From the Big Easy to the Big Apple


Hi all, Ben Keller here.  For this week’s blog post, I wanted to share about my latest adventure.  I’ve recently changed jobs, and accepted a position based in New York.  The investigations and security work itself is very similar to my previous job (if you want a brief summary of what my work consists of, I wrote about it in this previous blog post).  But as a lifelong Louisiana resident, this represented a pretty significant change.  And as a writer, it opens up some exciting possibilities. 

There are a number of novel series I like to follow, including books about beloved characters Jack Reacher, Lucas Davenport, Walt Longmire, and Dave Robichaux.  With the exception of Reacher, these characters are almost always set in the same environment — be it the Twin Cities of Minnesota or my own beloved south Louisiana.  But occasionally, it’s fun when one of your favorite characters is thrust into a new environment.  Forced out of their comfort zone, a fish out of water.  It requires the character to be on their toes a bit more, and to relearn things they had accepted as the status quo in their primary setting. 

I’ve kind of felt that way over the last couple of days.  I’ve been to New York dozens of times, but I’ve discovered there’s a difference between visiting here and taking up residence here.  On the plus side, the views and people watching opportunities are magnificent.  As I write this, I’m sitting in my temporary corporate apartment with a spectacular view of Freedom Tower.  I had a chance to walk around the 9/11 memorial, and to see literal history.

On the less fun side, as romantic as the notion is of walking around the city may be, it’s not as fun when it’s cold and raining as it was this morning.  Logistical issues as simple as how to transport the spoils of a large grocery trip across six blocks and up eight floors become a major challenge.  And don’t get me started on the cost of living here.

But as I said, it’s an adventure.  It’s new, it’s very different, and it’s exciting.  My new job is a phenomenal opportunity professionally, and I’m excited about the opportunity to expand my kids’ horizons to include a deeper appreciation of the greatest city on Earth.

Speaking of adventure, I’d been here less than eleven hours before I saw a rat on the street.  It occurred to me then that New Yorkers didn’t try to hunt and eat an increasingly bizarre collection of every local animal.  Maybe some differences from home wouldn’t be all bad…

-Ben Keller

PS–Just for clarification, one of the most common rats in Louisiana is the nutria, a disgusting waterborne rodent with giant orange teeth and whose nocturnal cry sounds horrifyingly like a child crying for its mother in the middle of a godforsaken swamp.  And yes, there was a push a while back to have their fur revered as highly as mink and to have their meat considered a delicacy.  I love my state, but that campaign even made me shake my head.

Nutria 3

20 thoughts on “From the Big Easy to the Big Apple

  1. Still chuckling at your comments about hunting Everything in the South. I’d grown up in deer country, so I was used to hunting season, but my new buddies in the South hunted Everything. Even doves. Still not sure why or what they did with them. I envy your residence in NYC. I grew up thinking it was the center of the universe. :-). –Kate, writing as C.T Collier


    1. I grew up in Phoenix and hunted doves. Bag limit was 20. With two fingers, you pop out the breast and 20 would make a decent meal for two people. Maybe not as tasty as Ben’s southern rats, but dove is white meat.


  2. Great post buddy! As a Louisiana resident who transferred to the Metro NYC area I can appreciate the range of emotions you are experiencing now and will especially feel over the next several months. Cannot wait to catch up with you. Congratulations on the new position. And watch out for those rats.


  3. Congratulations on the new job. Living in NYC will take quite an adjustment, but you will adapt. In addition to your comments about putting your characters in a new environment, I think one of the treats of doing so is seeing the new setting through the eyes of a visitor. Once we live in a place for a while, we take it for granted, so seeing it through “virgin” eyes is exciting.


    1. Thanks Brian. You raise a good point about the new perspectives. Almost like a homicide detective from the mean streets of the Bay Area moving to the Carolina coast…

      Sent from my iPhone



  4. Hi Ben! Had so much fun hanging out with you in BR. You’ll get used to NYC, my hometown. It will be glorious and magical from now until 1/2. And then it will be miserable for a few months. And then at the end of April, beginning of May, it will turn glorious again. You’ll see what spring fever really feels like. But you’ll never, ever lack for things to do. Much like Louisiana!


    1. Thanks Ellen, I truly enjoyed visiting with you as well. I appreciate the heads up! My wife has already told me that I have to go back home to see her until spring. My thin-blooded Southern girl finds it too cold!


  5. Hello Ben, I’m excited for you — not only for the role, but also for your move to NYC. Congratulations. You’ve work hard in your career and certainly deserve the opportunity! I look forward to catching up with you soon.


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