I can now check, “Go to a TED talk” off my Bucket List. Only now that I’ve had my first taste, I want more. Good thing for me that TEDxLSU will be back next year. What an exciting, exhilarating, thought-provoking day. I had high expectations—I was the first one to arrive—and those expectations were exceeded.
One of the first things I quickly realized is how embedded I am in the Baton Rouge community. Not only did I know many in the audience, but I knew several of the speakers. Baton Rouge is a big town; I always say there’s just one degree of separation here. I’m so happy to say that my hometown and my Alma Mata did me proud. Listening to 24 passionate speakers talk about what was of utmost importance in their lives also gave me the promise of a bright future, not only for Baton Rouge and Louisiana, but also for the country and the world. We are all interconnected.
Two overriding themes were an unplanned part of the talks; the first was about the importance of community – from inner city blight to the vanishing Louisiana wetlands.  The second was the importance of following your bliss – from being a librarian to swimming 32 miles.
All the speakers were living their dream. Here’s my takeaway from each:

  • Desmond-The beautiful LSU campus is based on classical architectural concepts especially from Thomas Jefferson and his design of the University of Virginia.
  •  Bowen-The need to make college more like a good video game.
  • Rodrigue- The son of famous “Blue Dog” artist George Rodrique expanded on his dad’s creative legacy and is trying to bring teaching through arts integration to Louisiana education.
  • Kopplin-College sophomore, Zach Kopplin is our bright future. He is trying to get Louisiana’s creationism law repealed. He’s got 78 Nobel laureate scientists on his side.  He makes me ask myself “what have I done today?”
  • Allison-You can manipulate sound with the computer, kind of like how I can manipulate photographs in Photoshop.
  • Hwang & Conlin-Ideas in the head are like strings in the orchestra.
  • Godshall-Rid yourself of lofty aspirations and be totally vulnerable.
  • Kruse-Maybe we’re all born with a song in our vibrating DNA.
  • Manning-Broome-Urban Planner Manning-Broome truly lived what she believed. She and her husband bought a drug dealer-filled, dilapidated inner city apartment complex and moved in to live what they believed. 5 years later, overcoming real life obstacles including theft and murder trials, their block is a proud and better community.
  • Shaffer-When the speaker said poop could save our wetlands. My laugh was heard and recognized above everyone else’s and tweeted about.
  • Nguyen-Kenny Nguyen – my young friend – talked about the power and importance of saying no. We are all going to work for this young twenty-something someday – which is not the only reason I’m nice to him. He also said what I believe, listen to your heart and follow your gut.
  • Dixon-We all need a mentor, a mission and a mindset.
  • Stein-Libraries have reinvented themselves. Mary Stein wowed me. I don’t know what but she and I are going to do something together in the future. It’s not your grandmother’s library. geekthelibrary.com 
  • Freeman-I wish I was back in school so I could be in Craig Freeman’s class.
  • Darden & Hinton-LSU’s Create Lab is freakin’ blowing my mind. Today’s students really are changing the world.
  • Barry-Amateurs are valuable for every field.
  • Martin-If we got rid of cars and rode bikes, we’d all be healthier and happier. While I believe this, I also know I’m so klutzy I fall off bikes as friends and family will attest, it’s not because I go fast, I just have issues with stopping.
  • Moore-Social media is changing how we grieve.
  • Phillips-I’m a bommeranger like the speaker. Meaning he moved away, vowing never to return, yet the Louisiana siren call lured him back home.
  • Jetson-Our cities are like our bodies, the core must be healthy.
  • Kandalepas-Coastal erosion. In 90 years Baton Rouge will be a coastal city.
  • Comeaux- Lead scientist on the Mar’s Curiosity rover. We really are exploring the planet Mars. This is not a science fiction movie; it’s the real deal. The reality of that is hard to really wrap my mind around.
  • Shaffer-King Kong is about more than I ever realized. The giant ape is a true icon and brought up issues like exploitation and slavery…who knew?!
  • Fellows-You need a BHAG-Big Hairy Audacious Goal

TEDxLSU…your ideas are worth spreading…job well done.
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