slave trade, says Sparks. They make it possible to do broad demographic studies, including information about the regions of Africa where the slaves originated. The database also supports individual life stories of the kind that Sparks and Adderley have done.<br /> <br /> </p> <h3>END OF SLAVE TRADE</h3> <p><br /> The silence is loud.<br /> <br /> Throughout the nation, the momentous bicentennial is about to slip by.<br /> <br /> But Sylvia Frey is determined to herald the occasion.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><em>"I want us to get to the place where the knowledge of the importance of the slave market in New Orleans is as commonplace as other commonplace knowledge is about our city.<br /> —Rosanne Adderly, associate professor of history</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><br /> Two hundred years ago, the U.S. Congress passed the law, signed by President Thomas Jefferson, prohibiting “the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States.”<br /> <br /> At the urging of historians in 2007, the U.S. Congress passed H.R. 3432: Commission on the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Act, and President George W. Bush signed it into law in February 2008.<br /> <br /> The law establishes a commission to plan appropriate activities to commemorate the bicentennial.<br /> <br /> In spite of the new legislation, little public attention in the United States has been paid to the bicentennial of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, says Frey.<br /> <br /> “We have done nothing,” she adds. “We have really done nothing. I see few efforts to sit down and understand how history brought us here.”<br /> <br /> She, however, organized an international conference of scholars and poets to shed light on the slave trade and to teach high school teachers from around the country about new research on the impact of the slave experience.<br /> <br /> The conference took place in June on the Tulane University uptown campus.<br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:223320|" height="263" alt="Slave Auction" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/slavedome_1.jpg" width="375" border="0" /><br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"><br /> <p>Auctioneers compete to sell off various "goods," among<br /> them slaves, in the rotunda of the St. Louis Hotel in<br /> New Orleans, 1839.<br /> </p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>The conference was part of UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project, to which Frey has contributed since its inaugural U.S. meeting in New Orleans in 2000.<br /> <br /> Teaching American History groups from the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University, Brown University and Penn State University also sponsored the conference.<br /> <br /> The conference organizers chose New Orleans as the site of this year’s conference to honor the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, says Frey.<br /> <br /> “I think Katrina was a clarifying moment, when we saw those images, and this stays in everybody’s mind,” says Frey. “President Bush himself said that we need to have a conversation about race and how we got to this place.”<br /> <br /> Bush’s exact words from the speech he made in the French Quarter in Jackson Square, lit up by generator power, on Sept. 15, 2005, two weeks after the storm had hit, when the rest of the city was in darkness, were: “As all of us saw on television, there’s … some deep, persistent poverty in this region. … That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action.”</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h3>COMMONPLACE KNOWLEDGE</h3> <p><br /> Beneath the racial discrimination to which the president pointed, there is something even more dreadful.<br /> <br /> “We don’t like to do business with horror,” says Adderley. “We just don’t.”<br /> <br /> After the U.S. government in 1808 outlawed the international slave trade, New Orleans became the hub of the domestic slave trade market. African people were no longer legally imported as chattel from Africa into the United States, but the demand for slave labor on cotton and sugar plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana in the Lower South led to slaves being “sold down the river” from the Upper South.<br /> <br /> Plantation owners could no longer purchase Africans from slave ships that had traversed the Atlantic Ocean, but the business of buying and selling African people boomed in trading centers such as Natchez, Miss., and especially in New Orleans.<br /> <br /> A hundred thousand displaced people were funneled through the port of New Orleans and through the city of New Orleans in the domestic slave trade. Inside “pens” within courtyards in the business district of downtown New Orleans, they were bought and sold as property.<br /> <br /> The Africans or their mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers and earlier ancestors had survived terrible Atlantic Ocean voyages to arrive in the New World. While enslaved, they had created communities— and were sustained by religion as Frey has described—in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. And now their lives were being uprooted again.<br /> <br /> “They had to start all over in reestablishing families, reestablishing communities,” says Frey. For a city that loves its history, the brutality and violence in the slave trade market in 19th-century New Orleans is a historic reality that has been overlooked, denied, forgotten—or little explored.<br /> <br /> “The slave trade abolition anniversary is so much a New Orleans story that is peculiar to this city,” Adderley says.<br /> <br /> New Orleanians often speak with pride about the presence of free people of color in the city. But Adderley says, “The presence of the slave market is equally important.<br /> <br /> “I want us to get to the place where the knowledge of the importance of the slave market in New Orleans is as commonplace as other commonplace knowledge is about our city,” she says.<br /> <br /> Such knowledge can lead to a “different kind of and more fuller understanding of the good and the bad of all of our histories.”<br /> <br /> </p> <h3>THE LONG STRUGGLE</h3> <p><br /> As Frey organized the commemoration of the ending of the international slave trade, she reiterated that the achievement should be recognized with full awareness that it did not represent the end of slavery.<br /> <br /> Such a commemoration, however, makes it possible to talk about slavery—and its aftermath.<br /> <br /> “One of the things that I hope comes out of the weeklong conference is that we can begin to understand more as a community that the sights we saw at the Superdome [during Hurricane Katrina] were a legacy of slavery. That poverty is an enduring legacy of slavery.”<br /> <br /> Americans—particularly Southerners— often have been willing to confront the subject of slavery itself, says Frey. “But what they haven’t been willing to do is confront the continuing legacy of slavery.”<br /> <br /> <em>Mary Ann Travis is the editor of</em> Tulanian <em>and a senior editor in the Office of University Publications.<br /> <br /> </em></p>
