The Evolution of an Investor

Like a lot of people who end up on Wall Street, Blaine Lourd just sort of stumbled in. He’d grown up happy in New Iberia, Louisiana. His father had made a pile of money in the oil patch, and Blaine assumed that he too would one day eat four-hour lunches at the Petroleum Club, hunt ducks on the weekends, and get rich. His older brother, Bryan, had left Louisiana to make what seemed like a quixotic bid to become a Hollywood agent, but Bryan was gay, even if he pretended not to be. (He’s now a partner at Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency.)

Blaine was distinctly not gay and felt right at home in Louisiana—right up to the moment when, during his third year at Louisiana State University, the price of oil collapsed and took the family business with it. That was when he realized he had no idea what he would do with his life. His chief distinction at L.S.U. was his ascent to the post of social chairman at the Theta Xi fraternity, and while that was nothing to sneeze at, he didn’t see how it qualified him to do anything else. His father, after informing him that there was no longer a family business for him to inherit, suggested that his ability to get people to like him might go far on Wall Street. That’s what first got Blaine thinking. “I didn’t know what Wall Street was,” he says. “I didn’t even know where Wall Street was.”

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