Dr. Scott Griffith’s practice is located on a busy block in the French Quarter of New Orleans. From time to time the street shuts down for parades, movie shoots, and even fashion events. Photo by Cheryl Gerber.
Finding his roots
It’s easy to imagine why Dr. Griffith was hesitant to return to the city that destroyed one of his practices. But the lure of the Big Easy eventually called him home. “I grew up in New Orleans, and I used to hang out in the French Quarter,” he says. “But I never imagined owning a business there.”
While the French Quarter is not necessarily a hub for families, there are plenty of pets around. Above the first floor of many of the business are lofts and apartments where people live. “It’s a heavily residential area,” Dr. Griffith says.
And the area was missing a critical component: a veterinarian. So that’s where he decided to set up shop. “I got the idea when I was hanging out in a dog bakery down the street,” he says. “The more I hung out in the French Quarter, the more I realized what an opportunity it would be. So I took over an art gallery space that was closing. And I went around the quarter taking pictures of animals. That’s our artwork.”
Since he established his practice on March 1, 2010, many people have stopped Dr. Griffith to thank him for filling a need in the community. Part-time residents, he says, are now more comfortable staying in their French Quarter homes for longer periods because they know there’s a local veterinarian who will help them care for their pets. And this previously burned-out doctor is happy to oblige.
The difference, Dr. Griffith says, is where and how he’s chosen to practice. A 550-square-foot clinic on Royal Street, only a block from the action on Bourbon, might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect facility or location. And Dr. Griffith admits he was nervous about the risk—no veterinarian had tried to practice in the sometimes crowded and tourist-heavy area. “Nobody thought it would work,” he says. But now, with more than a year under his belt, he’s sure this is where he’s meant to practice.
His big cat Morpheus sits in the window, soaking up attention from passers-by. From time to time the street shuts down for a parade, a movie shoot, or a fashion event—giving Dr. Griffith’s team a front-row seat. In fact, Dr. Griffith enjoys his French Quarter lifestyle so much that he rents out his house uptown as a vacation home and lives in a third-floor French Quarter apartment above a wig shop. “I’ve got to walk through the wig shop five times a day going to the office,” he says. “That makes you not take life so seriously.”
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