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VALUE <div class="inset_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:223331|" height="354" alt="Pretty Successful" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/pretty_successful_1.jpg" width="300" border="0" /><br /> </p> </div> <p>Wearing a starched white lab coat, Dr. Patricia Farris smiles confidently into the camera and out to the millions of viewers who are likely watching the infomercial. She’s helping promote Natural Advantage by Jane Seymour, a line of skincare products that sounds too good to be true.<br /> <br /> More than 10,000 of Farris’ own patients have tried the products and have seen remarkable results in the appearance of their skin, says the announcer in a voiceover.<br /> <br /> Wrinkles smooth into skin that feels like a baby’s, brown spots fade and those annoying “lipstick lines” around the mouth seem to disappear. And for the next 14 minutes these products are available at a special price. …<br /> <br /> In the half-hour of paid programming, Farris (G ’78, M ’82) chats with the actress Jane Seymour, a former Bond girl who is perhaps best known for her role in television’s “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” Seymour tells Farris says she has been using the products for about a year and marvels at the results.<br /> <br /> Animated graphics dance on the TV screen as Farris explains the science behind the products, which contain retinol and alpha-hydroxys in a patented “microsphere” formulation.<br /> <br /> All in all it is 30 solid minutes of Hollywood moments, so efficiently scripted and produced that you might think that both women are actresses and that the attractive Farris is merely playing the role of an expert.<br /> <br /> And you would be very, very wrong.<br /> <br /> Off the Hollywood set, Farris isn’t the glamorous best friend of a famous star. She isn’t high-maintenance and she does not employ a publicist. Farris has only met Seymour once, while filming the infomercial segment. Candid and funny, Farris flirts with celebrity at the fanciful crossroad where television and the cosmetic industries intersect, but she remains first and foremost a doctor, a scientist and, most importantly, herself.<br /> <br /> </p> <h3><strong>DEPARTMENT STORE HAUNTS</strong></h3> <div class="inset_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:223333|" height="314" alt="Patti Farris (in foreground) with mentor Nia Terezakis" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/farris.jpg" width="200" border="0" /><br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"><br /> <p>Patti Farris (in foreground) with<br /> mentor Nia Terezakis<br /> </p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>Farris’s interest in cosmeceuticals is more than skin-deep. As a graduate student at Tulane, Patti Kokoshis studied immunology and worked in labs alongside researchers such as Nick DiLuzio, the chair of the Tulane’s physiology department who was conducting groundbreaking research into glucan, a yeast derivative with remarkable abilities to suppress tumor development and resist infections.<br /> <br /> After receiving a master’s degree in physiology, she married Dr. Philip Farris (M ’79), who was a senior in medical school. During her third year of medical school, Farris had the first of her three daughters. Despite the demands of motherhood, Farris excelled in medical school and residency training, serving as chief resident in dermatology.<br /> <br /> When it came time to begin practicing as a dermatologist, Farris approached Dr. Nia Terezakis (M ’66), a dermatologist in private practice in New Orleans. Terezakis was impressed by Farris and hired her as the junior doctor in her practice.<br /> <br /> First-generation daughters of Greek ancestry, the two shared common interests as well as a philosophy and approach to treating patients. Terezakis took delight in mentoring the young doctor and recalls that Farris was quick to admit she had a lot to learn about running a busy private practice in general dermatology.<br /> <br /> For her part, Farris proved to be open and direct with her patients. If she saw a patient who came into the office with a mysterious skin lesion, Farris would admit forthrightly, “I don’t know what it is, but I know how to find out.” If she sensed a patient was abusing recreational drugs she wouldn’t ask him whether or not it was true, but rather, to name which ones he was using—a skill she learned while moonlighting at a substance-abuse clinic while in training.<br /> <br /> As copractitioners, the two doctors haunted department store cosmetic counters to become familiar with products. They would buy skincare products and try them on their own faces. Terezakis and Farris were able to incorporate these firsthand experiences with the information about products gained from patients. They developed strong opinions about which products had truly beneficial effects and which were harmful to people with sensitive skin or prone to acne.<br /> <br /> Soon Terezakis and Farris were in demand as lecturers at dermatology meetings, and a few companies approached them to be consultants on new-product development.<br /> <br /> As women in a field dominated by men, the two dermatologists were often asked about cosmetic products. At that time there were no books or other informational resources regarding medical issues relating to cosmetics.<br /> <br /> “We didn’t like the products our male colleagues suggested,” says Terezakis. “Products containing retinoids began to be developed in the ’70s. They are the only ingredients out there that are proven to work. Much of the research about these compounds are done by investigators who have no financial ties to the cosmetic industry.”<br /> <br /> Retinoids are chemically related to vitamin A and can be used to regulate cell growth. These vitamin-A derivatives evoke changes in the user’s DNA that substantively changes the way skin behaves, Terezakis explains. They are used mostly for the treatment of acne and skin cancer. The cosmetic benefit is a serendipitous side effect.<br /> <br /> When skincare products contain pharmaceutically active ingredients such as the retinol found in the Natural Advantage line, they are called “cosmeceuticals.” Ironically, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recognize cosmeceuticals as a distinct category of skincare products.<br /> <br /> The American Academy of Dermatology supports members dispensing products as long as it is done in the best interest of the patient. According to Farris, it is estimated that 60 percent of her colleagues dispense cosmeceuticals to their patients. “Dermatologists should sell effective, reasonably priced products, and if we can’t make a product recommendation better than the girl behind the cosmetic counter, who can?” she asks.<br /> <br /> Today, in her own thriving clinical practice, Farris dispenses Natural Advantage—as well as other lines of cosmeceuticals—from her office. She believes in their efficacy and considers it a value-added service for her patients, she says. Farris has lectured extensively on cosmeceuticals and also has published articles in professional journals that support the responsible recommendation of these products by physicians.<br /> <br /> Farris has conducted clinical testing of skin products since the 1980s, including two FDA trials for new drugs, most recently for Reloxin, which is expected to come onto the market soon as a competitor to Botox, a toxin that is FDA-approved for the temporary treatment of frown lines and brow furrows.