Julia Bland, Executive Director of the Louisiana Children's Museum
Julia Bland is Executive Director of the Louisiana Children's Museum. Julia, a native of Tennessee, graduated from Newcomb College, began with the Museum as a volunteer, and has never left. When asked how Hurricane Katrina affected the Museum, Julia said, "Our Museum has rethought our purpose...we have reached out in a much more meaningful way...." One very important program Julia describes is Play Power, a program that helps kids heal through play.
Ned Sublette, author of The World That Made New Orleans
Ned Sublette is the author of The World That Made New Orleans. Ned take us on a tour of his book that explores many of the outside influences that have helped make New Orleans culture what it is today. Ned focuses a great deal on the Cuban and Haitian connections. "The embargo of Cuba was an embargo of New Orleans", Ned says. He also touches on the French and Spanish influences on the Crescent City and shares some interesting facts and insights about the Mardi Gras Indians.
Jonah Dowling, Chairman of the Louisiana Landmark Society's New Orleans Nine Committee.
Jonah Dowling is Chairman of the Louisiana Landmark Society's New Orleans Nine Committee. "The New Orleans Nine is a list of nine buildings endangered of being demolished", Jonah explains. The purpose of the New Orleans Nine is to make the public aware of these properties and to assist the owners in any way to save the buildings. Jonah specifically talks about the old Dixie Brewery and the Deutsches-Haus, both in imminent danger of being demolished.
Chef Brian Landry with world famous Galatoire's Restaurant.
Chef Brian Landry is head chef at world famous Galatoire's Restaurant. Chef Brian tells us about his first place finish in the preliminary Great American Seafood Cookoff competition. He describes Galatoire's Shrimp Remoulade, one of Galatoire's famous dishes: the recipe is105 years old. Brian also talks about why New Orleans food is so much better than other food in our country and shares his thoughts on New Orleans' recovery following Hurricane Katrina.
Jennifer Weishaupt Mid-City New Orleans restaurateurs.
Jennifer Weishaupt and her husband are the owners of The Ruby Slipper Cafe in Mid-City New Orleans. Jennifer, originally from New York, explains why she has made New Orleans home and how she came to open this neighborhood cafe. Despite the challenges Hurricane Katrina presented, Jennifer and her husband chose to stay in New Orleans and start this new business. In addition to being a restaurant owner, Jennifer is also the president of the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization.
Nathan Rothstein is Executive Director of New Orleans Young Urban Rebuilding Professionals
Nathan Rothstein is Executive Director of New Orleans Young Urban Rebuilding Professionals (YURP). Nathan explains how YURP helps young professionals find avenues to express their talents and move New Orleans in a progressive new direction. Kendrick Pullen, the Program Director, thanks The Brown Family Foundation for its support and talks about the many out of town colleges he plans to visit to spread the word about YURP's exciting work in New Orleans.
"Morgus the Magnificent" solves the world's economic crisis with the FAT TAX
Dr. Morgus, also known as "Morgus the Magnificent", is New Orleans' preeminent Doctor of Science. A member of the "Higher Order", Dr. Morgus specializes in Morgusian Science. The unenlightened may call him mad, but New Orleanians recognize his true and enduring genius. In our interview "The Dr." shares his rare insights and focuses on economic issues. He suggests a revolutionary form of tax to offset the city's heavy post-Katrina debt.
Bill Borah talks about the City Charter amendment vote on November 4, 2008
Bill Borah is a land use attorney who has work tirelessly to amend the city charter regarding city planning. New Orleanians will vote on this important amendment on November 4th, 2008. Hurricane Katrina gave citizens the realization that we must have a plan as we rebuild the city. Bill explains why we need this amendment and how it will benefit the neighborhoods and citizens of New Orleans. Bill points out that this a vote is not to select a city plan, but to put the force of law behind whatever plan we develop.
Ed Blakely, New Orleans Recovery Czar
Ed Blakely is the New Orleans Recovery Czar. Ed tells us that the city has recently started receiving substantial Federal funds as of November, 2007. These funds have allowed the city to dramatically expand its recovery efforts from 20 active projects to 340. Ed explains what his job description actually is and tells us how he started the recovery process when he arrived in New Orleans. He also talks about change and notes that New Orleans doesn't have to lose its unique identity to be able to compete globally.
Lori Nesser, owner of La Peniche restaurant
Lori Nesser is the owner of La Peniche, a popular restaurant in the Faubourg Marigny. Lori explains the importance of neighborhood businesses in New Orleans and tells us how they help make the city unique. She also gives us the meaning of the name "La Peniche" and describes its origin.When I asked about what positive things she sees happening in the city since Hurricane Katrina, Lori is upbeat:"...I hear positive stories about reasons why people are staying as opposed to the negative stories about why people are leaving."
Elizabeth Williams, President of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum
Elizabeth Williams is President of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, the latest addition to New Orleans' rich museum landscape. The museum features Southern food and drink and also spotlights farmers, trappers, cooks and others who produce, deliver, and prepare our distinctive food and beverages. The museum explores how food plays an integral part in our celebrations. "I think people have come to appreciate what a special culture we have here in New Orleans.", Elizabeth says.
Kacey Hill, Public Relations Officer for The National WWII Museum
Kacey Hill is Public Relations Officer for The National WWII Museum, formally The D-Day Museum. Kacey explains the museum received a congressional mandate and is now the official WWII museum of the United States. "We are currently in the process of undergoing a $300 million expansion to cover other segments of the War besides D- Day...", Kacey tells us. The museum attracts visitors from all over; according to Kasey: "We have found that most of our visitors are only in the city to come see the museum...."
Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Jim Letten is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Jim tells us how he first became interested in the Law. He explains what the U.S. Attorney's office does and talks about one of the responsibilities of his office: to defend the Corps of Engineers against lawsuits. Jim describes the relationship between the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI; he notes that the transition from James Bernazzani, former FBI Special Agent in charge of New Orleans, to Bernazzani's successor will likely be seamless.
