Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Monday, August 14, 2006

New Orleans Is Coming Back -- Visit If You Can

My wife and I last week were in New Orleans for the American Psychological Association (APA) Conference. The downtown area, its hotels, and French Quarter have come back strong a year after Katrina. There is no reason not to visit New Orleans and to enjoy those parts of the city that most of us are familiar with from our prior conference attendance. It is a real shame that some organizations have concelled conferences originally scheduled for New Orleans. There is absolutely no reason not to hold conferences in the city.

APA is to be commended for keeping their conference in New Orleans as a way to show support for the city. I hope other organizations will follow APA's lead. The city is coming back and needs everyone's support at this time.

APA held two performances to benefit Katrina causes. On Friday, we were treated to a show by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. It was wonderful. On Saturday, Bill Cosby performed. He gave an excellent show. He is 69 and still going strong. Dr. Phil also gave a talk. He explained how his TV show came about and how it is conducted. I was interested to learn that all who appear on his show have follow-up from psychologists or other mental health professions. I must admit that I had new found respect for Dr. Phil and what he is doing as a result of hearing his talk. By the way, the night before Dr. Phil, and several of his friends from the world of entertainment, gave a special benefit performance for first responders from New Orleans.

Of course, the devastation from Katrina is still too apparent in many of the residential areas of New Orleans. My sister-in-law and her family had their house distroyed by the flood -- but they plan to rebuild. The people of New Orleans have a great spirit about them and are working to make their city even better than it was before Katrina. It makes you feel good to see businesses with "We're Back!" signs proudly posted on their buildings.

I hope all RTs will think about ways to support the rebuilding efforts by the people of New Orleans. Our visit made us realize just how important that support is to those who live there.


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