<br /> <br /> Farris says she would never endorse a product she didn’t believe in.<br /> <br /> “Since I know a lot about active ingredients and I’m a practicing dermatologist, many of the companies I consult with have me look at products they’re taking to market,” she says. Her involvement with Natural Advantage began when she conducted clinical testing on the line at the request of the developers.<br /> <br /> “The before-and-after pictures I took were quite impressive, and my patients loved the product,” she says. By the time the first commercial was filmed she had 700 of her own patients on the cosmeceutical system.<br /> <br /> “Clinical testing is one way we can serve as a resource and advocate for our patients,” says Farris, whose 54-year-old face barely reveals any sign of middle age.<br /> <strong><br /> </strong></p> <h3><strong>BUFFED NAILS AND BO-HICKYS</strong></h3> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:223334|" title="/Users/rhoorma/Desktop/tulanian_slavery_issues/plastic_surg" height="271" alt="/Users/rhoorma/Desktop/tulanian_slavery_issues/plastic_surg" hspace="7" src="/news/tulanian/images/plastic_surg.jpg" width="200" align="left" vspace="7" border="0" /><br /> Farris sits in the private office of her practice located in a retail shopping center in Old Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. While being interviewed, Farris—an inveterate multitasker— gets a manicure from a manicurist who makes office and house calls. Farris’ nails are neat, short and buffed.<br /> <br /> Farris’ clinical practice is bustling and her demeanor is calm and caring as she moves efficiently from patient room to patient room. About a third of her patients initially come in for cosmetic treatment.<br /> Most have serious medical concerns. In one room, Farris deftly wields a pressurized can of Nitrospray to freeze rough patches of skin on patient after patient. The pesky pre-cancerous lesions are the No. 1 reason men and women come into her office, and Farris will use the liquid nitrogen spray to perform cryosurgery throughout the day.<br /> <br /> But there are other reasons patients seek out Farris’ help. A 48-year-old woman sits on the examination table. When Farris enters the room, she exclaims nervously, “I’m dying! I’m losing my hair!”<br /> <br /> “You’re not going to go bald in spots, like your dad did,” Farris reassures the anxious woman. She asks if the patient is being treated by another doctor for thyroid disease. When the patient says yes, Farris requests a copy of her recent blood work and then zaps with Nitrospray some “bo-hicky things” that the patient points out on her hands and back. The woman tells Farris that she has been using Natural Advantage for over a year and loves the products. Farris smiles knowingly and writes out a prescription for Rogaine.<br /> <br /> </p> <h3><strong>TAKING THE PLUNGE</strong></h3> <p>Skincare products are serious business. In the United States, there are more than 100 privately held producers and distributors of cosmeceutical products. One marketing research firm estimates that cosmeceuticals grossed more than $5 billion in 2006. According to marketing forecasters, consumer demand for cosmeceutical products is expected to grow at more than 8 percent yearly.<br /> <br /> Farris has been interviewed hundreds of times for magazine articles as well as radio and television shows. She says she considers each interview an opportunity to educate consumers about medical conditions and to outline effective treatment. She’s asked questions on a range of dermatological topics, but most commonly about aging skin. She has been a consultant to a dozen cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies, including L’Oreal and Neutrogena, and has helped develop and market products from skin lighteners to sunscreens.<br /> <br /> “I’ve always felt comfortable on camera and I’m a pretty good public speaker,” says Farris. She is in demand to conduct media training with other physicians at national professional meetings.<br /> <br /> Yet when Guthy-Renker, a leading directresponse marketer known primarily for their infomercials, asked Farris to promote Natural Advantage in a television spot, Farris balked. She had worked long and hard to develop her reputation, serving on the board of the American Cancer Society and on the American Academy of Dermatology’s Presidential Commission on Melanoma and Skin Cancer, chairing the academy’s Youth Education Committee and cochairing its communications council.<br /> <br /> As a nationally recognized skincare expert, she was concerned about the marketing company’s approach and its credibility. What would her colleagues think and say? Farris proceeded cautiously.<br /> <br /> Doing her homework, Farris learned that Guthy-Renker is a reputable company.<br /> <br /> “Infomercials have gotten a bad rap,” Farris says. “But our testimonials are real, not paid. There’s no doctoring of the photos. I was impressed with the company’s carefulness.”<br /> <br /> When Farris finally decided to take the plunge into the world of infomercials in 1998, she worked with Guthy-Renker to develop a brochure that would be inserted into each kit so that consumers would receive information about proper skin care and how to use the products. When she filmed her first Guthy- Renker infomercial, the celebrity spokesperson for Natural Advantage was Kathie Lee Gifford of “Regis and Kathie Lee” fame. Just before filming the third commercial, Guthy- Renker approached Jane Seymour to become the new celebrity spokesperson for the line.<br /> <br /> Farris has become something of a celebrity herself. In addition to the TV infomercial that airs over and over, her face and endorsement are on the Natural Advantage website. She appears from time to time on the QVC shopping network. When she’s in an airport, strangers sometimes stop Farris to say, “I’ve seen you on TV!”<br /> <br /> As for her future plans, Farris mulls over the possibility of developing her own skincare line. She’d also love to do a call-in radio show and will continue to look for opportunities to educate consumers.<br /> <br /> Farris also contemplates that she’s now at the same age that Terezakis was when the senior physician invited Farris into her practice.<br /> <br /> “It’s time for me to start interviewing and going through that process,” she says. “I think mentoring is one of the most valuable things you can do as a physician. I’ve always loved Nia for mentoring me, and I would love in turn to mentor somebody else.”<br /> <br /> Farris says that any success that she has had is a tribute to Terezakis.<br /> <br /> “I love what I do,” she says. “I’m so happy. I love every aspect of it.”<br /> <br /> <em>Fran Simon is Class Notes editor for</em> Tulanian <em>and managing editor in the Office of University Publications.</em><br /> <br /> </p>