Elyse Luray is an appraiser, auctioneer, and one of PBS television's "History Detectives"
Elyse Luray is an appraiser, auctioneer, and one of PBS television's "History Detectives". Elyse explains why history is so important and why people are fascinated by the past. She talks about the historical significance of New Orleans and mentions examples of interesting local finds, including one of the first submarines used in the Civil War. During her recent visit, Elyse applauded the commitment of the people who have stayed. "I find that people who 'get it' care, and they are trying to preserve it...they are not letting the city die".
Suzanne Lapin, President of MakeNewOrleansHome.com
Suzanne Lapin is President of MakeNewOrleansHome.com.
This organization actively promotes New Orleans as an attractive relocation destination. "It's really important, I feel, for the city to start to market itself ...as a wonderful place to move and bring your family...", Suzanne says. The organization runs video testimonials on TV in local hotels to get the word out. Suzanne, who is not a native, says New Orleans is the friendliest place she has ever lived and she wants the whole world to know how wonderful we are.
Marci Schramm, Executive Director for the French Quarter Festival, Inc.
Marci Schramm is Executive Director for the French Quarter Festival, Incorporated. Marci gives us a preview of the 2008 French Quarter Festival, April 11 -13. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the celebration and Marci tells us about how the festival originated in 1984. Since it's modest beginning, the festival has grown to attract 400,000 attendees with a local economic impact of $100 million.
Ronnie Kole is a world renowned musician and philanthropist
Ronnie Kole is a world renowned musician and philanthropist. Ronnie talks about two of his proudest music achievements: his recent "Louis Prima Arts and Entertainment Award", and his upcoming induction into the "New Orleans Musical Legends Park" on Bourbon Street where a life size statue of Ronnie will stand. Ronnie also tells us about "Jazz on the Bayou", a fundraiser benefiting Easter Seals of Louisiana. This gala will give fans a chance to meet Ronnie in his home, enjoy Louisiana dishes, and help a good cause.
Cesar Burgos, Chairman of the Board for New Orleans' Regional Transit Authority
Cesar Burgos is Chairman of the Board for New Orleans' Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Cesar reflects on the damages Hurricane Katrina caused to RTA and its fleet. Despite the losses RTA sustained, Cesar believes the RTA can become stronger and more effective than it was before the storm. Recent improvements include state of the art security and a new RTA management company. Cesar says, "I think the city is moving in the right direction and the days of milk and honey are just around the corner."
"Doc" Hawley is a river pilot who specializes in steam driven sternwheelers
"Doc" Hawley is a river pilot who specializes in steam driven sternwheelers. For over 30 years, "Doc" has captained the Steamboat NATCHEZ up and down the Mississippi River past New Orleans. After decades of working on the NATCHEZ, "Doc" has accumulated an arsenal of entertaining stories about the river and the riverboat. He shares a few of these anecdotes and describes what it takes to become a riverboat pilot. An accomplished calliope player, "Doc" also tells us why no calliope has ever been in tune.
Brian Landry, Vice President of Marketing for Children's Hospital
Brian Landry is Vice President of Marketing for Children's Hospital in New Orleans. Brian tells us that Children's Hospital accepts all children, regardless of their ability to pay. He describes the annual Carnival visit by members of the Krewe of Thoth to bring Mardi Gras to the young patients and tells us about Hulk Hogan's recent visit while he was in town to ride with the Krewe of Bacchus. Brian recalls the difficult months that followed Hurricane Katrina and comments on New Orleans' potential to be the "Jewel of the South".
Carnival Krewe captain of Thoth
Our guest this week is the captain of Thoth. Thoth, a Carnival Krewe, or organization, began in 1947. Ever since "Reconstruction" following the Civil War, the identity of Thoth's Captain has remained secret. The 2008 Captain describes his responsibilities and duties and clarifies some common Mardi Gras misconceptions. Thoth, also known as the "Krewe of Shut-Ins", brings Mardi Gras to hospital patients and others who are unable to attend the parade.
Dominique Rizzo, owner of La Boulangerie describes the original French King Cake
Dominique Rizzo is the owner of La Boulangerie, a popular French bakery located on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Since we are in the Carnival Season, Dominique describes the original French King Cake and explains how it differs from our traditional New Orleans King Cake. He recalls his first impressions of New Orleans and shares his observations of how New Orleans is unique and distinct from other American cities.
French Market Coffee Company's Jesyka Bartlett, fourth generation family co-owner.
Jesyka Bartlett is the fourth generation Bartlett to work at the French Market Coffee Company. Her family co-owns this New Orleans based business along with the Dodge family. French Market Coffee Company, founded in 1890, supplies locals with one of their favorite brews. Jesyka reflects on the difficult months following hurricane Katrina and the challenges facing her company. New Orleans is famous for coffee; after listening to Jesyka, you will understand why.
Arthur Hardy, New Orleans Mardi Gras expert and historian
Arthur Hardy, Mardi Gras expert and historian, publishes the annual Mardi Gras Guide. Arthur shares the big news for Carnival 2008: the Krewe of Endymeon's long awaited return to its pre-Katrina Mid-City route. "It sends a message that the police department, if not at full strength, is strong enough to handle the large crowds in Mid-City", Arthur says. And he notes that the pre-parade party and concert on Orleans Avenue are great fun, too. Arthur also talks about "Family Gras" in Metairie on the first weekend of Mardi Gras.
Patty Gay, Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center
Patty Gay is Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center. She explains how the PRC focuses on saving and promoting our neighborhoods, architecture, and culture. Patty tells us about the increase in volunteers since hurricane Katrina and how important they are to New Orleans' recovery. "The PRC offers workshops each month on various tips on rebuilding older New Orleans homes", Patty says. Patty also describes the PRC's Operation Come Back Program that restores vacant and blighted properties.
