Every week I write a column called BE YOU for one of the local papers (The Times of Acadiana) – Each week someone different answers the questionnaire – the paper often has to edit them,  so here are all the answers, unedited (the whole truth)

Don Bertrand.
Don is the City Parish Councilman for District 7 and a Petroleum Land Man, from the moment I asked him to do this interview he knew exactly where he wanted the photo taken – overlooking the city that he has so much passion for. When Don looks out over Lafayette, he gets this glint in his eye, he smiles and he starts talking about the future and what this place may be like for our grandchildren – whatever your political leanings, it’s a beautiful thing to be focused on.

What was your first job?
I started Mowing Lawns in the neighborhood, then had a newspaper route for an independent newspaper. My first job that needed a social security number was as a swimming instructor – I was 12.

Describe a typical day in your life.
I don’t have typical days, although they all start about 5.30 am when I begin catching up on emails and phone calls before work. Each day is different because my work is project orientated.  and I try to get through the end of the day with as many phone calls answered as possible. I spend my days resolving mysteries and solving problems.

What advice would you give the younger you?
Speak less, listen more.

What event in your life most shaped who you are now?
Wow, the birth of my granddaughter – it changed my perspective on what’s important and I find myself really listening to her, she’s so in the moment and so honest.

What values do you live by?
The simplest one – treat others like you would like to be treated.

What do you most appreciate?
The people that show their love and concern for me whether it be in the form of advice or companionship.

What is your favorite journey?
The journey of trying to determine what our community is going to look like 50 years down the road.

Where is your favorite place to be alone?
Outdoors – especially when it’s 60 or 70degrees at a higher elevation where i can see the horizon.

What living figure most inspires you?
My granddaughter -for her nothing is impossible, she doesn’t create limits, and she shares with others so easily.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
This list could be really long (a lot of people have given me advice) – my mother used to tell me “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”

What book would you tell everyone to read?
There are a few –
MFK Fisher “Consider the oyster”
Ayn Rand  – it stimulates vision.
Charles Dickens Great Expectations – it shows how everyone has difficulties in life,  and disfunction and we are all looking for happy life.

What is the best thing about where you live?
That’s easy – The people.

How do you “let the good times roll” ?
I like to travel and learn new things, whether it’s in the neighborhood or across the world. Meeting new people and seeing new environments, experiencing new cultures, and new music.

What did u want to be when you grew up?
I didn’t want to grow up.

What is your motto?
Life is hard, but it’s harder if you are stupid – I think it’s borrowed from John Wayne.
When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
Anything is edible if chopped finely enough

How would you like to be remembered?
A renaissance man – I’m interested in so many things. I wasn’t one of those people who was focused on a singular career path. I find the world so amazing, and there are so many interesting things going on that I gravitate to all of it.

What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?
Pick up the phone and call Lily (my granddaughter)

What three things are vital to BEing YOU?
A reason to get up in the morning, people I love and want to spend time with (work and play) and  the opportunity to work on something bigger than myself

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I try and avoid cliches. (they are a defense mechanism)

What is your favorite word?

What do you collect?
At the moment I’m not collecting, I’m discarding. I have collected maps, artwork but now know that stuff isn’t important. Now I collect memories and moments.

What food could you live on for a month?
Pasta, gumbo, fried soft-shell crab sandwiches, cornbread dressing, eggplant dressing – and I’m pretty sure I have lived on those for a month.

What would you change about yourself?
I’d remember to laugh more, and I’d be a prince (or a king)

What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with?
Peter Pan – you spend so much of your early life trying to grow up and be responsible and then in the later years trying to reclaim that childlike experience.

Describe yourself in five words.
Curious, playful, serious, solitary, outgoing

What is your idea of happiness?
The excitement of experiencing something new.

What is your favorite movie?

What music defines who you are?
I gravitate to so many different types of music, to match my mood. It’s a vital part of my life. If you make me pick one it’s Jazz because it’s music without boundaries.

What do you most regret?
I don’t have a lot of regrets, I would have traveled more during my college years – I passed up some opportunities to travel. I’m trying to make those up.

What question do you wish I’d asked?
Are you happy with the way things have turned out so far?

What would the answer be?
YES, I have no regrets (he smiled at this answer because he had just answered the no regrets question, again there was that mischievous look in his eye)