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VALUE <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:223347|" height="405" alt="Grand Stands" hspace="5" src="/news/tulanian/images/grandstand_2.jpg" width="300" align="right" vspace="5" border="0" />It’s a bright Thursday morning in April and the baseball complex known as Greer Field at Turchin Stadium is coming awake slowly and in increments, like a giant who ponders consciousness from the comfort of his bed.<br /> <br /> Baseball is an activity that demands real estate and lots of it, and so the facilities that accommodate the sport tend to be as spacious as a mountain meadow and, in the morning, equally as serene. The stands are empty, the field is a blank slate and the only sounds offered up are evocative not so much of the national pastime as of another working day.<br /> <br /> Someone is hosing down the walkway beneath the bleachers and someone else is dragging a trash can across the concrete. Heavy equipment churns from a nearby site that was formerly occupied by the Rosen House residence hall, which was demolished after being severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina flooding.<br /> <br /> Cars whoosh up and down Claiborne Avenue, and if you listen closely you can recognize amidst the other sounds the low murmur of a pair of workers who are sharing a snack during a mid-morning break.<br /> <br /> One of them is recalling—no doubt for the umpteenth time—the days she spent in the Louisiana Superdome after Katrina. Her words are shuttled in and out of earshot by the wind, the dark details of that time lifted high above the bleachers and dispersed into the brilliant blue.<br /> <br /> It’s nearing the third anniversary of the storm and the stories it generated remain, circulating through the city’s ongoing contemplation of how everything was touched by Katrina.<br /> <br /> Even the story of this stadium—brand new and button-down beautiful to the nuts and bolts that hold it together—cannot be told without placing Katrina in a leading role.<br /> <br /> Plans had been in the works to revamp old Turchin Stadium since 2001. By summer 2005, the project had progressed to the point where the existing bleachers were being removed. It was here, in the middle of demolition, that Katrina abruptly ended all work at the stadium. New construction did not begin until 2006, after the campus had been largely restored to working order, making the stadium the first major project to be initiated after the storm.<br /> <br /> “I remember very distinctly, two and a half years ago, standing on this very site in 3 feet of water,” Tulane President Scott Cowen told a crowd gathered in late February to dedicate Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. “Little did I ever imagine, two and a half years later, I would be standing in front of the stadium itself.”<br /> <br /> The new stadium “shows that we have not only recovered, but we have renewed ourselves and our commitment to be worldclass in everything we do,” said Cowen.<br /> <br /> That’s a lot to put on a stadium, but that’s how things roll in New Orleans, where every step forward is a step away from the brink. Cowen, who rode out the storm on campus and saw the floodwaters rise and communications systems fail as the city grew isolated from the world, has gazed into that brink.<br /> <br /> Yet now, looking up at the stadium that rises sharply and cleanly from Ben Weiner Drive it is hard to believe there was a time when the survival of the university—and even the city—was in question.<br /> <br /> <strong><br /> </strong></p> <h3><strong><img id="||CPIMAGE:223348|" height="395" alt="/Users/rhoorma/Desktop/tulanian_slavery_issues/grandstand2" hspace="5" src="/news/tulanian/images/grandstand2_1.jpg" width="375" align="right" vspace="5" border="0" />PLAY BY PLAY<br /> </strong></h3> <p>Only the stadium lighting, part of the scoreboard and the hitting facility remain from the old Turchin Stadium. Everything else is new— bricks, rails, signage, seats, down to the cupholders.<br /> <br /> The turf is state-of-the-art stuff, unnaturally green, but soft and resilient, with the ability to drain the output of a spring thunderstorm in minutes. This is good news because from Todd Graffagnini’s perch the sky looks like it will soon bust open.<br /> <br /> It’s a breezy Friday night in late April and the Green Wave are giving the players from Southern Mississippi a pretty good thumping.<br /> <br /> From his cubicle in the press box, high above and behind home plate, Graffagnini calls the play-by-play of the game, his voice bringing the action on the playing field to the radios of Wave fans across town.<br /> <br /> Graffagnini, who is a native New Orleanian and has called Green Wave baseball games for the last 16 years, says it’s especially fun to see fans in the stands with radios. He keeps one eye on a laptop that displays a colorful graphic indicating an approaching line of thunderstorms. He’s got the other eye on a computer screen displaying game stats of every player.<br /> <br /> Which makes you wonder how he’s watching the game below.<br /> <br /> With the clink of a metal bat, a fastball thrown by Wave pitcher Shooter Hunt is fouled away.<br /> <br /> “A souvenir for somebody,” says Graffagnini as the ball arcs into the stands. “Go get it little man. …”<br /> <br /> Another pitch, another clink, another foul.<br /> <br /> “Folks, that was over the net. The ball is a-jumpin’.”<br /> <br /> Graffagnini stands, hitches up his pants, surveys the field from dugout to dugout, perhaps looking for subtle clues of strategy or any other bit of information he can feed the oneway conversation he’s having with listeners.<br /> <br /> “I get locked into the game,” he says during the downtime of a between-innings commercial break. “So I really don’t get to watch it.”<br /> <br /> Which is an interesting comment that can make you a little sad if you think about it too much. Because if you’re not working up in the press box calling plays or keeping stats or running the scoreboard, if you’re just a visitor watching the game play out without having to say anything or keep track of anything, then it’s a pretty sweet experience.<br /> <br /> Despite its size and the fact that it can hold 5,000 people, Greer Field is an intimate space in which every seat seems to not only put you close to the action but also makes you feel integral to the design. Just like the shortstop standing between second and third base has his position, so does each fan, and no matter where you are, you are always aware of where everything else is.<br /> <br /> <img id="||CPIMAGE:223349|" height="217" alt="Press Box" hspace="5" src="/news/tulanian/images/mediabox.jpg" width="375" align="right" vspace="5" border="0" />If you are up in the press box behind home plate, then everything else is spreading out in the perfect symmetry of a ballpark. From the press box is where you shoot the photo for the postcard.<br /> <br /> But it’s from the stands that you experience the angles and curves, breadth and depth of a place that is large enough to be grand but modest enough to be comprehensible.<br /> <br /> Look to the east of the right field wall, to the top row at the very edge of the stadium, where the empty seats are likely to be most plentiful. There’s a guy sitting up there who is far enough away to make it tough to tell whether he’s a student, alumnus or vendor taking a break. You wonder about a guy who chooses a spot like that.<br /> <br /> Maybe he’s like Graffagnini, intent in his own space as he scans the field for the little clues that the game offers up, or maybe he’s a resident of the surrounding neighborhood looking over the side of the bounding rail and out into the treetops and rooftops, sidewalks and streets of his own home turf. Or maybe he pays the price of admission just to be up high and feeling the spring night air.