Robert Lyall, General and Artistic Director for the New Orleans Opera Association
Robert Lyall is General and Artistic Director for the New Orleans Opera Association. Robert describes Hurricane Katrina's extensive damage to the opera's traditional venue, The Theatre of Performing Arts located in Armstrong Park. Despite the challenges Katrina brought, the New Orleans opera returned to the arts' scene in March, 2006 with a grand gala. The event was so successful that Robert planned a New Year's Eve celebration; he promises this event will be the perfect way for music and art lovers to welcome the new year, 2008.
David Rubenstein, owner of Rubensteins on Canal Street in New Orleans
David Rubenstein is the owner of Rubensteins, one of New Orleans premiere clothing stores. David describes the challenges his store faced following Hurricane Katrina and why he decided to reopen. Founded by David's father and uncle in 1924, Rubensteins continues to be a leader in business and fashion. Recently, the store was honored with awards from Esquire Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and the fashion trade publication, The Daily News Record.
Bonnie Goldblum, Executive Director of Longue Vue House & Gardens
Bonnie Goldblum is Executive Director of Longue Vue House & Gardens. Philanthropists Edgar Bloom Stern, a New Orleans cotton broker, and his wife, Edith Rosenwald Stern, an heiress to the Sears-Roebuck fortune, built the estate. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2005. Bonnie recalls the damage Hurricane Katrina caused and points out how lucky Longue Vue was to have so many volunteers to help rebuild this beautiful landmark.
Beau Bassich, Executive Director of the City Park Improvement Association
Beau Bassich is Executive Director of the City Park Improvement Association in New Orleans. Beau talks about the recent reopening of the park's historic carousel, extensively refurbished following Hurricane Katrina. He also talks
about the annual Celebration in the Oaks, a magical walking tour through the botanical gardens laced with beautiful holiday decorations. Beau tells us that "He sees a definite up turn in what is happening in the city."
Lenny Vangilder, Director of Publicity for the New Orleans Fair Grounds
Lenny Vangilder is Director of Publicity for the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots. Lenny reflects on the damages caused by Hurricane Katrina and the Fair Grounds' efforts to recover. New Orleans Fair Grounds is one of the oldest racetracks in America. As Lenny points out, the opening of the track on Thanksgiving Day is one of those New Orleans traditions not to be missed. This year, 7,300 fans attended, "...which is about the norm," Lenny says.
James Bernazzani, FBI special agent in charge of New Orleans.
James Bernazzani is the FBI special agent in charge of New Orleans. We met in Audubon Park, near his uptown home, to talk about how the FBI has taken on non-traditional roles since Katrina. These roles are in addition to its primary focus of stopping terrorist threats in Louisiana. James is especially interested in routing out public corruption in the New Orleans area. He says, "Corruption doesn't steal from the person who is directly affected, it steals from everyone."
Marc Robért II, owner of Robért Fresh Market in Lakeview
Marc Robért II, owner of Robért Fresh Market, explains his commitment to Lakeview and New Orleans: "This is a very strong area...and I am confident this area will come back".
Marc's wife, Darlene, gave me a tour of the new market. She proudly pointed out each section, from greeting cards to lobsters.
Whether you live in Lakeview or not, the grand re-opening of a major grocery in New Orleans is a big plus and a great morale booster.
Sandy Whann, owner of Leidenheimer Bakery talks about New Orleans French Bread
Sandy Whann, owner of Leidenheimer Bakery, is the great grandson of its founder, George Leidenheimer. Sandy tells us about the challenges his company faced re-opening following Hurricane Katrina and how he drove his employees roundtrip from Baton Rouge to New Orleans everyday. He tells us about New Orleans French Bread and shares his theory of how it evolved from the heavy, dense German bread his great grandfather first made, into the light airy bread we know today. The "Magna Carta" of the Poor-Boy is also one of his topics.
Blain Kern--"Mr. Mardi Gras"--talks about his Haunted House
Mardi Gras World owner Blain Kern--"Mr. Mardi Gras"--talks about his Haunted House and special Halloween Night Gala. Blain is donating 50 percent of the event proceeds to local first responders and he invites everyone to come join the celebration. The Halloween Gala will feature celebrities including John Goodman, Allen Toussaint, Deacon John, and real African warriors. Visit Blain Kern's Haunted Fun House. for discounted Haunted House tickets and to learn more about the Halloween Gala.
David Kahn, Director of the Louisiana State Museum
David Kahn is the Director of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. David talks about "GOLD", the exciting new exhibit that opened October 20 and runs through January 2, 2008. "The exhibit was developed by the American Museum of National History in New York City", David tells us, "...the exhibit covers all aspects of gold". David also shares the good news that visitation for the Cabildo, Louisiana State Museum's flag ship attraction, has reached 98 percent of its pre-Katrina levels.
Kenneth Ferdinand is Executive Director for the French Market Corporation.
Kenneth Ferdinand describes the Market’s newly completed renovation and updates us on those currently in progress. Kenneth emphasizes the importance of camaraderie in New Orleans today: “We know how to express our humanity”, he observes, “that’s why New Orleans will never go away.” He tells the story of French Market’s origin and notes that more locals are returning to the Market and its future is bright.
Linda Gonzales, Assistant Executive Director of the New Orleans Mission
Linda Gonzales is Assistant Executive Director of the New Orleans Mission. Linda describes the damages the Mission sustained following
Hurricane Katrina and she explains the Mission's services.
In addition to giving the homeless a place to stay, the Mission helps people find work; its new challenges are due to the
different type of homeless in New Orleans post-K. Linda also notes that people are more caring now and more willing to help.
Charlie Martinez is General Manager of Landry's Seafood House
Charlie Martinez is General Manager of Landry's Seafood House. The only restaurant remaining on the New Orleans lakefront since Hurricane Katrina. Landry's occupies the old site of Bart's restaurant.
Charlie, a New Orleans native, describes how appreciative his
customers are that Landry's re-opened. "People love to talk to you", he says. Charlie shares his memories of swimming in the lake as a kid and describes how high the water rose during Hurricane Katrina.
