A second-generation Haitian-American, Alinx StLouis was born in 1975 in Miami to a mother who had arrived there just three years earlier.
“Since my mom was able to travel back and forth from Haiti, I was lucky to be born in the States,” he says.
After learning English as a second language, he became the recipient of a Horatio Alger scholarship. The career that followed has included U.S. Army service, work in the banking sector, and 10 years at a large movie theater chain.
A 2001 visit to Orlando planted the seed of an idea that Central Florida might be a good place to relocate to: He noticed that this community has an “international flavor like Miami, but without the water and beach.” The idea came to fruition when he moved here for good in 2007. About the biggest adjustment, he said, was learning to navigate Orlando’s streets and highways, which have a “nerve-wracking” custom of being referred to by name one moment and by a number the next.
He now works for the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), where he started out taking customer service calls in English and Creole. These days, he’s a Sustainability/Conservation Rep, helping customers evaluate and manage their usage of energy and water.
A husband for the past year-and-a-half and now a cat dad as well, Mr. StLouis says that Greater Orlando affords plenty of opportunities to fly the flag of his Haitian background. “I have a space where I can share my heritage with more people who visit Orlando on a regular basis,” he says. Some of his favorite eateries include Blessing D Kreyol Food, LLC, Mimi’s Restaurant, and Bon Appetit Grill, and when he wants to cook at home, he picks up ingredients at the Presidente, Bravo and Sedano’s supermarkets.
Such customs are important to him because they help him keep faith with his past. As he puts it:
“If you don’t know who you are and where you come from, then your foundation/moral belief system will keep you struggling and not developing a better you.”