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    21 Questions

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    Charlotte Caldwell, 25, is the executive director of the Southwest Dream Team (an economic-development nonprofit working in the South End and southwest Louisville) and is pursuing a dual-master’s in public administration and urban planning at the University of Louisville. She lives in Clifton.

    Describe the space you’re in right now.

    “My favorite study nook in the Urban and Public Affairs building at U of L. Lots of natural light, plants filling the windowsill.”


    Earliest childhood memory?

    “Getting lost at a resort in Florida and asking a man in a golf cart to help me. I thought he must be a nice guy because he had two golden retrievers with him.”


    How’d you make your first dollar?

    “I used to make $1,000 each summer recycling bottles and cans for my uncle’s resort in upstate New York.”


    What would you do as mayor for a day?

    “Host a summit with all the local nonprofits and try to figure out how to better connect and share resources.”


    When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    “Tinker Bell, after I saw her zip-lining across the sky at Disney World. I also wanted to be an interior designer and remember drawing up make-believe floor plans.”


    Weirdest place somebody has recognized you in public?

    “When I used to wait tables I would later see people in public and they would look at me strangely, trying to figure out how they knew me. Sometimes I would walk up and recite what they ordered to eat.”


    In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?

    “Send lots of emails to set up meetings with community leaders.”


    Who’s doing big things in Louisville under the radar?

    Wilderness Louisville at Jefferson Memorial Forest supports the ECHO Mobile, which does pop-up events at various parks throughout town. They are fundraising for an accessible trail system and, eventually, will build the outdoor learning center in Shawnee Park.”


    Favorite possession?

    “My brother is a potter and he made me this set of handle-less mugs. Every time he gives me a new piece of pottery, it becomes my favorite possession.”


    What’s on your nightstand?

    “Lots of books I’ve started but haven’t finished, tea, water and a pirate eye patch I keep forgetting to put away in my costume box.”


    Best book you’ve read over the past year?

    “My partner, Stu, and I just read Christmas on Jane Street: A True Story, written by Billy Romp and Wanda Urbanska. A family from Vermont moves to Manhattan for a month every year to sell Christmas trees. It’s a heartwarming story about family and random acts of kindness.”


    What Louisville dish have you eaten more than any other?

    “A Presbyterian. I learned the name of this ginger ale-bourbon cocktail at my first Derby. Have had plenty since.”


    Secret talent?

    “I can make an owl call by whistling using my tongue.”


    Favorite movie scene?

    Up, when they land in South America and the grandfather realizes where they are.”


    Greatest movie ending?

    Fly Away Home was one of my favorites as a child. In the end, this young girl helps a flock of Canada geese on their first migration south by leading them on her own in an ultralight airplane.”


    What tattoos do you have?

    “The paternal family crest on my ankle. My paternal grandfather died before I was born.”


    Something unexpected you love in Louisville?

    “The web that is Louisville is so small and so connected. I love how everybody feels this innate connection to something, whether it is their neighborhood, an organization or a team. People are proud of their connections.”


    Do you believe in ghosts?

    “I don’t know if you can see them, but I think I heard a ghost once at my family’s summer home in New York. Many relatives of mine have stories of seeing the ghost of Mrs. Potter, the old owner. I was a teenager and was upstairs reading in bed alone. I heard a woman’s voice singing about wedding bells in a high, lofty tone. I was spooked and ran downstairs, questioning everyone. I never found the source.”


    What three things must out-of-towners do when visiting?

    “1. Play disc golf at Iroquois Park. 2. Walk across the Big Four bridge. 3. Leave with some knowledge of local history.”


    What would you do if you won the lottery?

    “Buy a big chunk of land and put a conservation easement on it. I’d let friends and family hike on it, but that’s all. Oh, dogs, too.”


    What makes somebody a Louisvillian?

    “If you have a strong opinion on what the best route is to avoid traffic. Also, if you complain about the cold weather.”



    What should every person try once?

    What do you collect?
    “Small bird figurines, mostly cardinals.”

    What song’s been stuck in your head?
    “‘Never Been to Spain,’ Three Dog Night.”

    What triggers your “aha!” moment?
    “Making lists on my phone while walking my dog, Holstein.”

    What interested you as a kid?
    “My mom’s graphic-design software.”

    What/who makes you laugh?
    “My mom’s quirks, mainly her odd sound effects and onomatopoeia.”

    Your drink?
    “Grapefruit seltzer.”

    Your vices?
    “Beer, sweets, puppies.”

    This originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine as the 21 Questions. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Illustration by Shae Goodlett,

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