Norm Abram, master carpenter with This Old House, TV's popular home improvement program
Norm Abram, master carpenter with This Old House, TV's popular home improvement program, will be filming ten This Old House episodes here in New Orleans. The series will tell the story of several individuals who are rebuilding their homes and their lives. Norm tells us how impressed he is with the spirit of New Orleanians and with the number of volunteers who are energetically helping to rebuild, despite their lack of knowledge about construction.
Jim LeBlanc is President and CEO of Volunteers of America for New Orlean
Jim describes how Katrina affected the organization's staffing and its many properties. "However, " he says, "we are bouncing back well". Jim points out that Katrina has crystallized his purpose at VOA: "We are focusing on affordable housing for working people". He talks about how the future of New Orleans is in the hands of everyday people, working hard to rebuild New Orleans.
Sandy Rosenthal is the founder and executive director for Levees.org
Sandy Rosenthal is the founder and executive director for Levees.org. Sandy founded Levees.org because as a New Orleanian she felt compelled to get the word out that the levee failures were a man made
disaster. According to Sandy, the good news is "the Corp of Engineers has agreed to build temporary protection that will be complete by 2009." Sandy points out that this temporary protection is crucial because
permanent flood protection will not be completed until 2011.
Gregory Schramel, Artistic Director for the New Orleans Ballet Theatre
New Orleans native Gregory Schramel, Artistic Director for the New Orleans Ballet Theatre, founded NOBT in 2002."As soon as we opened after Katrina we had more students then ever", Gregory says. The ballet school, located in the Contemporary Arts Center, has both professional and non-professional dancers. Gregory believes the key to success is quality. "We don't have to be Atlanta or Houston. If we have the best quality in what we do, people will come."
Ron Biava, Executive Director of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation
Ron Biava is the Executive Director of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation. Ron tells us they are back to about half of their pre-Katrina staff and just added their latest temporary branch on Carrollton Avenue. Ron explains how the library helps people rebuild their lives and re-build New Orleans. He gives us a run down on all the open branches and the ones under repair. In closing Ron points out that the library is interested in donated books, and tells us where to deposit them.
Sinesio Canseco, owner of Canseco's Esplanade Market
Sinesio Canseco is the owner of Canseco's Esplanade Market . Sinesio opened his Esplanade location on August 2, 2007, much to the delight of residents in the Faubourg St. John neighborhood. Sinesio tells us about his family's grocery business and his roots in Cuba. We talk about the importance of neighborhoods in New Orleans and how neighborhood groceries play a vital role in keeping neighborhoods thriving.
Al Johnson, affectionately known as "Carnival Time Al Johnson", a true New Orleans musical treasure
Virtually all New Orleanians know Al Johnson affectionately as "Carnival Time Al Johnson". A genuine New Orleans musical treasure, Al wrote one of Mardi Gras' most popular songs--, "Carnival Time"-- in 1959 when he was17 years old. His latest song, "Lower Ninth Ward Blues", has been called the Katrina Anthem. In this moving work, Al expresses his uncertainties about life after Katrina. By so doing he helps all of us to heal by recognizing we are not alone.
Alexis Jacknow, member of the NOLA Project, a nonprofit theatrical company
Alexis Jacknow is a member of the NOLA Project, a nonprofit theatrical company in New Orleans. She recently directed Wind in the Willows, based on Kenneth Grahame's children's classic. The play is currently running at New Orleans Reparatory Theatre. Alexis shares her love for New Orleans and her interest in keeping theatre alive in our city. We are also privileged to have a rare interview with Wind in the Willows' own Mr. Rat!
Cindy Mandina, co-owner of Mandina's Restaurant in Mid-City New Orleans
Cindy Mandina is the co-owner of Mandina's Restaurant in Mid-City New Orleans. Mandina's defines the essence of traditional New Orleans neighborhood cooking. Cindy tell us about the damage that resulted from Hurricane Katrina and why it took so long for the restaurant to reopen.She tells us what the original business started out to be and when it became a restaurant. Cindy also shares her thoughts on the New Orleans recovery.
Randy Feldman, President and General Manager of WYES TV
Randy Feldman is President and General Manager of WYES, one of two Public Broadcasting television stations in New Orleans. Randy describes the Herculean effort involved to get the station--a favorite of New Orleanians since 1957-- back on the air. He enthusiastically shares his thoughts on the recent Art Collection Twelve Auction and expresses his gratitude to the donors, volunteers, and staff who made it such a success.
John Blancher, owner of Rock'n' Bowl in New Orleans Mid-City
John Blancher is the owner of Rock'n' Bowl in New Orleans Mid-City. In operation since 1988, Rock'n' Bowl has become a New Orleans icon, to the delight of both young and old. John recounts how he has seen boys and girls meet on his lanes, get married, and return years later with children of their own. John re-opened on November 10, 2005, less then three months after Hurricane Katrina. He has been an inspiration to New Orleanians and is an example of the power of optimism in the New Orleans business community.
Johnny Blancher, co-owner of Ye Olde College Inn talks about their reopening.
Johnny Blancher is co-owner of Ye Olde College Inn. When locals think of their favorite neighborhood New Orleans restaurants, College Inn is high on the list. Locals were thrilled when the restaurant re-opened following Hurricane Katrina. Johnny tells us about the restaurant's origin in 1933 and the recent demolition of the old restaurant building. The "new" building, home of the first A&P grocery store in New Orleans, is actually older than the building that was demolished.
Teddy Pierre, masonry craftsman and vice president of the New Orleans Craft Guild
Teddy Pierre is a masonry craftsman. He describes his work restoring old tombs and explains the importance of using proper materials. Teddy is vice president of the New Orleans Craft Guild and he introduces us to guild president, Jeff Treffinger. Jeff tells us about the guild's vision to create a school to train youngsters in the lost arts of craftsmanship. He talks about the current Priestly School project where ten lucky students will learn craftsmanship skills from local master craftsmen.