<br /> <br /> Which in New Orleans can be a roll of the dice.<br /> <br /> “It’s a 15 flagger tonight. They are all blowin’,” says Graffagnini, the Voice of the Wave, as the wind kicks up and the rain comes down.<br /> <br /> The game comes to a halt and umbrellas and raincoats sprout throughout the stands. A couple of players from the Wave squad help the ground crew pull a small tarp over the pitcher’s mound, the only nonsynthetic surface on the field. Almost before they have it in place the rain is over and the game resumes.<br /> <br /> “Ah, New Orleans showers,” says Graffagnini.<br /> <br /> </p> <h3><strong>REAL TIES</strong></h3> <p>Wearing a headphone radio, Eddie Geoghegan (A&amp;S ’74, B ’78) listens to the broadcast of the game while watching it from his primo seats behind home plate. He’s the go-to guy when any of the number of friends with whom he’s sitting want to know the number of strike outs, innings pitched, bases on balls, batting averages, RBIs or any of the other myriad statistics useful to appreciate this game of numbers at a connoisseur’s level.<br /> <br /> “Stop the presses!” Graffagnini shouts into Geoghegan’s headset. “Hunt’s got two outs and he’s thrown three pitches.”<br /> <br /> Geoghegan didn’t go to many games when he was a student, but he’s got season tickets now, he says. Ask him how many games he attends and he asks back, rhetorically, “How many games do they play here?”<br /> <br /> The group he’s with did a little tailgating in the parking lot tonight “in preparation for the LSU game” that’s scheduled for next week.<br /> <br /> Geoghegan grew up within a mile of campus and as a kid made extra money parking cars during the Sugar Bowl, which was played in the old Tulane Stadium, not very far from where he’s now sitting.<br /> <br /> “That was a long time ago,” he says, “so I have real ties to Tulane. I think it’s great what they’ve done—the way they brought it back.”<br /> <br /> You have to figure he’s referring to the university bringing baseball games back Uptown.<br /> <br /> For two full seasons after the storm, the Green Wave baseball team played all its home games out in Jefferson Parish, on the field of the New Orleans Zephyrs, the city’s minor league team.<br /> <br /> So yeah, they brought it back. Through hell, high water and spring showers, they’re playing baseball again in the neighborhood.<br /> <br /> <em>Clink.<br /> </em><br /> Geoghegan and his buddies erupt as a Wave batter hits a line drive and sprints down the baseline trying to beat out the throw to first. “Go, go, go…” they call out as if all the world depends on it.<br /> <br /> “Safe!” </p> <p><em>Nick Marinello is features editor for</em> Tulanian <em>and a senior editor in the Office of Publications.</em><br /> <br /> </p>
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VALUE <p><img src="/news/tulanian/images/nicks-story_1.jpg" id="||CPIMAGE:223395|" alt="Somewhere in between" align="right" border="0" height="432" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="300" />It is at this moment commencement season, these words being written in the narrow slot of time that exists in academia between the conclusion of final exams and the rites and rituals of graduation.<br /> <br /> It’s a great time to check craigslist for bikes, televisions, weights, golf clubs, inflatable kayaks, Ikea chairs and other stuff being unloaded by students whose four years are up and who are ending their stay in the city.<br /> <br /> And if you pay careful attention, the bittersweet buzz on the streets surrounding the campus persists with a singular message: Wow, who knew four years would pass so quickly?<br /> <br /> The neighborhood is already beginning to slip into its snoozy summertime mode due to the departure of underclassmen, and you have to think that the graduating seniors are already beginning to feel dislocated from the world they have built around themselves these last four years.<br /> <br /> They wander familiar streets, but now it’s with their parents and younger siblings who have just arrived for the big ceremony.<br /> <br /> The days just before commencement can be like time spent in an airport waiting for a connecting flight. You’re neither here nor there, but rather, somewhere in between.<br /> <br /> Doesn’t Katrina seem like a lifetime ago? Doesn’t it seem like it was yesterday? Yes and yes. Time goes all funny on you in airports. That’s what being in transit does to you. The lack of a solid sense of place leaves you more exposed to time’s tricky influences. Four years can be experienced as an eternity but remembered as a blink.<br /> <br /> Truth is, we don’t relate to time very well.<br /> <br /> Time is God’s business and the hobby of physicists. The rest of us just want the clock to keep ticking.<br /> <br /> Place is a different matter. We inhabit places. We love them, hate them, leave them, return to them, contribute parts of who we are to them. We imagine ourselves in places and shape places with our imagination.<br /> <br /> For the last 10 years (wow, has it already been a decade?), Tulane graduates have been presented a gift at commencement in the form of a song. Each year, toward the end of the ceremony Wanda Rouzan, a talented and personable New Orleans singer, delivers a sweet rendition of “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans,” a song written in the 1940s and recorded by a jillion artists over the years. The lyrics longingly dwell on the icons of place as they invoke moss covered vines, moonlit bayous, blooming magnolias and whatnot.<br /> <br /> But what does it mean to “miss” something?<br /> <br /> In English, when we say we miss a place we’re acknowledging with regret that that place has become somehow absent (missing) from our lives. In Spanish, however, this can be expressed by the verb faltar, which literally means to lack something. The French use the verb manquer (to be lacking) in the same way.<br /> <br /> In English, the verb “lack” goes beyond “miss” to add a sense of deficiency, the sense of not having enough of something.<br /> <br /> What if Rouzan, who lost her home during Katrina and was displaced from this city for months following the storm, slipped during her performance and sang, “Do you know what it means to lack New Orleans?” What, indeed, would it mean to lack New Orleans? Where on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs should we list life in the Big Easy? At the bottom, along with breathing and eating? Somewhere at the top, alongside creativity and spontaneity? Or somewhere in between?<br /> <br /> Rouzan recalls being unable to sing for weeks after the storm. “My heart was broken,” she said in an interview two years ago. “I don’t know how to explain it. Every time I opened my mouth, I cried.”<br /> <br /> We believe there are reasons for things, even mysterious things that we can’t explain. We make hierarchies and diagrams and lists and put our fingerprints all over existence.<br /> <br /> Yet you can walk a familiar street and it will suddenly seem different, even alien. Or you can sit in an airport, waiting for the next flight out of town, ticking off a mental list of stuff you meant to take along even as you are bedeviled by a gnawing feeling that you’ve left something of worth behind.<br /> <br /> And no matter how hard you sift and sort and process, you don’t know what you’re missing.<br /> <br /> <i>Nick Marinello is features editor of</i> Tulanian.<br /> <br /> </p>
