Magazine Defies Katrina and Reaches 40th Anniversary

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A New Orleans based magazine struggles to get back to business after the devastation of Katrina. New Orleans Magazine enters its 40th year with “And Now The Renaissance” its first issue since Katrina, available in digital format.

Working from a temporary office near Baton Rouge and with its staff scattered throughout the state, New Orleans Magazine reached its 40th Anniversary with its first post-Katrina issue, “And Now the Renaissance”. The issue examines what must be done to rebuild New Orleans. It can be found at Barnes and Noble stores nationwide and is available in a digital format from the web site, http://www.NewOrleansMagazine.com.

The story of how a New Orleans based magazine picked up the pieces after the devastation of Katrina and got back to business characterizes what is happening throughout the area. Publisher William Metcalf, Jr. notes that “The struggles and adversity faced by our employees, their families and all of our friends in the community are simply mind-boggling. Yet there has been a gritty determination on the part of our employees to get back to work and be part of the effort to rebuild New Orleans.”

Staffers left work on Friday August 26th making plans for the weekend – football games, parties, and back-to-school shopping. Forty-eight hours later they were literally scattered to the winds, with Katrina bearing down on New Orleans.

The next week was simply spent getting bearings. Staffers were everywhere – Hawaii, California, Dallas, Baton Rouge – and some still in New Orleans awaiting evacuation. Communication was virtually impossible that first week, but eventually all employees were reported safe, although many experienced significant losses.

Kelley Faucheux, SVP-Sales, obtained an emergency entry pass to enter New Orleans seven days after Katrina. Her first hand report of the devastation in the city was chilling but her initial report from the office was encouraging. After climbing up 18 flights in the pitch black and 98 degree heat, she found significant water damage and “a new skylight” in the edit room, but at least the office had not blown away.

CEO Todd Matherne led a team to relocate servers, computers, and files to a donated office near Baton Rouge. Although the office had shrunk to a small room and a few cubicles, New Orleans Magazine had found a temporary home.

Editor Errol Laborde was determined to make the November issue special, focusing on the rebuilding effort. Unfortunately, his full time editorial staff now numbered two. With the future so uncertain, many staff members had been released. He was buoyed by a subscriber’s email recounting how much it meant to find a damp and crinkly September New Orleans Magazine in her mailbox.

The staff operated in a difficult environment. All left their homes with only a few pieces of clothing. Temporary housing was disruptive at best. Everyone was concerned for friends and family who lost everything to Katrina. Many had decisions to make regarding kids and schools.

Nearly every staffer’s home was damaged - meaning grueling trips to a bizarre New Orleans. Toss out ruined belongings, meet with insurance adjusters, and try to find a contractor. And no place to eat after 3 o’clock. New Orleans was no longer The City that Care Forgot.

Under these strange circumstances, the November issue of New Orleans Magazine was born – a bit late but healthy. New Orleans Magazine, like the city whose name it carries, has weathered challenging times, but in its 40th year is determined to grow even stronger.

For more information or to download the November issue of New Orleans Magazine please visit the http://www.NewOrleansMagazine.com web site.

About: New Orleans Magazine is a division of MCMedia, a New Orleans based publisher of local magazines, including Biz New Orleans, and operator of BizNewOrleans.com, the area’s premier site for local business news, and two local radio stations. MCMedia’s staff has grown in size and returned to homes or temporary residences in New Orleans. The staff now works elbow to elbow in a small section of the New Orleans office while repairs continue. MCMedia plans to bring all divisions back by the fall of 2006.

Contact:

Alan Campell

President

908-322-7380

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