Earl Barthé, retired plasterer and now plastering historian
Earl Barthé's family company specializes in historical plastering. Mr. Barthé, a retired plasterer himself, is now a plastering historian. Plaster is in Earl's blood: the Barthé family has been plastering since 1850. Earl tells us that his father worked on such historic buildings as Saint Louis Cathedral, the French Market, and the Saenger Theater. "New Orleans is well known for plasterers", Earl says; at one time more plasterers lived in New Orleans' 7th ward alone than in all of Louisiana.
Beth Galante, director of Global Green talks about energy and the environment
Beth Galante is the director of Global Green in New Orleans. The local office functions as an educational center to show residents how to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Beth shares a tip on saving energy, describes Global Green's project in the Ninth Ward, and tells us about Global Green's monthly seminars that highlight energy saving strategies and "green" approaches to rebuilding and repairing in New Orleans.
Ivory Coco, retired streetcar motorman explains the working of this beloved New Orleans relic.
Ivory Coco, a retired streetcar motorman, operated streetcars from 1971-2004. We tour one of the St. Charles Streetcars as Ivory explains the working of this beloved New Orleans relic. He shares his scariest moment as a streetcar motorman and compares the green Perly Thomas streetcars with the newer "Red Ladies". We also talk to New Orleans Regional Transit Authority representative, Rosalind Cook. She tells us which streetcar lines are in service and when we can expect to see the streetcars gracing St. Charles Avenue once again.
Brian Williams, popular NBC Nightly News Anchor talks about New Orleans
Brian Williams, popular NBC Nightly News Anchor, experienced Hurricane Katrina first hand when he and his crew rode out the storm in the Superdome. Brian clearly has great affection for New Orleans and its people; he tells us about his network's commitment to the city and the full Bureau NBC continues to operate here. Brian is broadcasting NBC Nightly News on May 18 from the Morial Convention Center to show the world that New Orleans is open for business.
Leslie Kramer, owner of Equest Farm in New Orleans City Park
Leslie Kramer is the owner of Equest Farm in New Orleans City Park. Since Hurricane Katrina, many people are taking riding lessons because, as they tell Leslie, "Life is too short and I've always wanted to ride; now, finally, I am going to do it." Leslie observes that we have helped each other move forward together and have been each others' strength. Now, more than ever, we know our neighbors, and our sense of community in New Orleans is much stronger than ever before.
Beth Ribblett co-owner of Swirl, wine shop
Beth Ribblett co-owns Swirl with Kerry Tully. The retail wine shop, located in historic Faubourg St. John, opened in 2006. Beth explains how she found the courage to embark on a new business venture post- Katrina. She tells us about her shop and describes the weekly Swirl wine tastings. Beth hosts the tastings, in part, to help people get to know each other and Swirl has become a popular neighborhood gathering place. Beth is very community minded; she holds fundraisers for groups such as the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children.
Pierre Hilzim, President and CEO of Kajun Kettle and creator of Crawfish Monica
Pierre Hilzim is the President and CEO of Kajun Kettle. Many locals are devoted fans of Pierre's famous creation: Crawfish Monica. Pierre tells us how this New Orleans Jazz Fest favorite came to be, and how it got its name. Kajun Kettle produces approximately ten tons of Crawfish Monica each year and has recently become an international company, shipping products from New Orleans to as far away as the Middle East.
Be sure to have a serving of Crawfish Monica at Jazz Fest; you'll enjoy every bite!
Susann McMahon, founder and executive director of ActiveMusic
Susann McMahon is founder and executive director of ActiveMusic, a national nonprofit fundraising organization raising money for GlobalGreen's rebuild New Orleans Green project. The fundraising auction will feature memorabilia, private performances, tickets, autographed guitars, and other items donated by some of the top names in music including Allen Toussaint, Rod Stewart, and Dr. John. To participate in this auction go to CharityFolks.
Hicham Khodr, new owner of the legendary Camellia Grill in New Orleans
Hicham Khodr is the proud new owner of the legendary Camellia Grill. Although not a New Orleans native, Hicham has lived here for 25 years and understands what Camellia Grill means to New Orleanians. Camellia Grill, closed since Hurricane Katrina, has reopened 20 months later. The restaurant's opening day seats were auctioned at $1,000 each. Twenty-nine seats were sold; proceeds went to the Audubon Zoo. A loyal Camellia Grill fan also shares a few memories as she waits in line for a coveted seat.
Dr. Michael White, musician, historian, composer, and educator
Dr. Michael White, a musician, historian, composer, and educator, believes this is an interesting time for New Orleans music: "We are more appreciative of our traditions". Dr. White goes on to explain how brass bands give young musicians a chance to break into the music business and allow them to experiment and fine tune their art. He defines New Orleans Jazz and talks about how Hurricane Katrina has given local musicians a great source of inspiration.
Judy Spellman, Gospel and Jazz singer and performer at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
Judy Spellman is a local singer and the daughter of New Orleans musician Benny Spellman, who was best known for his hits, "Lipstick Traces" and "Fortune Teller". Judy, who will perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on May 5 and 6, first began singing in her church choir. Although Judy has appeared at the New Orleans Jazz Fest many times before, this year is special: she will perform with her own group, Judy Spellman and Company, on Sunday.
Reggie Scanlan, bass guitar player for the Radiators
Reggie Scanlan is the bass guitar player for the internationally known "Radiators". We have fun talking about the story behind the name "Radiators" and how the group coined the term "Fish Head Music". Reggie also comments on how Hurricane Katrina has influenced the evolution of New Orleans music. He recalls that in the months following Katrina, neighbors pitched in to help each other; that spirit of cooperation, Reggie says, has made for a closer knit New Orleans.
