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  • Sue Schleifer

New Destination Part II or Looping Back


In 2013 I wrote a chapter for my book, The Key To The Castle, entitled “New Destination.” It is time to write “New Destination Part II or Looping Back.”

Twelve years ago my husband and I took a leap of faith and moved from Oakland, CA to Lafayette, LA. He was offered his dream job at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to start a program in traditional music, and so we embarked on a new journey. I planned to continue my coaching practice from a new location, and was excited to explore a new part of the country.

Since moving, we have kayaked in Lake Martin through cypress trees where alligators sun themselves on logs a few feet away. At one of our annual end of semester traditional music parties, we listened while Michael Doucet, Al Berard, Maegan Berard, and Tommy Michot played their hearts out. This is one of my favorite moments in Louisiana — to be able to hear these masterful musicians performing together in our living room! I even captured it on video.

We’ve experienced many more magical musical moments. And we have made wonderful friendships and connections. Because of the heat and humidity for many months of the year, I became a more prolific writer.

Staying inside to keep cool, I managed to finish The Key to the Castle book I had started in Oakland. In 2018 I wrote my first play, Take Down The Letters, and was able to produce it in Lafayette as a result of receiving an Art Spark grant from the Acadiana Center for the Arts. I worked with an amazing director, actors, and designers and learned so much!

My new interest in playwriting kept my mind occupied during Covid. I was able to participate in Zoom classes, watch online play readings and performances, and I wrote two more plays during this time. Lafayette has been wonderful for my creative output.

I’ve continued to coach both local clients and people from around the country. I’ve worked for many years with the Rapides Foundation in Alexandria, LA supporting nonprofit leaders through leading workshops and providing executive coaching to several cohorts in central Louisiana.

My husband and I have taken the opportunity to travel and explore throughout Louisiana and nearby states and have learned and experienced so much including Jazz Fest in New Orleans, the Creole Nature Trail south of Lake Charles, and camping at Grand Isle where we were chomped by mosquitoes on Christmas eve. We have learned how to prepare for a hurricane, cook a gumbo, and say “baby”, “cher”, or “yes ma’am” when appropriate.

And now it is time to loop back to California. In June, we will move into our house in Oakland (which we have been renting out), and see what new experiences await us on life’s journey. I will continue to offer coaching by phone and maybe even in person. I’m looking forward to hiking in the hills, seeing old friends and neighbors, and being in closer proximity to my family. And, I will continue to write, and hopefully keep the creative juices flowing.

Thank you Louisiana!