Neil Shapiro's family roots are entwined with the city of New Orleans back to the 1700s. His grandmother could trace her family that far back in the city's history. He's continuing in the antique business his grandparents began in 1899, when goods were bought and sold within the city. That began to change in the 1930s, when European imports started appearing in stores, while local treasures were handed down within families.
Neil Shapiro and his wife, Lauren Best Shapiro, a transplant from Chicago, were content in the lifestyle they built, and secure in their home city. And then came Hurricane Katrina. In this conversation recorded April 4, they discussed their six-week evacuation, the people who didn't come back, and Neil's confidence about the city that's sill putting itself back together.
ALSO: In this extended conversation, Neil Shapiro talks about making a living by dealing antiques and treasures of the past. But when he came to finding his wife, Lauren Best, he conducted a most modern courtship. Here they discuss how they met on line, how they attracted each other's interest through email and instant messaging, and how they finally met in person.
StoryCorps New Orleans interviews were recorded by StoryCorps, a national project to record and collect stories of everyday people. This excerpt was selected and produced by WWNO producer Eileen Fleming, with support from the WWNO Productions Fund and from Villere & Co., managing the investments of New Orleans' families for almost 100 years. Listen again at wwno.org or at nola.com.