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Column | Financial Leadership

'Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?'

Column | Financial Leadership

'Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?'

 

Michael M. Allen

Well as a matter of fact, I do. I have long enjoyed the food, music and culture of New Orleans. It is a truly unique American city. I’ve been to the New Orleans Jazz Fest probably 10 times over the past 30 years and visit the city any chance I get. 

The song “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” was originally recorded in 1947 by two music legends, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, for a movie titled “New Orleans.” I really like the version of the song recorded by Harry Connick Jr. with Dr. John. 

The song is, just as the title would suggest, a nostalgic and sentimental journey back to a familiar place that holds many memories. I think that is where many of us are right about now. It’s been a year since the pandemic changed life as we knew it, and at least for me, I was fine at first. I was dealing with it and understanding it wasn’t forever. But as the past 12 months have lingered on, I have begun to deeply miss the people and places and experiences I once enjoyed. I am starting to imagine what the reunions will be like. And if I take anything away from this historic period we all just experienced, it’s to truly appreciate and savor these precious moments in our life. Good or bad, let’s embrace all of our moments with joy, grace and appreciation.

I look forward to seeing family and friends whom I have not been able to see, and just laugh and hug and take it all in. I want to go to my 11th New Orleans Jazz Fest and have a bowl of chicken and tasso over rice while I absorb all the sights and sounds I’ve been missing. I look forward to playing open mic nights at the Red Barn and re-starting Songs & Stories — the songwriters night I host here in Peoria. I want to  fight the crowds to see a game at Wrigley Field and be crammed into a small music venue to see some awesome live music. I could go on, but what is on your list?

Of course, I also can’t wait to see my HFMA friends. We have so much catching up to do. And so many problems in healthcare to solve. That’s why I’m especially looking forward to this year’s HFMA Annual Conference, which is scheduled to take place Nov. 8-10 in Minneapolis. 

So yes, I do know what it means to miss New Orleans. Hope to see you all soon! 

About the Author

Michael M. Allen

FHFMA, CPA, is CFO, OSF Healthcare System, Peoria, Ill., and 2020-21 Chair of HFMA.

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