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Employee Profile - September 2010

From the eye of Katrina
       By Dr. Linda Cheng '99 & '00

In June, having recently joined the Department of General Dentistry, I waited for someone to approve the work order to set up the new computer and printer that sat in unopened boxes in my office. 

Frustrated, I called down to the Office of Information Technology for help. Mr. Terryl House answered the phone. We had met not long before, and Terryl said he would make me his special project. He helped me configure and set up everything in one morning and would only accept a thank you for all his hard work. 

The next month, I had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans for the 2010 Academy of General Dentistry meeting to accept a 2010 Fellowship award.

Jumping into a rental car after landing at the airport, I flipped through a sea of Google maps and headed out on Interstate 10 toward the convention center. Rush hour traffic moved well until I neared downtown. The pristine white globe of the Superdome suddenly appeared on the left. The awesome realization hit me that about five years ago, people who had been caught up in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina had walked along this very same highway. It touched my heart to reflect on the strong structure and how it represents the resilient spirit of the people of New Orleans.

water lillyThe beautiful lilies in the New Orleans Botanical Garden, the Riverwalk balanced on piers along the Mississippi, the famous Safety Pin sculpture in the Sidney Bestoff Sculpture Garden in New Orleans City Park Sculpture and an informal birthday party a group of friends held at the Peristyle all testify to the heart and soul of the people of New Orleans that will not be broken by any act of nature.

All throughout New Orleans, stores sold Aunt Sally's creamy pralines. They were unbelievably delicious. I could not resist the tasty treats and brought back several boxes to share with friends at the dental school.

When I got back to work, I called Terryl and asked him if he liked pralines and which floor his office was on. When I entered the hallway that housed information technology's offices, Terryl was standing outside with a big grin, and when he saw that the pralines were from Aunt Sally's in New Orleans his face lit up even brighter. He explained that he was originally from New Orleans and that some of his close relatives had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. As luck would have it, they were able to temporarily relocate to Dallas and find shelter with him. He spoke of his own memories of New Orleans, how upsetting it is to know that his hometown was devastated by such a storm and how much he misses the Crescent City.

As I think about the turmoil that Hurricane Katrina wrought upon the lives of Terryl's relatives and countless others, I think about blessings that come out of all types of adversity. They can be monumental, such as Terryl and his relatives reuniting in Dallas. They also can be ordinary, like a new friendship blossoming because of computer equipment.    

As the daily storms of life spin us about, remember to create your own "eye in the hurricane." Take a few minutes to set aside the work and get to know your coworkers at BCD. 

Riverwalk in New Orleans
Safety Pin
Safety Pin sculpture in the
Sidney Bestoff Sculpture Garden
Peristyle in New Orleans City Park
Dr. Linda Cheng

(L) Dr. Linda Cheng & (R) Terryl House

Aficionados of New Orleans, fans of
pralines, co-workers and friends.

Terryl House