CrossFit Algiers is the culmination of a dream for owners Jodi Jordan and Andy Marulis. In 2014, the couple decided to leave their corporate careers and take a leap of faith to follow their passion and open a CrossFit gym on the West Bank of New Orleans.
Jodi and Andy have been married for nearly 20 years. Most of those 20 years were spent as a military family, moving around the country. After Andy retired in 2011, they ended up in Montgomery, Ala., where Jodi held a job with a large consulting firm, and Andy worked as a quality assurance manager for a local defense contractor. In addition to work, the couple became active in fitness. Jodi competed in bodybuilding shows, and both she and Andy were heavily involved in the fitness program CrossFit, with Jodi eventually becoming a CrossFit coach.
“We were making really good money at our jobs, but we both felt kind of stagnant,” she said. “We were doing basically the same things we’d done forever,” she said. “I looked forward to being in the gym as the high point of my day, and Montgomery was close enough for weekend trips to New Orleans, our favorite city. That sustained me.” Jodi said.
The couple had always dreamed of living in New Orleans. They first saw the city together on their honeymoon, and they made frequent trips back to visit. They talked idly about moving away, but the timing never seemed right. Then, tragedy struck close to home.
“Within one year, we had two good friends get diagnosed with serious cancers,” Andy said. These were healthy guys, younger than me, and they were facing potentially terminal illnesses. It was shocking.” Also that year, Jodi had two separate friends who lost children, one to a car accident and one to suicide. “It was the most heartbreaking time,” she said. “It brought into focus how fleeting life is, and how we should truly make the most of every day.”
They put in their notices at work, and they started house hunting online. For employment, they knew they wanted to do something that they loved, and that they felt would help others. Opening a CrossFit gym satisfied both of those requirements.
“I love CrossFit because it makes you better, not just physically, but mentally,” Jodi said. “We want to help other people get those benefits, the bravery and fortitude it teaches,” Andy added.
It took about three months, but in July, the couple loaded their two kids, two dogs, two cats and all their belongings into a truck and trailer and heading out for their journey to become New Orleans residents. The last eight months have been full of planning, loan applications, licensing and legal preparation, and now they are about to open CrossFit Algiers.
“It hasn’t been easy, but it’s still been the happiest time of my life,” Jodi said. “I wish I would have been brave enough to try years ago.”
“What we did may look risky from the outside, but think about this,” Andy said. “Isn’t it just as risky to not follow your dreams? Are you willing to risk dying without ever knowing if you could have made them come true?”
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