The Wannabe Naturalist™ Edition 2021/4

EDITION 13 |  Read time: 5 minutes 30 seconds.


We arrived in New Orleans in 2017 on Fat Tuesday (also called Mardi Gras.) The festivities were winding down (see morning-after picture of Mr. Opossum below), and most residents were preparing for Lent. Mardi Gras, is French for "fat Tuesday." This holiday is the day before Ash Wednesday, and it begins a season of fasting, called Lent, for many Christians leading up to Easter Sunday. June and I weren’t strangers to The Big Easy, we got married here in 1998. And June grew up here, and her parents and sister still lived in NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana.) June followed a familiar pattern, leaving New Orleans after college only to return with a husband several years later.

For me it was a fresh adventure. I’m not new to seeking out greener pastures; my Dutch forefathers were explorers, so it’s in my DNA, and June and I both have the traveling bug. Life dealt us a hand that did not include children, so we embrace our freedom, and we frequently do what most parents can’t—we pack up and move. It’s time for another one of those moves. If you overlook the heat, humidity, hurricanes, potholes and terrible Internet, living in New Orleans is a great experience, and it is an experience. And it’s because of the people . . . and Saints football. I am disappointed that there isn’t more emphasis on protecting the environment and fighting climate change, but Laissez les bons temps rouler (“let the good times roll!”), Oil & Gas, tourism, and storm recovery are the main industries in this city, and everyone knows that New Orleans is only one major hurricane away from being washed out to sea. Change happens slowly in a city that has survived storms for the past 300 years.

I was fortunate to be part the Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners associations in New Orleans, two organizations doing an excellent job informing and teaching the public about the outdoors, gardening, nature, and natural history. Spending time at the New Orleans Botanical Garden and paddling the bayous in my kayak will remain my favorite memories when we relocate to North Carolina in January. 

During our time here in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to work with The Idea Village as an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) and as a mentor at Propeller, an impact accelerator and business incubator. The entrepreneurial spirit in New Orleans is alive and well, reaching a diverse group of startup business owners, only lacking in 'climate tech' companies to combat the changing environment. The business community and institutions of higher learning in New Orleans have the capacity to deliver the changes and solutions needed in order to meet the challenges of climate change. Let's hope it happens soon. 

One of the companies I worked with,, honored me by acquiring several of my photography images for their office as well as several books for their staff. Thank you, Denis and team!

We leave behind family and lots of friends, so we’ll be back to enjoy the festivals, charbroiled oysters, and softshell crab po’boys! 

This image speaks volumes…

In this issue you will find:

  • Photography Destination: Cuba 
  • Gardeners Know the Dirt: Dahlias
  • What to Read? Where the Crawdads Sing
  • Guest Photographers: Glacier Photo Guides 
  • And much more!

Here is your FREE copy

2022 Calendars

Wannabe Naturalist Books
Lizard 2022 Calendar

Here's your Discount Code to save 20% on my website: