January 14, 2016
At a Jan. 14 Baton Rouge town hall, Tulane Law student Anjana Turner (L ’17) asks President Barack Obama for tips on being “more like you and the First Lady.”
Screenshot from White House video
About an hour into President Barack Obama’s Jan. 14 town hall meeting in Baton Rouge, Tulane Law School second-year student Anjana Turner jumped for joy.
After fielding audience members’ questions touching on the environment, education, criminal justice, his biggest goal before leaving office and more, Obama called on Turner (L ’17).
“I just want to say that we're very inspired by you and the First Lady,” she told him, noting that she was attending the event with her younger sister, high school freshman Alexis Fontenette, and Tulane Law friend Shaun Abreu (L '18) . “And we want to be just like you guys, so can you help us? Give us some tips.”
Tulane Law student Shaun Abreu (L ’18) greets President Barack Obama Jan. 14 in Baton Rouge.
With that, Turner scored almost eight minutes of life advice from the 44th U.S. president.
(Watch the town hall video. Turner’s question comes at 1:01:55.)
“The most important tip I would have is, make sure not only are you working hard to deserve that investment, but that you’re also investing in the next generation coming up behind you,” Obama said. “If you do that, then you’re going to do great things. Your sister will do great things.”
(Read the full transcript via theadvocate.com.)
He continued: “And the one other thing I tell young people all the time — don’t worry so much about what you want to be, worry about what you want to do. Worry about the kind of person you want to be and what you want to accomplish.”
Tulane Law student Anjana Turner (L ’17, right) and her sister, Alexis Fontenette, grab a photo with Baton Rouge Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden.
Obama described his wife and her brother growing up in a tiny Chicago bungalow, their father struggling with Multiple Sclerosis. But they had opportunities, Obama said, because of access to public parks and enrichment programs and excellent magnet schools.
He also said that by passionately pursuing a goal, people can make a difference, whether they reach the echelons of power or work in their community “to clean up a site and plant gardens and make sure that the water is clean.”
The president’s Louisiana visit came two days after his final State of the Union address to Congress as he heads into the last year of his second four-year term. About 1,000 people attended the town hall meeting at McKinley High School. Dignitaries included Tulane alum U.S. Rep Cedric Richmond (L ’98) of New Orleans.
Turner, who calls herself a political junkie, said, "I wanted to ask the president a simple personal question rather than a policy question" that had previously been addressed during the State of the Union or at press conferences.
She said of the experience: “I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Note: This story was updated to include comments from Turner.