Valerie Robinson, chairman of the Old Algiers RiverFest
Valerie Robinson is chairman of the Old Algiers RiverFest, and President of Old Algiers Main Street Corporation. She describes how the Old Algiers RiverFest arose out of a community concert project of internationally known musician Dr. Michael White. Although the Old Algiers RiverFest is primarily music-focused, it also features lots of food and crafts. Two of the festival's headliners this year are Irvin Mayfield and Dr. Michael White. The festival is April 1, 2007 in Old Algiers.
Salvadore Serio, Vice President of the American Italian Renaissance Foundation
Salvadore Serio is the Vice President of the American Italian Renaissance Foundation which operates the Italian American Museum.The Museum showcases famous New Orleans Italians including one of New Orleans' most beloved sons, musician Louis Prima. March 19 is Saint Joseph's Day and Salvadore explains the old Italian tradition of Saint Joseph's Alters. He talks about the origin of the tradition and everyone's favorite good luck token, the "Italian Lucky Bean."
Fatma Aydin, with the newly opened La Vita restaurant
Fatma Aydin is an owner and the general manager of the newly opened La Vita restaurant in Fauberg St. John. Born in Turkey, Fatma has the spirit and love for New Orleans of a true Crescent City native. She radiates optimism and hope for post-Katrina New Orleans. In fact, she is investing in New Orleans by purchasing the old Santa Fe restaurant in the Marigny, which will open in April. Fatma recalls that following hurricane Katrina she had no doubt she would return. In fact, one of her restaurants was one of the first to serve hot meals after Katrina.
Dr. Henri Roca from LSU speaks on Integrated Medicine
Dr. Henri Roca is the Section Chief for the Integrated Medicine Section at LSU Medical Center. According to Dr. Roca, "Intergrated Medicine is a form of Holistic Medicine that brings all types of complimentary modalities together with conventional medicine, basically, whatever works". Dr. Roca explains that post- Katrina New Orleans is a huge experimental cauldron and stress can produce physical illness. The doctor assess patients for imbalances to prevent illness, in contrast to conventional medicine's focus on treating symptoms.
Monsignor Kern, Monsignor at historic Saint Louis Cathedral
Monsignor Kern is the Monsignor at historic Saint Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter. On Ash Wednesday, the Holy Day following Mardi Gras, we talked about the meaning of the Lenten Season in the Catholic faith. We also discussed the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center that includes both Saint Louis Cathedral and the old Ursulines Convent on Chartres Street. Monsignor also describes the beautiful Vatican Mosaic exhibit currently on display at the Convent.
"Morgus the Magnificent" solves the New Orleans crime problem
Dr. Morgus, also known as "Morgus the Magnificent", updates us on Chopsley's love life and Chopsley's unusual way of impressing girls.We talk a little about Mardi Gras 2007, then move on to more serious discussions. Dr. Morgus has a plan to get rid of New Orleans crime. He explains how he is presenting a plan to the New Orleans City Council to perform "Brain Jobs" on every convicted criminal. He reminds us to tune into Cox 10 on Friday night to see his latest experiments.To learn even more visit Morgus.com. Interview date 2.7.07
Charles Hamilton, president of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club
Charles Hamilton is the president of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club. Charles is a wealth of information about the organization's history. He describes Zulu's early beginnings and the memorable 1949 parade when Louis Armstrong ruled as King Zulu and appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. Charles also recalls the organization's crisis during the Civil Rights movement, when membership dwindled to16. And, of course, we had to talk about the famous Zulu coconuts.
Arthur Hardy, New Orleans Mardi Gras authority, talks about Mardi Gras 2007.
Arthur Hardy, nationally recognized authority on New Orleans Mardi Gras, publishes "Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras Guide". Arthur shares the good news that Mardi Gras 2007-- the second Carnival celebration since Hurricane Katrina-- will be a typical Mardi Gras in terms of the number of parades rolling. "Also, we have approximately 3,000 more hotel rooms than last year", Arthur says. He expresses optimism about New Orleans' ongoing recovery based on his own business and many other businesses in New Orleans that are doing well.
Carlton Dufrechou is the director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
Carlton Dufrechou is the director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. Carlton describes the organization's role as catalyst and facilitator. The Foundation brings together diverse parties to achieve the common goal of creating higher water quality in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin region. Carlton discusses one of the group's favorite projects, the rebuilding of the beloved landmark south shore lighthouse that was severely damaged in Hurricane Katrina. Interview date: 1-31-07
Scott Cowen, President of Tulane University
Scott Cowen is the President of Tulane University. In this interview Scott recalls how the University was on life support for the first two months following Hurricane Katrina.To ensure the University's health, he borrowed the neccesary funds to move forward immediately rather than wait for Federal assistance or insurance money. Scott is encouraged by the appointment of Dr. Blakely as Katrina recovery czar, the rejuvenation of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and the almost entirely new, New Orleans City Council.
Mary Beth Romig with the New Orleans Convention and Visitor Bureau
Mary Beth Romig is Director of Communications and Public Relations for the New Orleans Convention and Visitor Bureau. She describes how the fully restored Convention Center is even better than before Katrina. Mary Beth explains the importance of hotel rooms to New Orleans, heralds the re-opening of the Hyatt Hotel, and shares the good news that all of our major tourist attractions have returned, except the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar.
Bobby Herbert, former Quarterback for the New Orleans Saints
Bobby Herbert, former Quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, shares his thoughts on the team's upcoming playoff game. According to Bobby, the stars are lined up for the Saints. He predicts the playoff game will be similar to the team's emotional victory over the Atlanta Falcons in September when the Saints returned to the Superdome for the first time since New Orleans and the Dome were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
"Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?"
Hokie Gajan, former Running Back for the New Orleans Saints
Hokie Gajan is a former Running Back for the New Orleans Saints football team. Hokie talks about the Saints' division championship this season and how the team has exceeded everyone's highest expectations. He also explains the role of an NFL team owner in helping or hindering the team's performance, and offers his thoughts on Saints owner Tom Benson. Hokie comments on Head Coach Sean Paytons's play calling and the New Orleans Saints' chances to "win it all".
