The One with POTUS: President Trump Visits Lake Charles' Sempra LNG
May 17, 2019 | By: Lindsey Janies Photography
It’s the evening of Tuesday, May 14th. After another chaotic and adventurous day chasing a tugboat through Tennessee, Illinois, and now Kentucky, which has kept me extremely occupied this week, my mind has also drifted back towards home...
I’m on assignment for one of my absolute favorite clients, Canal Barge Company, who continuously keeps me challenged and honing my “on the fly” creative photography skills through these cross-country endeavors! However, I was also asked to be elsewhere today: back in Lake Charles on the runway of Chennault International Airport in front of Air Force One, capturing the CEO of SempraLNG greeting his most honored guest - President Donald Trump. I - ME - I was asked to be SempraLNG’s photographer for one of their company’s most monumental moments with our POTUS!
This started just a few days ago…. Within Terminal C of the Houston Airport headed to Memphis, I’d been locked into the game of “willing” the DELAYED FLIGHT monitor to update. After I’d lost multiple rounds (total gate changes and countless flight delays - all on Mother’s Day), I decided to move my attention elsewhere and do a check of work emails.
Understandably, I was immediately filled with emotion upon seeing the email: excited, honored, and humbled quickly moved into frustration upon realizing I could not be in two places at once. My thoughts were racing. The following flashed briefly through my head: “You can still head back home and cancel this if you REALLY want to have the honor of accepting the ‘once in a lifetime’ assignment.” But I can’t. I knew I couldn’t. I mean, technically, I could… but my heart would not allow such a decision. I committed to my barge people. I told them yes. I knew within seconds of ingesting the two line email that her request was not going to happen. But I then had to call the company and “reject” their assignment offer.
*Insert a brief moment of Serenity Prayer mantra in a calming and confirming effort, another moment to find pride in my decision, and a third pause to acknowledge I’d begun cold sweating in my airport seat for long enough to regret my choice of a light grey shirt…
After a tough phone call, we hung up, both disappointed.
Trying to comfort myself and affirm the decision, I resumed the recital of the Serenity Prayer, over and over.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
I couldn’t change the situation. I couldn’t change the fact that two wonderfully diverse assignments were converging on the same date. I couldn’t make the barge stop and wait for me. Nor could I ask the Sempra CEO, nor Mr. Trump, to hold off until I return. I felt for a half of a second like I couldn’t control ANYTHING within this personally disturbing “first world problem”! And this frustrated me, too! Thus returning back to the Prayer. Change your thoughts, Lindz. “Glass half FULL.” Look there. Thankfulness, gratitude for even HAVING such an issue! Now what ELSE can I change? What else DO I have control over?
And then the RIGHT solution that would not leave either of us hanging came like a light bulb that manifested over my head in (now) Terminal B!
I called her back. “I still can’t do it, but I may have another solution. I know a guy….
A wonderful friend and fellow media photographer I’ve worked alongside for professionally photographing other high security assignments will be the perfect alternative! He is my first choice when I need a hand during this type assignment, as well as with heavy/extra challenging jobs.”
Fast forward and by the time I finally landed in Memphis that night, Sempra LNG’s CEO had a photographer ready who was contracted by Lindsey Janies Photography (they receive all the same client benefits now as if I was the photographer - including my offer manager Lisa handling the logistics, details, security clearance info, etc). And my contracted photographer received an awesome assignment and some bonus compensation for his last minute accommodations to their request.
So President Trump visited Lake Charles this afternoon. He deplaned with the Sempra CEO. They shook hands, visited, did important business stuff, and Lindsey Janies Photography had a photographer there for Sempra’s big day. I was not there, but instead delayed by high waters holding up my beloved barge, but I wasn’t biting my lip, wondrously staring off, anxious and regretful of not being at Chennault.
I spent today’s “water’s-too-high-to-move-today” delay creating B-roll time lapse videos, learning the lay of the land along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, seeing wild turkeys run/fly across the road, and realizing how much a flooded Northern Mississippi River looks just like the swamps of my homeland in Southwest Louisiana. (I've decided "permanently flooded" is just shortened down here to "swamp".)
I’d think of where I could have been, where I was briefly tempted to be. But I was so very content with exactly where I was, where I chose to be.
And sometimes, even within keeping gratitude a constant practice, we need life to “up the ante”. Challenge us a bit MORE. Help us in looking harder in the mirror….cleaning the glass with something that will help show where we are and if we’ve stepped off of our Christian and ethical path we hold ourselves to. Are we still making the choices our ten-years-older-then-now us would be proud of? Sometimes, we may just need the POTUS and a cajun river barge to aid in a self “check up”.