What exactly contributes to an A-List? Attitude, accomplishment, altruism? Well, yes; our list of influencers are rich in accolades and achievements. But what we most admire about this roster of creatives, professionals, and visionaries is their ability to advocate for a better New Orleans. With passion, imagination, and unbridled optimism, our A-Listers compel us to expand on the very things that make our city great – the preservation of our cultural history and the celebration of what makes us unique. As we reach for economic growth and community driven progress, the people of New Orleans are our greatest asset. It is with great pleasure that we introduce these uniquely talented individuals. Their diverse and dynamic personalities are nothing short of inspiring.
Describe what you love about what you do: I love what I do because it allows me to create and spark change within myself, my community and others as well as connect with people on a spiritual, cosmic level. Over the years I have strived to develop a special rapport with our fans and that connection has allowed me to learn a lot about myself and my relationships through the music. That higher connection is the reward. I truly cherish it and don’t take it for granted.
Why in New Orleans? As soon as I finished college I began looking for a place to root down and develop as a person and musician. The best place I found for that is New Orleans. It’s one of the very few “true artist” cities still around today, with so many creatives living here and thriving. And we all know New Orleans is special, but not in the way many describe. It’s deep, it’s dark, but also always humming and rejoicing, striking the perfect balance between comfort and thrill. There are real surprises at every corner, so it's not hard to settle here, especially if you have that appetite for adventure. I’m proud to call it home.
Favorite place to listen to live music: Tipitina’s
What about New Orleans inspires you? New Orleans inspires me to always look a little bit deeper. It’s easy to just write about what’s on the surface but that’s not really where the goods are. This city has a way of bringing me just a little bit closer to the artist inside, reminding me of the wonder in life by shining different shades of light on the simple things so that I can bring that different perspective to my songwriting.
First thing I do when I wake up: Meditate
Favorite drink: Cortado
Song that always put a smile on your face: Walk of Life by Dire Straits
Describe your charitable work: The band and I have worked quite a bit with the local nonprofit, the Roots of Music, raising more than $200,000 at various events in New Orleans and Nantucket. We also released a Revivalists beer in partnership with Nola Brewery to raise money for that organization. We're also inspired by young activists like the high school survivors of the Parkland, FL shooting. We committed to donating proceeds of our song, "Shoot You Down", to Everytown for Gun Safety. To us, there's nothing controversial about that.
Describe what you see as our future: I see New Orleans as one of the great beacons of hope for the south in terms of creativity, the arts, humanity and open-mindedness. It’s truly an extraordinary place filled with people from all walks of life, loving, and thriving in devoted harmony. I’d like to see New Orleans remain just as rooted in its deep traditions and culture while also committing to becoming more and more progressive. After all, it's pretty radical to maintain these roots.
What about New Orleans inspires you? That diversity and culture exist as best friends! It is quite possibly one of the most confident cities in that it exudes authenticity and charm by being exactly who it is in its most raw form. People are friendly and accepting of anyone that comes across its path. I have made lasting friendships with artists, musicians, physicians, and everything in between casually around the city!
What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self? Never stop learning. Everything is teaching you something, whether you know it at the time or not. One of the best qualities you can have is allowing yourself to learn and grow.
Favorite thing to do here to recharge/energize: Romney Ride
Name something about New Orleans that can always put you in a good mood: You can wake up on pretty much any given day and find a festival or event happening that is going to be a guaranteed good time with incredible food and music! I personally love how I can go from a playdate with my kids in Audubon Park in the morning to French Quarter Fest in the afternoon without prior plans!
Best book you've read in the past year: Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
Name a necessary extravagance: A designer pair of shoes you can dance in!
Describe the greatest influence you’ve had on your life: My husband! I met him at the age of 17 so he has had a huge impact on who I am today. He is the smartest person I know and inspires me daily with his love of learning, work ethic and most generous heart to our family and community.
