While I wasn't born in Baton Rouge, I've spent nearly my entire life here. I consider myself a Baton Rouge native, and I love this city. I want nothing more than to see it transcend into a cultural hub where technology, the arts, and people coalesce into a hotspot of passionate innovation.
But I didn't always feel this way.
When I was about to graduate high school, I sent applications to colleges all over the United States. I wanted nothing more than to leave this place. I wanted to leave and explore and never come back. While I ultimately got into the college I wanted to attend, I didn't get enough scholarship to foot the bill. Thus, I was relegated to staying home.
At that time, it was an incredible disappointment. I had worked so hard to go away and study at a great school. It felt as though I was being rejected by the world at large. "You're not good enough to leave," I imagined the collective world saying to me.
But that's not what was happening. The world at large wasn't rejecting me, the state that I call home was simply asking me to stay. It needed me as much as I needed it.
I couldn't have realized it at the time, but staying in Louisiana would change my life. I have no doubt that if I had left, my path would have been indistinguishable from the path that I'm on now. Because, in reality, I was offered so many opportunities here that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Being here opened me up to the kind of thinking that allowed me to start my own business, and the economic climate here has allowed me to succeed, create jobs, and make awesome apps.
Now that I'm here, I'm all in. I want to do everything to help push us forward, to turn this city into what I know it can be. It's a block of marble, as Jeff Roedel so eloquently put it in 225.
There's this great story of Michelangelo. A young prince wandered upon him as he was staring at a mammoth, unworked 18-foot block of marble. The prince asked the obvious: "What are you doing?" Michelangelo replied, "I'm working." He did that every day without relent. Three years later, that piece of marble was the statue of David.
Baton Rouge, and Louisiana in general, is that block of marble. In place of Michelangelo, we have brilliant entrepreneurs who are working non-stop to create a better city. Casey Phillips, a friend of mine, is one of those people. A distinct piece of what Baton Rouge will look like has already started with his help in the form of the Baton Rouge Walls Project.
The whole goal of the project is to use the many blank walls of downtown Baton Rouge as giant canvases that local artists can turn into something beautiful. There's so much amazing surrounding this project, that it's hard not to be excited about it.
Creating a more beautiful downtown is just step one. And you can be a part of it.
Join me in turning this idea into reality. Back this project on Kickstarter. Any amount is significant to help turn downtown Baton Rouge into a canvas.