The last thing I remembered about downtown’s new ONEOK Field, before it opened, is that a lot of people seemed to be pissed off at then-Mayor Kathy Taylor and the City of Tulsa. Eighteen downtown business owners were filing a class-action lawsuit, a lot of vocal political writers furiously wrote about how nobody wanted to see a new ballpark when the old one was empty during games, and the average Joe was being made to feel like they had a lot to lose if life was brought to downtown.
And then it opened to an excited crowd of 8,665 (more than 800 over official capacity). Though I didn’t ask her about it, I can’t imagine Taylor feeling anything more than vindicated in her vision for Tulsa. Although there were many controversies during her term, such as the re-location of City Hall to the One Technology Center, Taylor remained optimistic and persistent in her drive to bring to Tulsa “a new kind of energy.”
In the opinion of this photographer and citizen, she succeeded. Taylor came into the studio as a very interested and gracious subject with humorous anecdotes about the political cartoons and unflattering pictures she had seen during her days in office.
“I actually cut out the political cartoons and framed them,” she laughed.
In the photo above, I managed to catch Taylor in a contemplative moment as she gazed out the window of my downtown studio, in the direction of the ball park. Her expression suggests an entire continent of experience bridging her to the city outside, an expression that you can only find in a true Tulsan.
True Tulsa is a weekly project that highlights the people and places that make our city great.