Inspired by Tradition and Exploration

Scott Kronick

The famous British-Irish spy novelist, John Le Carré, once remarked, “a desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” I used this quote many times in my earlier life to encourage younger colleagues to get out of the office in search of new connections and experiences.

Well, Lisa and I did just that this past week. We travelled to South Florida and New Orleans for a bit of family time and vacation, so forgive me for the self-indulgence as I write about my travels. There are, however, some Monday Morning Mojo themes populated throughout this missive.

Tradition

We began in South Florida with a visit to my Aunt Ricia, and a few cousins who live there. When I was young, we used to spend our holidays here. Much of the trip was a walk down memory lane, with lots of inspiration. Most of this came from Aunt Ricia, who is in her mid-eighties, very clear minded and healthy, and she is more active than most people my age. She shared a lot about the history of the Kronick family with us, which was most educational. And, I loved seeing my cousins the Popluders and Konners for a brief dinner.

What was most memorable, however, was my Aunt Ricia’s optimism. She is the sister of my dad, and framed everything in such a positive way, it was an inspiration. Loud, disruptive construction she has going on in her condo throughout the day for the past several months she calls, “progress.” Traffic created by boats going through an intracoastal draw bridge she considers a minor inconvenience for living in such a beautiful location. She shared a few of her life philosophies with me, including this one from Dr. Suess.

I also had the chance to meet up with a long-time friend of mine from college, Rich Rosenstein, and his father and brother, Sam and Scott. Rich was my roommate when I first moved to New York, and we lived in a very small one-bedroom apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey. I would argue our work ethic came from not wanting to ever have to return to such conditions. Here is a picture of both of us in front of Rich’s office.

Exploration

We went from Ft. Lauderdale to New Orleans for a bit of vacation and exploration. On a swamp tour in the outskirts of the city Lisa and I saw raccoons, snakes, turtles, and a number of alligators. Pictures below.

We learned about the history of the French Quarter, saw some great jazz, ate way too much, and made the most of our two-day stay.

Resilience and Progress

What was most memorable to me was the resilience of this city. It is like they took a page out of my Aunt Ricia’s life philosophy. They get hit and they keep coming back. The city’s recovery since Hurricane Katrina is most impressive. Southern hospitality is certainly on display here, and knowing and taking care of your neighbors, one tour guide mentioned, was very much a part of New Orleans way of life. What I also learned, but did not know, was how women in New Orleans played a significant role in the women’s suffrage movement that led to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The 19th Amendment makes it illegal to deny the right to vote to any citizen based on their sex, which effectively granted women the right to vote. It was first introduced to Congress in 1878 and was finally certified 42 years later in 1920.

Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba

I asked Lisa what inspired her most about New Orleans, and she mentioned the story of Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba. Long story short, this woman, who was the daughter of one of the most illustrious Creole families in Louisiana, entered into a terrible marriage, which ended in her father-in-law trying to murder her to inherit her wealth. He shot her many times, but she survived and later used her wealth to rebuild New Orleans. Historical records report she “personally designed and commissioned the construction of the beautiful red-brick town houses forming two sides of the Place d’Armes, which are today known as the Pontalba Buildings. The construction of the Pontalba Buildings cost more than $300,000 and she was a constant visitor to the construction sites, often supervising the work on horseback. She was very ‘hands-on’ in supervising the construction of the buildings – visiting the site daily – dressed often in pants and boots and climbing the scaffolding to inspect the work being done.” In short, she was a “bad ass”. Lisa was most impressed because her type of bravery was uncommon during this time, and she went against every norm to succeed. The full story about this Baroness is below for those interested.

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Creative Culture

New Orleans is certainly a center of creativity. Beyond the music, art, architecture and performances, there are poets sitting throughout the city, ready to write a poem for whatever topic you wish. So, for the Monday Morning Mojo community, I asked one to write a poem for all of us. Here you go:

To The Monday Morning Mojo

2-24-2024

“Nothing in your mind can be so overwhelming that you die.

Love though it may be hard to find, is abundant in every breath we take.

If air didn’t love us, we would drown in it.

If water didn’t love us, it would melt you down.

If fire didn’t love us, it would never cook our food.

If we didn’t love each other, we would never speak again.

Tell somebody I said so, please.”

Leaving you with a classic of one of New Orleans’ jazz greats, Louis Armstrong, “What A Wonderful World”.

Thanks for indulging me. Have a great week everyone.

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Ricia Kronick Scharf
Ricia Kronick Scharf
1 month ago

Oh my goodness Scott, I truly am so honored that you wrote about me in your Monday Morning Moho.. I soo enjoyed your and Lisa’s visit, YES, at this point in my life , it’s all about spending time and loving to be with my family..Terrific Mojo today, and educational about New Orleans.. loved it!! Thank you ..

Ilise
Ilise
1 month ago

You look wonderful, Ricia!!!
I also believe in your philosophy-think positive!!

schirm
schirm
1 month ago

Rosey!

richard
richard
1 month ago
Reply to  schirm

whats up saw dave and doug tonight at the boheim event

Rick
Rick
1 month ago

Wow I see your Dad in Ricia. What a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Wang Ling
Wang Ling
1 month ago

Happy Year of Dragon Scott! So warm to read your article and know about people you love

Joyce Beach
Joyce Beach
1 month ago

I also see your dear dad in Aunt Ricia. However, she doesn’t sport male pattern baldness like he did! According to your account, her philosophy matches her energy. I’d be drawn to FL If I had an Aunt Ricia. She gave you and Lisa a wonderful New Orleans send off.
Today, I carried my cell around listening to a very young Louis Armstrong. He was so right, what a wonderful world it is.

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