I was pretty excited when I found out I would get to make my very first trip to the Big Easy in February. I have to say, the city charmed me. I was drawn into the unique architecture and decorative nature of the buildings. I ate king cake and checked out the sites at Bourbon Street. I even came home with my very first Mardi Gras mask, which I must admit looks pretty superb on me (not that I am bragging or anything).
However, I will tell you that the highlight of my trip was hearing Peter and Gregg’s story. I was sent on assignment for another of our publications and while I was there I thought it would be a great opportunity to profile a window film shop. I ended up getting in touch with Peter Kauffman who has joined forces with Gregg Taylor to merge their companies into GT Tint.
I remember watching the footage of Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath on TV. The most distinct memory I have is feeling like this was surreal—it didn’t feel like it was happening to my country.
When Peter and Gregg began to recount the days following the storm I found myself holding my breath. They just got the job done because that is what was expected of them. They tinted police and FEMA vehicles and helped people protect their homes and cars for the future.
The story of Katrina and the city is honestly in my soul now. I can’t really explain it to you, but Peter and Gregg’s story will stay with me forever. I am honored to be able to share it with you (look to our March/April issue of Window Film magazine).
During our chat, Peter gave me an article from Fortune magazine about the city of New Orleans and he said he thought it would give me a good perspective. In the eloquent piece the rebuilding saga was explained and I found myself unable to put the magazine down. Peter told me that in Florida they sometimes refer to Hurricane Andrew as St. Andrew because of how it helped revitalize the community. The same seems to be true in Louisiana. The loss of life is, of course, tragic, but New Orleans is looking up. The city has a large amount of construction happening and there is a good deal of federal money floating around—things that were not happening prior to Katrina. Now that’s not to say that there is no need for help for the victims of the storm, but the city is looking better than it did in pre-Katrina days.
You can also find a FILM’d video report of our visit to New Orleans and GT Tint on our website.