Song that can always put you in a great mood: Just Dance by Lady Gaga
Favorite drink or cocktail: A glass of Red Sangria
Describe what you love about what you do: I love what I do because it's the coolest job in the world. I get to look fly and do poems! No...seriously, I find it rewarding because people become freer when hearing these poems and songs; they leave the shows feeling different. I love that.
Why in New Orleans? New Orleans is just as serious as it is carefree about its music. But it must be captivating and culturally significant to make a difference here. If I'm doing that, I have nothing else to prove to the rest of the world. I've won where it matters. I've won at home.
Describe your work in three words: Straightforward, playful, and passionate
Favorite walk: French Quarter
Your go-to outfit: A matchy suit
Favorite snowball stand: Rodney's in the East
What about New Orleans inspires you? Everything. The colorful homes, the music, the people, the love, the bike riding. I'm totally in love with it.
Describe your charitable work or favorite cause: I like to talk to teenagers about their lives and encourage them to make good decisions. It sounds corny but they really are our future and without their smart decisions and community efforts the world is going to end up a pretty whack uninhabitable place.
Describe what you see as our future: I'd like to see the city stick to its roots all while growing...I want to see it beautifully kept, houses left behind rebuilt for purpose, no homelessness under our bridges, and something done with dilapidated buildings.
Three items always in your fridge: Strawberries, chocolate covered almonds, Fiji water
Describe your charitable work or favorite cause: My 8-year-old daughter, Hartley, was born with Down Syndrome and two holes in her heart. My wife and I wanted to help Hartley's surgeon, who made medical missions to South America and Russia, get financing to continue his charitable work. In 2011, Hartley's Heart Foundation was founded with a goal of fixing as many children's heart defects as possible. To date, we have saved 57 children.
What about New Orleans inspires you? The soul of its people.
Favorite meal and where to get it: Raw oysters from Luke on St. Charles Avenue
Favorite art gallery: Galerie Rue Royale on Royal Street
Television obsession: Billions
Best musical concert ever: Too many to mention, but if I have to: U2, Superdome, September 2017
Your go-to outfit: Lululemon head-to-toe
Favorite simple indulgence: First cup of coffee in the morning
Song that defines your coming of age: Fire on the Mountain
Favorite drink or cocktail: "The Deuce" made from Hendrick gin, St. Germain, club soda, and a splash of grapefruit
Describe what you love about what you do: I love incorporating hospitality, food and drinks to create joyful communities of people. As everything has moved online, we do not get together with each other nearly enough. Our spots are all based upon people’s getting together more often. It has particular meaning to be able to do so here because New Orleans is the greatest hospitality city in the world. We understand the importance of getting together as communities of people to share laughter and love better than any city in the world.
Favoritewalk: Through Tulane and Loyola's campuses
Name something about New Orleans that always puts you in a good mood: A Second Line. It truly is the best way to celebrate and the best way to mourn.
Describe your personal style: Classic, basic, and clean
What advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self? Be concerned with who you want to be, not what you want to be. And embrace your mistakes. They will be the greatest learning experiences that lead you to become who you were meant to be.
Name a necessary extravagance: An old Jeep that can handle rugged New Orleans streets and beautiful New Orleans days perfectly
What about New Orleans inspires you? The places in New Orleans inspire me. There is not one time that I have ever taken a walk or ridden my bike in New Orleans when I did not see an incredibly designed building for the very first time. The people in New Orleans inspire me, too. Some of the best times to be had in New Orleans are sitting on a bench or a stool next to a great storyteller. We are fortunate to have so many of them here.
What about New Orleans inspires you? New Orleans has a spirit unlike any I have ever been around. It's a spirit of resilience and resolve that has been forged by tough times followed by victory. One cannot spend time in this region without sensing that spirit and being motivated by it. New Orleans draws you in in a way that is difficult to explain. It is not utopia and sometimes people do not get along. But the idea of family extends far beyond bloodlines and includes a variety of people from different backgrounds who truly care about each other. I always tell people, “This is the only city where strangers will bring food to your door to welcome you to the neighborhood.”
What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self? You don't have to be perfect. You will only reach your full potential if you are willing to take risks. Do not fear failure. Your worth is not dependent on your success in your profession.
Favorite meal and where to get it: Gumbo and potato salad, at home, Kirsten's Kitchen
Describe your charitable work or favorite causes: Our foundation is called One More and has a mission to share the love and hope of Christ to 'one more' soul. We do this in a variety of ways including benefits, grants and donations and international trips to support various causes. For the last 10 years we have hosted yearly events providing gifts and household items for victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and poverty. Our latest cause has been combating sex trafficking domestic and abroad. Our desire is to give our time talent and treasure to causes that promote kindness, justice and righteousness.
Favorite snowball stand: Sal's
Name something about New Orleans that always puts you in a good mood: Seeing people dance. One game day I was arriving at the Superdome and stopped at the light on Poydras. I looked down at the people tailgating and saw a man dancing to music while others clapped and cheered him on. I already had my game face on but this made me smile. That image encapsulated so much of what New Orleans represents. Pain, pride, laughter mixed together and expressed through music and movement.
Favorite thing to do here to relax: Take a rare nap (we have 5 going on 7 kids!)
Describe what you see as our future: I am not a native New Orleanian so I am still learning about the city's history and current state. My ultimate desire is that residents, which vary ethnically and economically, feel like they have equal opportunity to achieve the success they desire for themselves and their families. I would like to see homelessness decline, employment rise, and school age children learn how powerful their minds are from teachers, mothers, and fathers who are devoted. My vision includes a criminal justice system that treats the poor and wealthy with even scales. I truly believe that this city's greatest days are ahead of her.
What book are you reading now?Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Favorite hotel: Four Seasons -- anywhere
A song that defines your coming of age: "Real Love" by Mary J Blige
Favorite destination: Dubai
Three items always in your fridge: Blueberries, almond milk, and sparkling water
Name something about New Orleans that always puts you in a good mood: Costuming. I love a good costume and I'm grateful to live in a world in which a costume closet is a necessity.
Describe what you love about what you do: As an artist, I like that I can become swept up in an idea and it’s my job to stay there for as long as I need to. I love that my whole life gets layered into my work and I can build a space that is completely mine within the universe.
Favorite simple indulgence: Free time. Any Friday or Saturday that I can roam around and have a casual lunch with a friend.
Why in New Orleans? Nola has a particularly rich sensory about time which is deeply romantic. What is it about the mystique of the past mingled with the present in this city? I don’t think we are really supposed to understand it, but I have never lived in a place that woos and whispers in such an elegant dreamlike manner. It is an excellent place to conceive artwork.
Favorite restaurant: I've got all the feels for Zasu right now.
What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self? Dump the boyfriend.
Favorite drink: Earl Grey
What about New Orleans inspires you? New Orleans has an abundance of influential women. It's invigorating to live in a community with so many female run businesses and I relish every opportunity to work side-by-side with my extraordinary mentors, colleagues, and friends.
New Orleans is proud to call Patricia Clarkson one of our own. Not only is she one of the most gifted actresses of our time, with an accolade-filled career in film, theatre, and television, she is generously devoted to her hometown. In her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes when she won a Best Supporting Actress award for her stunning performance in HBO's Sharp Objects, she gave a heartfelt shout out to her mom, dad, and New Orleans. And as often as her schedule allows, she is in town to support the arts – Le Petit Theatre, Mahalia Jackson Theatre, and the Tennessee Williams Festival just to name a few.
Patti, as she is known to family and friends, explains that as the youngest of five sisters, the pull to New York to make her own way was strong. She attributes much of her success to the rigorous education she received at Fordham and Yale Universities. "My world opened up," she says. "In an industry fixated on the external, I was fortunate to have professors who taught me that I was so much more than how I looked or sounded – that I could play anything." Critically acclaimed roles include a drug-addicted actress in the movie High Art and a bohemian artist in HBO's drama Six Feet Under. Her advice to actors just starting out includes "have courage in your own convictions early on" and "the dream is not impossible if you train, have scruples, and constantly strive to get better." At such an exciting time for women in her industry, she jubilantly exclaimed at the Golden Globes "this is what 59 looks like!" Well, Patti, girl, you've never looked better and New Orleans simply adores you!
How did growing up here impact your life and career? Dreams can happen. I'm a true New Orleans girl, Algiers born and raised. I went to public schools where I had fantastic teachers — Mrs. Morrison and Janet Shea when I was in eighth grade and Ethel Istre at O. Perry Walker High School. Each saw something in me and they nurtured my creativity. There's an openness here. I am definitely a New Yorker but New Orleans is in my blood and heart. I'm from a big family with great, loving parents. My dad is a listener and a nurturer with a great sense of humor — he'd have to in a house of six women and two female dogs. I had a beautiful upbringing and one reason that I am able to go to some really dark places when I create a character is that I know that I am always coming back to the light.
What is an inspiring experience you've had in New Orleans? Muses. Reigning as Queen of Muses was an experience beyond words. When the rain stopped at 6:41 and the parade rolled, it was an incredible honor to ride with the one thousand women of Muses. These are the kick-ass women from every cross section of town who are making our city better. It was no small gesture. I was deeply honored to be able to show my appreciation.
What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self? Hold on, you'll grow into your voice.
Favorite walk: Audubon Park - I try to do this every visit.
Favorite food and where to get it: Red beans and rice - all over town.
Favorite snowball flavor: Spearmint
Something you love about New Orleans: Riding the streetcar. I'll never grow tired of it. Ever.
A favorite book: As a Light Snow Keeps Falling by Howard Altmann
A favorite movie: Bill Cunningham New York
Music that defines your coming of age: Anything by America, the Eagles, or Three Dog Night
Describe what you love about what you do: I've pursued a lot of things, but now I know my purpose was always telling stories, be it on a page or through a visual medium. With both practices, it's the connecting with people, often strangers, and the trust, physically, mentally, and emotionally, required for us to tell the story. My aim is to have readers or viewers be moved by my work and experience something new and/or something familiar in a different way. It's a constant pursuit to execute what I imagined, and that journey is what I love.
Why in New Orleans? It's a plethora of stories and cultural practices that will be lost if not told; they call out to me, present themselves, and I'm the vessel toiling to transport narratives and histories to future generations.
Describe your charitable work or favorite causes: I'm a member of the board of trustees at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, because art should be accessible to everyone.
Favorite snowball stand: I didn't grow up on it, but I do like Rodney's Snowball Stand.
Favorite simple indulgence: Eating pralines
What about New Orleans inspires you? This city made me, shaped my personality, provided great exposure to so many things, all while roughing me up enough to defend myself. This city can be unforgiving. But it's a lot people who work to make it better and that motivates me.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Spend time with my wife and kids.
Favorite thing to do here to relax: Sitting by the Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain on a sunny day
What book are you reading now?We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
What would people be surprised to know about you? I've never had a lucky dog or muffuletta
Favorite album of all time: "I Want You" by Marvin Gaye
Name a necessary extravagance: Buying bourbon; I love the rarer ones.
Your go-to outfit: If I could wear the custom tux from my wedding by Lavoisier Suits everyday, I would.
Best musical concert ever: It's among Thundercat, Carlos Santana, Beyoncé or Prince
Describe what you love about what you do: I love being part of a team of people that collectively can bring excitement to guests through hospitality.
Why in New Orleans? New Orleans is one of those places where food takes center stage. Whether it is the local's fondness for all things food-related or travelers who plan a whole trip around eating, it makes for a very special environment for professional cooks.
Describe what you love about what you do: I've been designing more and more custom pieces for my clients and it's my favorite part of what I do. I have a five-step design process to nurture collaboration and define what my client finds beautiful. It's gratifying to create a piece for someone that incorporates who they are and know they will cherish and wear for generations to come.
What about New Orleans inspires you? New Orleans is a magical place. This city is the most inspiring place to be as a designer and artist, as it continually surprises me its complexity. It’s similar to Sedona in that when you arrive you’re in a completely consuming vortex of energy unlike anywhere else.
Name something about New Orleans that can always put you in a good mood: Hearing marching bands in the distance. It’s such a happy sound.
Describe your charitable work or favorite cause: The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana was our first partnership and a natural fit since saving our wetlands is fundamental to New Orleans geography. I hope that my jewelry will have a lasting impact on the community further than just the aesthetic beauty of each piece.
Favorite walk: City Park and Bayou St. John at golden hour
What would people be surprised to know about you? Even though I’ve used snakes in multiple collections and on my wedding ring, I’m terrified of them! But I love their symbolism and their fluid nature.
Your style icon: Ires Apfel. She's truly herself and it proves style has no age.
Favorite drink or cocktail: Mezcal passion fruit margarita
Name a necessary extravagance: Diamonds
What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self? Persistence matters more than talent. The student with straight As is irrelevant if the student sitting next to her with Bs has more passion.
Song that can always put you in a great mood: Teenage Wasteland by The Who
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Kiss my husband and meditate
Describe what you love about what you do: I am committed to making art and the museum accessible to as broad an audience as possible. When our visitors discover the wonder of art, it is the ultimate reward.
Why in New Orleans? NOMA has one of the great collections anywhere and sharing its resources with the New Orleans Community is my passion. A complex city filled with history and visual culture, NOMA is an ideal place to explore both the traditions of the city and contemporary interpretations of those histories.
Describe your work in three words: Timeless, unique, and whimsical
Name something about New Orleans that can always put you in a good mood: Live music. It lifts my spirits, transports me, and fuels my lust for life.
What do you find rewarding about what you do? After working for a men’s apparel company in corporate America, where decisions took too long to be made and my designs were not fully appreciated, it feels wonderful to be the sole person making decisions for my company, both financial and creative.
Why in New Orleans? What makes it special about doing it here? While I am native daughter, I never envisioned that I would live here as an adult or have a career here. In my 20’s, I was destined for life in Europe and I’m so glad I turned around and rediscovered New Orleans from many different points of view. Today, there is no place on earth that I would rather be. Being able to produce products down the street from my home and supporting my community gives me great pride.
Song that can always put you in a great mood: More Than This by Roxy Music
What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self? Focus on yourself. Find mentors. Study what is not instinctive to you. For example, I went to art school for both high school and university and I should have studied business so I could understand how to run a creative business.
Describe your charitable work or favorite causes: I serve on the board of Preservation Hall Foundation because I believe in preserving and perpetuating our musical culture and supporting elderly musicians. I am actively involved in New Orleans Airlift (The Music Box) because I admire what they do for the creative community and respect their vision – which they have stayed true to as they’ve grown. Both organizations introduce me to other artists and inspire me.
Favorite place to score things for your home: Perch
Describe the greatest influence you’ve had on your life: My father, Arthur. He believed in me. He nurtured my creative talents and shared the world with me. He exposed my eyes to art and my ears to jazz, dragging me to every museum and jazz festival he could find. He was generous, open-minded and kind to everybody. He showed me how to get involved in my community and do more to help others.
Describe what you love about what you do: I love supporting women and men grow their strength, gain confidence, and find their passion for a healthy and balanced life.
Why in New Orleans? I love building this in New Orleans because it didn't exist to the level that I wanted. New Orleans knows how to celebrate and I wanted to create a space where we can celebrate the miracle of ourselves each and every day.
Describe your vision for New Orleans: I would love to see more healthy options in this city: clean restaurants, holistic, preventative health care, new age health/spa treatments to name a few. We are slowly getting more businesses that offer healthy options but let’s really demand more and better quality everywhere in this city.
Favorite walk: Audubon Park
Favorite meal and where to get it: Kale Salad at Houston's
What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self? You are capable of so much more than you've been taught. Believe in yourself!
Favorite thing to do do here to recharge: Workout or train at my studio
Favorite cocktail: Good tequila with some lime and sparkling water
Describe what you love about what you do: I love that every job and experience with my clients is different than the last. It's very rewarding to work on the most important place in most people's lives -- where they build families and create important memories.
Why in New Orleans? We are so rich in architectural history that it’s truly a dream to be able to work here.
What about New Orleans inspires you? There are characters everywhere and they constantly inspire me to keep bringing fun and new life into each project I work on.
Your style icon: Tom Ford
What's the first thing you do when you wake up? Hit snooze
Describe the greatest influence you've had on your life: Legendary designer Gerrie Bremermann has been the biggest influence in my life professionally. She has taught me so much, become a great friend, and made me a better designer. I love her more than words. She is a legend.
Describe what you love about what you do: At the end of the day, I get to make people happier. Our mission is to help people live healthier and happier lives because happiness is directly linked to health and wellness. The experiences that stand out are those in which I’ve gotten to interact directly with people who’ve been impacted by our products or work in the community. I feel very lucky to be in such a fulfilling career.
Why in New Orleans? New Orleans is my home. It’s the place where my wonderful wife grew up - I’m quite sure it contributed to her being so awesome - and it’s the city where our kids will grow up. New Orleans is one of the few places where you can still find a thriving sense of community and an authentic culture. Our people are proud, strong, and fun. By locating our company here, we can ensure that these qualities are incorporated into OUR culture.
What about New Orleans inspires you? New Orleans' pride is incredible. The authenticity of the people, the idiosyncrasies, the traditions, and the optimism makes you fall in love with the city. People smile more here than the rest of the country. They look out for one another. That doesn't happen in other cities. There is a certain type of person who lives here, a person who wants to pay it forward.
Favorite thing to do here to relax: Order Magasin take out and watch a show with my wife.
Describe your charitable work or favorite causes: Covenant House has helped youth go from homelessness to independence in the form of a career, an apartment, and health. I’ve been thankful to have the opportunity to help them with snack donations as well as periodic seminars on nutrition, mental health, and entrepreneurship. Youth Run Nola is one of my favorites. It encourages kids to exercise, while also showing them how fun, fulfilling, and empowering it can be. I was recently connected with Voice of the Experienced, which supports and work for the rights of formerly incarcerated individuals. Roots of Music is a special place for me -- the kids are so excited to be there with the opportunity to pursue their interest in music.
Three items always in your fridge: Yogurt, pickles, and blueberries
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Drink three cups of water and walk my dogs!
Describe your vision for our future: With all of the amazing qualities of New Orleans, we still have a lot of work to do in terms of childhood health, wellness, and safety. I think we can impact that directly through our products and more importantly through our activism. With the idea that a rising tide lifts all ships, I hope to create jobs and be a force for positive change within our growing food and beverage industry.
Describe what you love about what you do: I love working with our team. They're collaborative, smart creatives who really drive the brand forward.
What about New Orleans inspires you? The people and the culture.
What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self? Stop drinking so much coffee. I was totally over-caffeinated.
Favorite thing to do here to relax: Sitting on my balcony. I love to people-watch.
Describe your charitable work or favorite cause: We launched the KREWE Foundation last year -- a nonprofit that empowers the youth of New Orleans by providing access to eye care and free prescription eyewear to local public high schoolers. It's amazing the change that happens when these kids get a pair of frames; they stand a little taller. You can feel their confidence shift, and they do better in school. They're talented, driven kids; we're just giving them the tools they need to succeed.
Three items always in your fridge: Almond butter, soda water, and kombucha
What book are you reading now? I listen to them. I get more out of podcasts these days. When you get a good podcast, you get two experts in a field talking at a high level – it gives you the ability to sit in on a conversation and get insights that you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to, often in fields that you aren’t in, and I just love that.