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VALUE <blockquote> <p><i>This article was originally printed in the Jan. 13, 2008, issue of</i> The Times-Picayune<i>.</i></p> </blockquote> <p> </p> <blockquote> <p><b><i>Her husband, Bobby, may be running the state, but Supriya Jindal brings her own record of accomplishment to the governor’s mansion.</i></b><br /> </p> </blockquote> <p><img class="float_right" src="/news/tulanian/images/priya_1.jpg" id="||CPIMAGE:223400|" alt="Louisiana's Better Half" border="0" height="412" hspace="0" vspace="0" width="300" />This was her third child, so Supriya Jindal (E ’93, B ’96) figured she knew what she was doing when it came to having a baby.<br /> <br /> But this one was tricky. Twice she had gone to the hospital reporting labor pains and twice she had been sent home. A few days later, she went for a regularly scheduled doctor’s visit, certain she was ready to deliver. Soon, she was told, but not quite yet.<br /> <br /> That night, she woke up with a pain. She knew all about contractions—the first birth had taken 36 hours of labor, the second took 24—but this didn’t feel like a contraction, she says. Nevertheless, she asked her husband to phone the hospital. The nurse on call told him to bring her in.<br /> <br /> As she prepared to leave the house, she suddenly recognized the strange pain.<br /> <br /> “This baby is coming now!” Jindal shouted to her husband. And she was right. The delivery took place au naturel on the bathroom floor in the couple’s Kenner, La., home. The midwife was Bobby Jindal, who in January became Louisiana’s 61st governor.<br /> <br /> “Bobby called my dad (to come care for the two sleeping children),” Jindal says. “He lives six miles away from us and he hopped in his car in his pajamas. In the time it took him to drive over, the baby was born.”<br /> <br /> With the nurse on the phone coaching him, Bobby did what had to be done. Jindal did likewise, although she had eagerly taken the epidural route for her other two deliveries.<br /> <br /> When it was all over, she asked her husband just three questions, she says.<br /> <br /> “Boy or girl?”<br /> <br /> Boy.<br /> <br /> “Ten fingers and toes?”<br /> <br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> “Is he breathing?”<br /> <br /> Her husband gave her a look.<br /> <br /> “The baby is screaming his head off, waking up the entire neighborhood,” Bobby said. “What do you mean is he breathing?”<br /> <br /> The experience was tense and stressful and anxiety-producing, not to mention fivestar dramatic. But Supriya Jindal kept her cool throughout.<br /> <br /> “She was screaming in pain but she wasn’t angry,” Bobby says. “She never got hysterical, never cursed. She maintained her composure.”<br /> <br /> The quality of composure seems to reside at the core of Jindal. She is a refined woman, poised and dignified, polished and positive, serene and smart. She is an attentive listener and a spirited conversation partner—chatty, amusing, game, eager to follow a lead. But she also is reserved and a little reticent, with a touch of caution about her. Calm under pressure would seem just about right.<br /> <br /> The husband-to-the-rescue story made Bobby Jindal, then Louisiana’s 1st District U.S. representative, more of a media darling than any political act ever has. But at home, the experience had a more lasting impact. It had put the couple to the test—and they had aced it.<br /> <br /> “It was the most amazing moment of our 10 years of marriage when I was able to hand her our son,” Bobby says. “We had to have confidence and trust in each other. It was a miraculous moment.”<br /> <br /> Jindal agrees.<br /> <br /> “After it was over, it brought our connection with each other closer,” she says. “It makes you more in love.”<br /> <br /> Born in New Delhi, India, because her parents were visiting their families and stayed a little too long, Jindal landed when she was only a few days old in Metairie, La., where her parents had been living for some years. Between Baton Rouge and the suburbs of New Orleans, she has spent nearly all her life in Louisiana.<br /> <br /> The oldest of three children and daughter of a stay-at-home mom and an engineer dad, Jindal was a star student at Grace King High School, where she was known for being both lively and bookish.<br /> <br /> “We were really boring—all student-government type kids,” says Brenda Bordelon, a close high school pal. “I was on the school paper; she was on the yearbook staff. Our idea of a good time was to hang out at Baskin and Robbins.”<br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo"> <p><img src="/news/tulanian/images/priya-grad_1.jpg" id="||CPIMAGE:223418|" alt="Supriya Jindal" border="0" height="298" hspace="0" vspace="0" width="150" /><br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"> <p>Following in her father's<br /> footsteps, Jindal received<br /> a degree in chemical<br /> engineering at Tulane,<br /> and then went on to get<br /> a master's in business<br /> administration.<br /> </p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>With a 4.3 average, Jindal was clearly serious and ambitious. And she appeared to be self-possessed as well.<br /> <br /> “She was friendly and outgoing but not over-the-top bubbly,” Bordelon says. “She had a small group of friends. Being a good, loyal friend was important to Supriya. She didn’t need to impress everybody who walked by.”<br /> <br /> Even in high school, Jindal was a devotee of conservative politics. When the 1988 Republican convention came to New Orleans, she worked on the welcoming committee as a volunteer.<br /> <br /> “I’ve always been a Republican,” she says. “My parents, too.”<br /> <br /> When it came time for college, Jindal chose Tulane University, where she lived on campus and studied chemical engineering, as her father had done. After earning a bachelor’s degree, she went on to get a master’s in business administration at Tulane and most of a Ph.D. at Louisiana State University, where she has completed everything but her dissertation in marketing.<br /> <br /> Vijay John, a professor in Tulane’s engineering school, remembers Jindal as an accomplished young woman with attractive social skills and a rigorous mind.<br /> <br /> “She was a model student,” he says. “Diligent, worked hard, easy to get along with. She asked very intelligent questions.<br /> <br /> “She was energetic in a quiet way. Not at all showy. Very dignified and polite. Maybe a little on the quiet side.”<br /> <br /> Her career path is impressive but traditional, given her education. She worked first for Monsanto Chemicals, a St. Louis company that produces the herbicide Round-Up, among other things, at its plant in Luling, to which she commuted from an apartment in Uptown New Orleans.<br /> <br /> In 1997, Jindal moved to Baton Rouge to take a job at Albemarle Corp., another chemical outfit, which turns out products that go into detergents, cosmetics and shampoos as well as flame retardants used in computer housings and televisions to prevent them from igniting. She held a variety of positions there, from research and development to something called competitive intelligence, which has a James Bondian sound about it. She laughs at the suggestion.<br /> <br /> “It’s a matter of better understanding our competitors so that we can better assess what our customers are looking for and provide a better value package to the marketplace,” she says.<br /> <br /> Her final position at Albemarle was as a product manager, about four rungs down from the top, management-wise. She was 29 when she took the assignment.<br /> <br /> “She was very reserved, very thoughtful, respectful of her co-workers and their input,” says John Prindle, a colleague at Albemarle. “She treated people with a lot of respect.”<br /> <br /> With the birth of her third child—and later, the prospect of being married to the Louisiana governor—Jindal put her career on hold. She is unclear about when she will resume it.<br /> <br /> “But it is not possible for me to imagine I would never work again,” she says.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3>LITTLE DID THEY KNOW</h3> <p><br /> Tall and slim at 35, with a graceful carriage and an elegant sense of style, Jindal has dark eyes and a cascade of well-behaved hair.<br /> <br /> One of her classmates remembers her striking good looks from her freshman year at Baton Rouge High School, where she had moved when her father was temporarily reassigned there by Freeport-McMoRan.<br /> <br /> “I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen, “says Bobby, who was a year ahead of her. “I only wish I could say she had been my high school sweetheart. But she had other plans.”<br /> <br /> Oblivious of his crush, Jindal was out of touch with him for years after that—she moved back to New Orleans, he went East for college. But she kept track of him through mutual friends and through the media, and she took note of a Times-Picayune profile of him when he was appointed at age 24 to run Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals.<br /> <br /> In that profile, he bemoaned his bachelor state and described what he wanted in a mate.<br /> <br /> “I’m looking for someone to challenge me— intellectually, spiritually, emotionally. Someone who will keep me honest. Someone who won’t merely accede to whatever I say. Someone who will hold me accountable,” he said in 1996.<br /> <br /> “I chuckled when I read that,” she says.<br /> <br /> On their first date, Bobby invited her to a ball put on by his boss, Gov. Mike Foster. On their second date, they had dinner at Bella Luna in the French Quarter and went on a riverboat cruise. The next day, they took a ride up River Road.<br /> <br /> “Bobby gave me a tour of the plantations along the river and I gave him a tour of the chemical plants,” she says.<br /> <br /> Within a few months, they were engaged and then married in 1997 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Baton Rouge. Their wedding reception was at the governor’s mansion.<br /> <br /> “Little did we know,” she says, raising her eyebrows.<br /> <br /> Although Bobby had converted from Hinduism to Catholicism as a young man, Jindal took a while longer. It was several years after her marriage that she finally joined the Catholic Church. Her parents were accepting of her decision, she says. And she thinks she would have arrived at the same place with or without the influence of her husband.<br /> <br /> “It was more of a spiritual journey than it was an intellectual journey,” she says. “I read a lot about religion from the standpoint of converts and why they chose to convert and what led them to do so. That was the path I took— just understanding why people choose Catholicism.<br /> <br /> “You can be born into a faith. But when you choose to switch to something, you try to truly understand it.”<br /> <br /> </p> <h3>A NEW ORLEANS GIRL</h3> <p><br /> With a house in Kenner, two cars and three children—Selia, 6; Shaan, 3; and Slade, 1— Jindal says she has been living the life of a classic suburban working mom.<br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo"> <p><img src="/news/tulanian/images/jindal-fam_1.jpg" id="||CPIMAGE:223420|" alt="The Jindals" border="0" height="260" hspace="0" vspace="0" width="377" /><br /> </p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"> <p>The Jindals with sons Shaan and Slade.<br /> </p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>Balance has been a big issue for her, managing family and career, the demands of being a political wife and the burdens of a frequently out-of-town husband. Through it all, she says, she has managed to take her kids to the zoo, pick strawberries in Ponchatoula, La., show up on the campaign trail when her husband was unavailable and carve out some quiet time for herself.<br /> <br /> Bobby says she does it all without flinching.<br /> <br /> “In many ways, I’m a tough guy to be married to,” he says. “I travel, I work long hours, unpredictable hours. An unfair share of family obligations falls on her shoulders. The only reason I can do what I do is that I married this incredible woman who doesn’t complain about it, doesn’t resent it.<br /> <br /> “You’re talking about an accomplished career woman. She could have said, ‘Sorry, but I didn’t sign up for this.’ Instead, she’s done it joyfully.”<br /> <br /> Bobby, meanwhile, has done his share of diaper-changing and has made sure, when he’s home, that he is as faithful as possible to certain rituals: He takes the children to school in the morning; he puts them to bed at night, reads them stories and leads them through their prayers; he shows up for dance recitals and school plays.<br /> <br /> The two of them keep in contact via frequent, short cell-phone conversations throughout the day. They say they confide freely in each other and have trouble keeping secrets. And, Bobby says, they have a lot in common in terms of preferences, passions and their child-centered family values.<br /> <br /> But not everything, he is quick to add.<br /> <br /> She likes romantic comedies; he likes “Law and Order.” She has a taste for fine food; he has a taste for Taco Bell. She has a strong need for social contact; he’s content to take the kids to the park. She goes for spreadsheets and databases; he goes for get-it-done. She has a sense of fashion; he’d wear the same suit every day if she’d let him. She’s sequential; he compartmentalizes. She’s sentimental; he needs a reminder their anniversary is coming up. She plays racquetball; he plays tennis.<br /> <br /> In her down-time, Jindal says, she indulges her own preferences. She likes to read— legal thrillers for entertainment and the Wall Street Journal for information. She likes Frank Sinatra and classic rock. She enjoys the theater and sometimes makes it to the “Beethoven and Blue Jeans” concerts put on by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.<br /> <br /> Her all-time favorite movies are anything with Cary Grant, although lately it’s been more like “Ratatouille.” She has fun cooking when she can be ambitious about it, which isn’t often. In between, she watches the “Iron Chef,” Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray.<br /> <br /> For celebrations, she likes dinner at Mr. B’s. On family nights, she heads for Dot’s Diner.