This is day 4 in a series that started at a column called â€śWirth-lessâ€ť.
In early 1975, I left a great job in Boston to return to New Orleans, where I would join the job-seekers. The move was not exactly my choice, but was made necessary by a previous series of bad choices.
Well, anyway, I do not remember how long I had been looking or how it occurred to me, but I decided to see if I had any political capital left with the Edwards administration. Whoever my contact was, next thing I know I am being summoned to Baton Rouge as soon as possible for an interview.
Remarkably, a very small role in a campaign over three years earlier had gotten me placement on a â€śFriends of EWEâ€ť list. The summer job that I was given last time I called apparently did not move me to any â€śfavor repaidâ€ť list.
My timing was flawless. The state had recently formed a central computing agency called the Louisiana Information Processing Authority (LIPA), and set up its flagship computer center in Baton Rouge. The best I could tell, the New Orleans political contingent wanted a center located in N.O. to serve state agencies there.
Certainly it was not my political clout that caused the â€śtechnocratsâ€ť to create a job for me. I was an experienced computer center director when those were hard to find, and I represented an opportunity to address a political situation before it could become a problem. So I left Baton Rouge as the new associate director of LIPA, in charge of the N.O. computer center, then being set up at Charity Hospital.
â€śBig Charity,â€ť the oldest, continually operating hospital in the country, was an interesting choice for the center. It certainly represented the biggest opportunity of all state agencies for â€śdata processingâ€ť to make significant improvements. On the other hand, its culture was more political than medical, a place where good ideas went to die.
Tomorrow - The Honeywell â€śhoneypotâ€ť