Rocco Vitale III with Pyrotecnico, the fireworks display company that is donating the fireworks for New Orleans' New Year's Eve riverfront celebration.
Rocco Vitale III is the Louisiana General Manager for Pyrotecnico, a fireworks display company. The family owned company is donating the fireworks display for New Orleans' New Year's Eve riverfront celebration in the French Quarter. Rocco explains how the sparkling midnight display, celebrating the beginning of 2007, will be synchronized with New Orleans music. He also gives us a rare insider's description of how dazzling fireworks displays are created.
Julie LaCour, Director of Special Events for New Orleans City Park
Julie LaCour is the Director of Special Events for New Orleans City Park and organizer of "Celebration In The Oaks". She is particulary excited about the old fashioned French Christmas exhibit depicting how the French celebrate the holiday. Julia describes the new laser exhibit and shares news about the recent re-opening of the amusement area and the return of everyone's favorite: the very popular City Park train.
We take a holiday train ride and talk to Santa and his little friend, Sophia.
Thanks Sophia, and I hope you get your "remote control dog".
Peggy Scott Laborde, host of "Steppin' Out", and Senior Producer for WYES TV
Peggy Scott Laborde, the host of "Steppin' Out", is Senior Producer for WYES, New Orleans Public Broadcasting television station. Peggy is well known for her documentaries chronicling New Orleans' history and unique culture; her latest is "Christmas in New Orleans". I visited with Peggy at her office where she discussed the extensive damage to WYES following Katrina, and the station's plans to rebuild a bigger and better facility.
Andrew Ramsey, whose family co-owns the Simon Hubig Company, takes me on a tour of their plant, where the famous Hubig's Pies are made.
The Ramsey and Bowman families co-own the Simon Hubig Company, maker of New Orleans' favorites, Hubig's Pies. Andrew Ramsey takes me on a tour of their plant, where the famous sweet treats are made. As Andrew points out, the company is about people, not money, and he explains how the business could have replaced workers with automation, but chose not to. Back in his office, Andrew talks about Hubig's challenges, and their many successes
Leah Chase, chef at Dooky Chase restaurant and culinary icon in New Orleans.
Leah Chase is the chef at Dooky Chase restaurant and a culinary icon in New Orleans. I interviewed her in her FEMA trailer, where she talked about the return of Dooky Chase. We also talked about Creole food, and the distinction between European Creole cuisine and the cuisine of Creoles of Color. While speaking about the evolution of Creole food, Leah pointed out that Integration exposed Blacks to European Creole cooking. Black cooks then added their knowledge and ingredients, adding to New Orleans' rich culinary tradition.
Tommye Myrick is the Executive Director of the New Orleans African American Museum
Tommye Myrick is the Executive Director of the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture, and History. The museum, damaged during Katrina, has re-opened in Treme, an early African-American faubourg. Tommye describes the museum and explains the "Code Noir" (Black Code) that was the law defining the conditions of slavery when the French governed New Orleans.
Paul Soniat, Director of New Orleans City Park Botanical Gardens.
Paul Soniat is the Director of New Orleans City Park Botanical Gardens. Paul describes the damage the gardens sustained following Katrina and the generous gift that made it possible to re-open to the public in record time. Paul also talks about the outstanding efforts of volunteers from the visiting National Association of Realtors conference in rebuilding the gardens. A New Orleans native and popular musician, Paul tells us about his new CD, "Below the Water Line".
Rob Couhig, New Orleans attorney and former mayoral candidate
Rob Couhig, a New Orleans attorney and former mayoral candidate, talks about the election, his decision to run, and his volunteer service to the mayor during Mayor Nagin's first 100 days. Rob discusses his support of subsidized home ownership over subsidized rentals as a way to rebuild a stable, durable post-Katrina New Orleans. Rob also highlights the importance of youth programs as one positive way to address the crime issue.
Dr. Morgus, aka "Morgus the Magnificent" returns and raises New Orleans' I.Q.
Dr. Morgus, also known as "Morgus the Magnificent", enlightens us about "Morgusian Science" and the esoteric "Higher Order". In this rare interview Dr. Morgus explains how his revolutionary sports medicine has led the New Orleans Saints to recent success. The eminent Doctor also shares his solution for pumping water out of the city in the event of another hurricane.
Stephen Rehage, originator, producer, and owner of the "Voodoo Music Festival".
Stephen Rehage is the originator, producer, and owner of the "Voodoo Music Festival", one of only a few independently owned large music festivals in the country. Steve reflects on the importance of high profile festivals and events to send the message that New Orleans is back in business. This year's 2006 festival runs Oct. 28 - 29 in City Park.
Ti Martin is an owner of Commander's Palace, one of New Orleans' and the country's finest dining institutions. Click on the link below to hear her interview.
Ti Martin is an owner of Commander's Palace, one of New Orleans' and the country's finest dining institutions. Ti tells us about the emotional grand opening just over a year after Katrina wreaked havoc on our famous and beloved culinary landmark. Ti explains there was never any question about re-opening:"This is who we are". Ti describes Commander's culinary specialties and shares her positive vision and thoughts about New Orleans' future.
Gary Ostroske, President of United Way for the Greater New Orleans. Part 2 of his interview
Ti Martin is an owner of Commander's Palace, one of New Orleans' and the country's finest dining institutions. Ti tells us about the emotional grand opening just over a year after Katrina wreaked havoc on our famous and beloved culinary landmark. Ti explains there was never any question about re-opening: " This is who we are". Ti describes Commander's culinary specialties and shares her positive vision and thoughts about New Orleans' future.
Gary Ostroske, President of United Way for the Greater New Orleans area.
Gary Ostroske is the President of United Way for the New Orleans area. Gary tells us how their Canal Street offices fared in Katrina and describes United Way's assistance in the immediate aftermath of the storm. He explains United Way's goals in our community and shares some of his creative solutions to accomplish these goals in Post-Katrina New Orleans.
