NEW ORLEANS EMBRACES CREATIVITY
Angela O’Byrne, FAIA, LEED AP, Architect/President, Perez APC:
When Angela O’Byrne saw New Orleans’ resiliency after Hurricane Katrina, she reaffirmed her lifelong commitment to the city. Born in Cali, Colombia, O’Byrne came to New Orleans at age 5,when her father accepted a teaching and research position at Tulane University School of Medicine, but she studied, lived and worked across the country before firmly establishing herself in New Orleans in 1998 at Perez APC. She took over as President of Perez just two years later.
“Hurricane Katrina cemented my desire to stay permanently. I realized how great our community truly was, and that we nearly lost it,” she says. “It really made me value what we have in New Orleans, so much more than I ever had before in my entire life put together. I like a lot of the cities I visit, and I’ve met many cool people in them, but I love New Orleans. You can’t always explain it, put your finger on it or articulate it — NOLA has a soul.”
O’Byrne has opened nine Perez APC offices throughout the U.S., and has won federal contracts in Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq and West Africa, but she has committed to making the firm’s headquarters in New Orleans.
“It gives us a certain cachet, which is especially important in my industry – design,” she says. “We have great design, and New Orleans nurtures that, with four great architecture schools and many more community college architectural drafting programs in the state of Louisiana. And my clients and staff love to visit.”
O’Byrne describes her passion for New Orleans as “profound,” with opportunities for all people if they look.
“I love the spirit of inclusiveness and diversity,” she says. “Eccentricity is welcome. The creative people who make up my industry feel at home here – that’s important when my company is recruiting. It’s the spirit of the people, their ‘joie de vivre’ and desire to help one another through the tough times.”