<br /> <br /> She tries to do most of her fashion shopping on Magazine Street or Metairie Road to support local vendors. She has traveled extensively, from Asia to Europe, all across the United States and all through Louisiana, including a homey adventure with her husband, tracing the scenic coastline of the state.<br /> <br /> With parents and in-laws, aunts and uncles and at least a dozen cousins nearby, much of Jindal’s social life involves family. Her mother, Shakun Jolly, is intuitive and nurturing, Bobby says, good at helping her daughter deal with her children. But in terms of her analytical style and her engineer’s take on the world, he says, his wife more resembles her father, Jay Jolly, a vice president at Crescent Technology, a consulting company spun off from Freeport-McMoRan.<br /> <br /> “Supriya and her dad, you get the sense they talk the same language,” Bobby says. “They are similar in temperament, personality. There’s a natural affinity there.”<br /> <br /> Although she has visited India several times—including once with Bobby, when he was sent as a congressman on a trade mission— she says she doesn’t feel any particular attachment to the country of her ancestors or any particular sense of comfort when she’s there. Nor does she follow the news from India with any particular regularity.<br /> <br /> “I think it’s interesting. I enjoy traveling and experiencing different things, different cultures. But it’s not a direct connection, “ she says.<br /> <br /> “She’s a New Orleans girl,” Bobby says. At play with the children or in prayer with her husband before he addresses a special session of the Louisiana Legislature, Jindal embraces the very different roles of being a political wife and mom. “I think that defines her more.”<br /> <br /> But Jindal does say that being the child of immigrants inspires her admiration for their fortitude and determination.<br /> <br /> “I’m sure there were a lot of struggles,” she says. “Our parents went through a great deal— leaving their families, relocating, not knowing anyone, starting from scratch. We look at them as our heroes for accomplishing that.”</p> <br /> <br /> <h3>A NEED TO KNOW</h3> <p><br /> If the Jindals seem to be leading charmed lives, they haven’t always. When their second child was born three years ago with a hole in his heart, their lives, for a time, were terrifying.<br /> <br /> The problem was discovered when Shaan was only a few days old, at a regular checkup when the pediatrician heard something suspicious through the stethoscope. Ventricular septal defect, it is called.<br /> <br /> For weeks and weeks, they tried everything the medical profession could offer to get the hole to close without operating. When every attempt failed, they took the child—then 3 months old—to Boston Children’s Hospital for open-heart surgery.<br /> <br /> “One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Jindal says, “was hold that little baby and pass him to the anesthesiologist for surgery.”<br /> <br /> In the frantic weeks before that, the Jindals came to terms with the inevitable. The situation shook them both profoundly but their distinctive responses to the challenge, Bobby says, illuminate the differences in their personality styles.<br /> <br /> From the first moment, Jindal showed a ferocious need to know.<br /> <br /> “The doctor had cautioned us not to believe everything you read on the Internet,” Bobby says. “But of course, Supriya immediately found all these postings and all these scary horror stories.”<br /> <br /> Then she went into phase two—with a vengeance.<br /> <br /> “She researched the procedure itself—and all the alternatives,” he says. “She would ask the doctor all sorts of technical questions: What about this? I’ve heard about that new treatment. She was reading a lot, she kept a notebook. She was so organized. She was going to educate herself in every detail and every nuance and she was going to leave no stone unturned.<br /> <br /> “At one point, the doctor turned to me and said, ‘Just tell me you’re not an engineer. I don’t think I could take two of you.’”<br /> <br /> Bobby, meanwhile, was pursuing his own course.<br /> <br /> “I had a different response, “ he says. “I went out and investigated the doctors. I was going to find the best possible doctor to be found. I wasn’t going to second-guess their judgment. I figured I didn’t go to med school—they know a lot more about it than I do.”<br /> <br /> Although his instincts took him down a different path, he was nevertheless entirely sympathetic to his wife’s approach.<br /> <br /> “Given her personality, it was hard for her not to have control over her child,” Bobby says. “This is life or death—it’s hard to be in a passive observer role.<br /> <br /> “You want to defend your child. You feel so helpless when he’s in someone else’s hands. She wanted some input in the process. She needed to feel she had some say.<br /> <br /> “It was also probably a coping mechanism— a way to stay busy, stay involved, have some control over this awful thing that’s happening. It can give you a sense of comfort.”<br /> <br /> Today, Shaan is a frisky 3-year-old, but just as it would two years later, when their baby was born on the bathroom floor, the episode brought the Jindals closer.<br /> <br /> “When you go through such a challenging experience,” Bobby says, “it can either exacerbate the underlying tensions and weaknesses or it can strengthen the relationship. For us, it strengthened it. We have incredible family and friends, but you’re really dependent on each other. There’s only one other person who knows what you’re going through.”<br /> <br /> </p> <h3>GETTING IT RIGHT</h3> <p><br /> Supriya Jindal is the second youngest wife of a sitting governor in the United States, edged out by six months by Missouri’s Melanie Blunt. As such, she faces the kind of issues that the first ladies of most states do not: the challenge of raising three small children in the governor’s mansion.<br /> <br /> For the most part, she thinks, she will play the kind of dual role she has played for years in Kenner, but writ a little larger. Along with public appearances and hosting responsibilities, she would like to focus whatever spotlight is available to her on issues of children’s health. At the same time, though, she will still have diaper duty, she will still have to get the kids ready for school every day, she will still have to supervise homework and broker sibling spats.<br /> <br /> She understands there will be some costs to her personal life, particularly to her privacy. But she also understands the enormous opportunity, given this crucial point in Louisiana’s history, in the aftermath of Rita and Katrina.<br /> <br /> “I always tell Bobby that we have to get this right,” she says. “Our kids are only going to be young once. When they grow up, if there aren’t opportunities for them here in Louisiana, they’re going to leave.<br /> <br /> “We see our friends moving out of state— bright and talented people—and we don’t like seeing it.”<br /> </p> <blockquote> <p><i>© 2008 The Times-Picayune Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Used with permission of</i> The Times-Picayune<i>. </i></p> </blockquote>
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VALUE Supriya Jindal is the yin to Bobby’s yang, the engineer to the policy wonk in the Louisiana governor’s mansion.
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Tulane in the news


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