Describe what you love about what you do: My passion is putting people and ideas together. We represent a variety of clients from national companies to dedicated non-profit organizations. I feel like I have the most interesting job there is as through our work we not only learn about a broad spectrum of businesses but are able to develop strategies and partnerships that bring our clients together for mutual benefit.
Favorite Clothing Store: Chatta Box (ask for Rebecca!)
Name something about New Orleans that can always put you in a good mood: I love “playing hooky” on Friday afternoons in the French Quarter. A group of friends may start with lunch at Galatoire’s then head to some of our favorite meet-ups such as the Carousel Bar and Patrick’s Bar Vin. It is the perfect combination of good food, sparkling cocktails, lively music and most of all good friends-all with the backdrop of the historic French Quarter.
Describe your personal style: Chic Executive Officer
Favorite destination: British Virgin Islands
What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self? Be true to your authentic self and do not let your actions be shaped by what others think of you.
Describe the greatest influence you have had on your life: My friends have been the greatest influence on my life. They have supported me in good times and in challenging times, holding my hand through tragedy, encouraging me with opportunities and celebrating with me in successes. Through their example, they have inspired me to live the best life ever.
Necessary extravagance: Travel
Favorite drink/cocktail: Regular Bombay martini with blue cheese olives and a twist on the rocks
Favorite Snowball stand: Sal’s on Metairie Road
Favorite Bike Ride: The path along the Mississippi River levee (Audubon Park to St. Charles Parish)
What advice would you give your twenty year old self? Don’t be afraid to take up space in a room.
Describe what you see as our future: I see the future of New Orleans in my children, Jake (4) and Lorelei (3). Every parade, festival, restaurant, art opening they experience is unique and beautiful. There was never a question about raising my children here.
What would people be surprised to know about you? February 17th is the busiest day of the year in my house. It’s my birthday. Juan and I were married in our NOLA wedding on February 17th. Lorelei was born on February 17th. And occasionally Mardi Gras falls on February 17th....
Favorite simple indulgence: A slice of Key Lime Pie from Pêche
Describe the greatest influence you’ve had on your life: Hands down, my parents. Joel and Sandra Chaisson have shown such dedication and service to their community. I’m honored to try to meet their expectations and pass them on to my own children.
Favorite movie of all time: Rocky Horror Picture Show
Describe your charitable work or favorite causes: Dress for Success because by providing professional attire, development tools, and a network of support, women are empowered to achieve financial independence. Kidsmart engages children in dynamic, creative, and rigorous learning through the arts and NOBA, the premiere ballet organization in our region, reaches deeply into the community with innovative programs dedicated solely to the art of dance.
What about New Orleans inspires you? The creative and entrepreneurial energy in this city is what inspires me. Between the creative community and the entrepreneurial ecosystem here, New Orleans represents nirvana for “creators” of all kinds in a culturally rich environment.
Why in New Orleans? Running a culinary school that now exists after almost six years of huge community and industry wide effort is extremely rewarding. New Orleans has been at the forefront of culinary and hospitality for so much of its rich history so it is particularly meaningful for this city to have a world-class culinary school - finally!
What would people be surprised to know about you? I am a die-hard 90’s hip hop aficionado.
Describe your charitable work or favorite cause:There is an inspiring group of leaders in our community behind the Campaign for Equity New Orleans who are committed to making New Orleans the racially equitable city in the country. Even if we fall short of that amazing vision, it is a goal that I passionately support and would encourage anyone invited to participate in their highly selective training to attend.
Favorite walk: Along Bayou St. John
Favorite flower: Peony
Your go-to outfit: Embarrassed to admit it involves yoga pants
Describe your vision for our future: My dream is that New Orleans will evolve from being a major tourism destination to becoming a global thought leader as it relates to food and hospitality. Imagine a future where New Orleans is the epicenter for interdisciplinary research and scholarship in all the things that food touches, the birthplace and incubator of major innovations in the hospitality industry, and ‘the’ place where the greatest minds involved in all the above convene to exchange ideas and best practices.