Life had better plans for student in New Orleans

Terri-Lynn Frasier

When planning for a trip to New Orleans for the National College Media Convention, I was excited to hear the keynote speaker was going to be Hoda Kotb. Not only is Kotb a hard-hitting journalist, she is co-host with Kathy Lee Gifford on the Today Show, where she shows her silly and sometimes intoxicated side.

Often though, life gets in the way of the best-laid plans. The Big Easy transforms every night- literally. During the day, it is busy with locals, street performers, tourists and a large number of homeless people. At night, the rules change, the city turns into a massive street party.

After a full first day of sessions at the convention, I grabbed my camera and my buddy and went on a picture-taking adventure; I am a photographer after all. I could not miss a chance to document this amazing city. We walked for miles, from Bourbon Street to the French Market, from the Bay to the French Quarter. I must have taken a thousand pictures.

The next morning Kotb was giving her keynote speech at 10 a.m., no problem, I get up at 6 a.m. every day. My toddler has set my inner clock and no matter how hard I try, I cannot reset it. Unfortunately, the long night before had dire consequences on my entire body.  I was as sore as I had ever been and could not seem to move.

 I made a personal decision to enjoy a nice sit down breakfast, drink a gallon of coffee, and watch Kotb’s speech on the Internet; it really is hard to be 40 sometimes.

As I made it to the convention an hour later to attend my first session of the day, who did I run into? You guessed it: Hoda Kotb! She had finished her speech early and was heading down the escalator surrounded by her handlers. As we passed each other going opposite directions, I called out her name and she graciously said hello to me. This was not enough for me; I jumped sides and followed her down the escalator. When I got to the bottom, I ran to her and pushed my way through and asked her if I could have a picture and ask her a couple questions. As busy as she was, she stopped. We took some pictures together and I asked her the most hard-hitting question I could think of,

“Do you and Kathy Lee really drink as much on the show as you portray that you do?”

Slightly amused at my question, she replied, “Oh we drink, just not that much.”

As she rushed away by her handlers, it occurred to me I could not have made a better choice that morning. Deciding to relax and pace myself had resulted in a far more memorable experience than I could have planned. Sometimes the flow is the only way to go.