shanebeyouEvery 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.) This week is Shane Lopez

Shane Lopez is the world’s leading authority on hope and yes, he’s as cool as that sounds. Although he doesn’t live here anymore (he lives in Lawrence, Kansas) he was born and bred in New Iberia and carries his heritage with pride, so I decided that he counted as a local for this column. Shane is a Senior Scientist at Gallup who also knows how to charm people and make them laugh, and instantly like him – this is a dangerous combination and we should all be pleased that he uses his powers for good. Shane’s new book “Making Hope Happen” is a both a joy and a powerful life changing read. If you missed his recent book signing in Lafayette then grab a copy as soon as you can – you won’t regret it.

What was your first job?

As a kid I worked at our family restaurant, Joe’s Drive In, in New Iberia. I manned the oven and fry machine. After we sold the business, I started umpiring girl’s softball. That’s about the best job a teenage boy can have.

Describe a typical day in your life.

I love my job, so it never feels like work. I work from home when I’m not traveling to the Gallup offices in D.C. and Omaha or to speak to educators and business leaders. When I’m home, I typically write in the mornings and analyze polling and research data in the afternoons. It is much sexier than it sounds. When I’m traveling, I might be “on” in meetings up to 14 hours a day. Those days can be long, and I often end them with a room service burger and a glass of milk in my hotel room watching “Harry Potter.”

My best days are spent with my wife, Alli, and our son, Parrish. Walking him to school every day is a real treat. We live two blocks from his school.

Each day I find a way to spread hope. That’s easier than it sounds … but not enough of us do it.

What advice would you give the younger you?

Be nicer to people. They need kindness more than you know.

What event in your life most shaped who you are now?

Meeting Alli. I was lost before I found her. That was almost 25 years ago.

What values do you live by?

Treat others better than they would probably treat you.

What do you most appreciate?

Creativity. Elegance of ideas. And bread pudding.

What is your favorite journey?

The original one. The one with Steve Perry as lead singer.

Where is your favorite place to be alone?

Anywhere near water.

What living figure most inspires you?

I have met many inspirational figures. Upon meeting them I was always less inspired. Now I find inspiration in folks right around me. Some days it is my son, sometimes it is a friend, sometimes a stranger.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Never take advice from someone who leads with “I’ve got some advice for you.”

What book would you tell everyone to read?

Making Hope Happen, of course. Or Confederacy of Dunces.

What is the best thing about where you live?

We live in Lawrence, Kansas, which is a funky little college town filled with artists. We can walk everywhere. We love that.

How do you “let the good times roll” ?

We host house parties. Nothing is more fun than a bal de maison. Even if people aren’t from Louisiana, they love Louisiana-style parties.

What did u want to be when you grew up?

Podiatrist, because my grandmother had one. I wanted to be a doctor that didn’t deal with tons of blood. Then I saw adult feet. Not Halle Berry feet. Normal feet. That’s when I decided to become a psychologist.

What is your motto?

Make Ripples.I try to live it.

How would you like to be remembered?

Fondly. I would love for people to smile while telling stories of me at my funeral.

What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?

I don’t say anything. I imagine people saying kind things to me.

What three things are vital to BEing YOU?

High hope, Alli and Parrish, having creative and caring people around me.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Awesome, though I’m trying to use it less.

What is your favorite word?

My least favorite word is easier to name; it’s “kumquat.” My most favorite word is “welcome.” I think the reasons for both of these are obvious.

What do you collect?


What food could you live on for a month?

The Lab’s boudin croissant; it’s genius and was created by our old friend, Thomas, who opened the place. If that’s not available, I would do Justin’s Honey Almond Butter.

What would you change about yourself?

My height.

What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with?

Andy Taylor on the Andy Griffith Show

Describe yourself in five words.

Hopemonger, family man, proud Cajun.

What is your idea of happiness?

Good people sharing good food.

What is your favorite movie?

To Kill a Mockingbird

What music defines who you are?

80’s freestyle played at Mako’s on the Strip. I love listening to KSMB’s Friday drive time playlist; sometimes I stream it in Kansas, and Alli laughs. That music makes us nostalgic.

What do you most regret?

Missing my brother’s wedding. I had a graduate school test that I couldn’t move.

What question do you wish I’d asked?

What is your favorite curse word?

What would the answer be?

Motherfricker Adam Bricker