Anthony Bologna owner of Venezia Restaurant and Bar
Anthony Bologna, owner of Venezia Italian restaurant, talks about its much anticipated return to North Carrollton Avenue. Venezia restaurant, a beloved landmark in Mid-City New Orleans, has been a thriiving business for years on North Carrollton near Canal Street. Anthony recalls Venezia's long history, and how his father influenced his decision to go into the restaurant business.
Phyllis Benoit principal at St. Benedict the Mooor School in Gentilly
Phyllis Benoit is the principal at St. Benedict the Moor School in Gentilly. She talks about the school's benefactors, a couple who have funded the school since 1998. Phyllis explains how this unique, non-tuition school asks for no money, but does require parents to give 50 hours of service per year to the school. We also visit with Cory Wharton, a third grade student at St. Benedict the Moor. Cory shares his enthusiasm for his school and tells us what he wants to be when he grows up.
PART 2 - Sister Kathleen Pittman, a Sister of St. Joseph nun, she is currently working at St. Gabriel's in Gentilly.
Sister Kathleen continues her conversation about the devotion of St. Gabriel parishioners as they rebuild their lives and their parish. We also hear the story behind the mystery phone call she received during part one of the interview, and learn that help sometimes comes from the most unexpected sources.
Sister Kathleen Pittman, a Sister of St. Joseph nun, she is currently working at St. Gabriel's in Gentilly.
Sister Kathleen continues her conversation about the devotion of St. Gabriel parishioners as they rebuild their lives and their parish. We also hear the story behind the mystery phone call she received during part one of the interview, and learn that help sometimes comes from the most unexpected sources.
John Lawrence, Director of Museum Programs at The Historic New Orleans Collection
The Director of Museum Programs at The Historic New Orleans Collection tells about the many aspects of the museum. John describes the current exhibit, "City of Hope", a tribute to the spirit of New Orleanians after Hurricane Katrina. He walks me through the exhibit and talks about a few of the most interesting items.
Richard Buchsbaum, Vice President of Food and Beverage for the Audubon Nature Institute
Today we go behind the scenes at Audubon Nature Institute with Richard Buchsbaum, Vice President of Food and Beverage. Richard explains that the Audubon Nature Institute is more than just the Zoo and Aquarium as he tells us about local social events, including weddings, and the re-emerging convention business. Richard also talks about some unexpected positives as a result of Katrina.
Richard Gruber, director of The Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Richard Gruber, director of The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, brings us up to date on upcoming exhibits. He talks about the museum's unique role in post-Katrina New Orleans and its Katrina-related exhibits during the hurricane's anniversary month of August. Richard closes by pointing out the positive creative energy that is an unexpected gift born of this cataclysmic event we call Katrina.
Stephen Villavaso New Orleans city planner
City planning is the new buzz word in New Orleans post- Katrina. Stephen Villavaso, city planner for 30 years and president of Villavaso and Associates, was just awarded a contract to develop a city-wide infrastructure plan. Stephen outlines the process for creating the New Orleans city plan, our unique opportunity to rebuild New Orleans with foresight and care. He explains how citizen participation is vital to the recovery of New Orleans.
Jay Nix owner of Parkway Bakery a New Orleans tradition
Jay is the owner of Parkway Bakery and Tavern, just a block off Bayou Saint John near Esplanade Avenue. Parkway has been in operation since the early 1900's and Jay walks us through those early years. Since Parkway is famous for its po'boy sandwiches, Jay is quite the po'boy expert. He tells us how the po'boy got its name and what was served on the original po'boy.
Arthor Hardy, most well known as a Mardi Gras authority, talks about his involvement with Warren Easton as a new charter school.
Most of us know Arthur Hardy as a nationally recognized authority on New Orleans Mardi Gras and publisher of "Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras Guide". Arthur's love for the city does not stop at Mardi Gras, however. He is now on the board of a New Orleans charter school, namely Warren Easton. Hear Arthur explain how the board plans to make this school a shining example of the New Orleans recovery.
René Brunet is the owner of the Prytania Theater
René Brunet is the owner of the Prytania Theater, the only independently owned single screen theater remaining in New Orleans. René recounts the early days of movie theaters including Vaudeville. He also shares his thoughts on the New Orleans recovery.
Ron Kotteman, alias "The Roman Candy Man"
Ron Kotteman, alias "The Roman Candy Man", is still hitting the streets of New Orleans selling his Roman Candy. Ron reminisces about his grandfather who started the business and the adversities he had to overcome. Ron also talks about his mule, Patsy, and her upcoming return to the neighborhoods of New Orleans.
Bob Becker, CEO of New Orleans City Park
Bob Becker, CEO of New Orleans City Park, opens with a brief history of how the park was founded. Bob recounts Katrina's damage to the park and shares the clean up and replanting process, and exciting plans for the future. Lastly, Bob brings us up to speed on what is happening with the little train that circles the park.
Antoinette K-Doe, widow of beloved New Orlelans musical legend, Ernie K-Doe
Antoinette K-Doe, widow of beloved New Orleans musician Ernie K-Doe, tells of her Katrina experiences and how Ernie K-Doe's
Mother-in-Law Lounge fared. She describes her vision for New Orleans and New Orleans musicians. Antoinette also discusses how Ernie's last CD addresses the issue of race in New Orleans and how we must all work together to thrive.
Frank Davis with WWL TV in New Orleans
If you have lived in New Orleans for any time at all, you know Frank Davis with WWL TV. Whether Frank is cooking, fishing, or just being Frank, he is always "Naturally N’Awlins". Listen to Frank as he tells us how he started cooking at home at the age of seven. He'll also share his thoughts on life and New Orleans after Katrina.
Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News
Brian Williams is the anchor on the NBC Nightly News. Brian and NBC were the only national media in the Superdome as Katrina passed. Listen as he recounts his experiences in the Superdome during Katrina. Brian also talks about the many challenges facing New Orleanians and Gulf Coast residents and his commitment to keeping the story in front of the nation.