In an effort of full disclosure, New Orleans has always been a special place for me. My Grandmother’s youngest sister, Jean Bertrand still lives there. It has been one of my favorite destinations since my first visit as a child in 1967.
This past weekend, my wife, Susan, my sons, Matthew and Ian, (all Realtors®), traveled to Miami to watch the New Orleans Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. As a New England Patriots fan, one is predisposed to root against the Colts, but in this case, I really wanted to Saints to win. The first half was frustrating, but it felt like a Saints home game in the Super Dome. The fans were so supportive of the Saints.
The second half was amazing. From the onside kick to the interception, you knew the Saints ‘had’ to win. And win they did.
It was a victory on so many levels. The Saints beat the Colts. Drew Brees beat Peyton Manning, and New Orleans beat its recent past. It marked the renewal of confidence in the future. Not just for New Orleans, but for this country. It was one of those rare events in which heart, hard work, and perseverance overcame despair and defeat. It was a Rocky story and embodied the same kind of story of the American Revolution about a small group of colonial farmers who took on the world’s greatest military power and won. The Saints embodied the hope of a City and a people. They delivered in a grand and honorable way.
When Katrina struck New Orleans, it provided REALTORS® with an opportunity of sharing our heart in several ways. First, we didn’t abandon the city by taking our convention to another city that year. We stood by New Orleans during their hour of need. We also showed our heart by funding and building not just one symbolic home, but 52 Habitat for Homes. We helped rebuild the city and built homes in the devastated Ninth Ward. It remains one of my proudest moments as a Realtor®. This fall, God willing, New Orleans will be the setting for my installation as 2011 NAR President. In many ways it feels like the circle completing itself.
My Facebook friends have heard me say, that this was a great example for us in real estate. The housing downturn has been very challenging, not in the deadly way that Katrina was, but it a very destructive way. But it is in the response to both challenges, where the similarity lies: You overcome defeat and despair with heart, hard work and perseverance. That is exactly what we are doing as individual Realtors® and as an Association. It is an honourable and necessary pursuit.
One additional thought: Drew Brees is a talented quarterback but is a more exceptional human being. He shares success and victory while assuming failure and blame. He is gracious and respectful. He went to New Orleans in 2005 with bleak professional prospects and a serious shoulder injury. But like New Orleans, he overcame his challenges to become the best quarterback in the world. He is a great example of a real hero, not just a successful athlete. (He would make a great Realtor®, too.) More people watched the Super Bowl than any other single television event in history. It was great that the largest audience ever was able to view an historic event. A city shakes off its challenging past, and steps over the threshold to a bright future. Let the good times roll.—Ron Phipps, 2010 NAR President-Elect