NEW ORLEANS, LA— On Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, Mayor Mitch Landrieu introduced the leadership charged with developing New Orleans’ 300th anniversary celebration activities in 2018. The 2018 Commission will organize international, national and local partners for the planning of celebrations in honor of the city’s history and future.
“As we approach 2018, we have the unique opportunity to thoughtfully set a course to a better city,” said Mayor Landrieu. “New Orleans is already on a roll—schools are improving, our economy is getting stronger, and murder is at a historic 30-year low. However, we still have work to do. I have enlisted the help of key leaders in our community to ensure that when we reach this 300-year milestone, New Orleans is the city we always wanted her to be.”
The 2018 Commission is a privately-funded endeavor that aims to implement programs and projects throughout the community that appropriately celebrate the 300th anniversary. With Mayor Landrieu and First Lady Cheryl Landrieu serving as Honorary Co-chairs, the commission will work to lead a fully recovered New Orleans into the next 300 years. The Mayor and First Lady identified a group of individuals who have demonstrated leadership in their chosen fields to serve on the 2018 Commission. Mark Romig, President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation will serve as the director.
Over the next three years, the Executive Committee will advise the commission on the best way to celebrate the city’s journey as a people since its founding in 1718. Executive committee members include: Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews; Tom and Gayle Benson; Donna Brazile; Drew Brees; Leah Chase; James Carville; Patricia Clarkson; Harry Connick, Jr.; Dr. Norman Francis; Steve Gleason; Russel Honore; Walter Isaacson; Rita Benson LeBlanc; Wynton Marsalis; Mary Matalin and Sybil Morial.
“Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of New Orleans gives us a rare opportunity to not only commemorate our past, but to also evaluate and shape our future. I am honored to be help lead this historic effort,” said Dr. Francis.
“The 300-year history of New Orleans is a tale of creativity, enterprise, turmoil, triumph, and the magic of diversity,” said Isaacson. “I look forward to celebrating it all and looking at how it propels us into the future.”
In addition to the Executive Committee, Mayor Landrieu chose individuals to chair eight sub-committees that focus on specific sectors of the community. The Racial Reconciliation Committee was formed to create opportunities for citizens to come together to have open dialogues about race relations in the city of New Orleans and to build relationships that will lead to a more inclusive city in 2018 where everyone can prosper. This committee is co-chaired by Flozell Daniels, Allison Plyer, Matt Wisdom and Carol Bebelle.
The other seven committees will also have distinct goals within their industries. The Finance Committee is co-chaired by Warner Williams and Norma Jane Sabiston; the Cultural & Historical Education Committee is co-chaired by Lee Hampton and Priscilla Lawrence; the Community Engagement Committee is co-chaired by Jade Russell and Curry Smith; the International Engagement Committee is chaired by Frances Fayard; the Media and Branding Committee is co-chaired by Leslie Jacobs and Michael Hecht; the Expat Engagement Committee is co-chaired by Deborah Elam and Tim Williamson; and the Signature Events and Hospitality is co-chaired by Darryl Berger and Michael Smith.
In the coming months, the 2018 Commission will continue to engage the community to serve in various capacities. The commission also seeks to collaborate with organizations across the city to create a comprehensive calendar of all events, conventions or programs related to the 300th anniversary.
The public is invited to visit www.2018nola.com to sign up to receive more information and updates on the 300th anniversary activities.