Editor's Note: A Year of Rebirth
Choosing the top 10 stories of the year was a bit harder this time around, but for a good reason. In 2018, we were fortunate enough to have no shortage of big wins on the business front. The top three stories — Avondale, DXC opening, along with other tech companies, and the $9.4 billion Formosa Petrochemical Plant announcement for St. James Parish — are all enormous victories for our region. Any of them could have claimed the No. 1 spot.
In the end, however, we decided to go with what we felt was the biggest rebirth story. Avondale Shipyard, once the largest private employer in the entire state — with over 26,000 workers at its peak — is on its way back. This is thanks to eight years of efforts, with hard work from GNO, Inc., JEDCO, the Jefferson Parish Council and, of course, the Port of New Orleans.
There is a strong sense of rebirth in the air. Look at our budding tech industry, our much-anticipated new airport, the tourism numbers that keep climbing, the medical marijuana industry that lies on the horizon. As we close out 2018, it is certainly with no shortage of excitement for what lies ahead.
Our top 10 stories this year also, sadly, included the loss of Tom Benson and the resultant change in control of his empire. Unfortunately, he was not the only legend claimed in 2018. On the culinary side there was Ella Brennan, Mr. Okra (a.k.a. Arthur James Robinson) and pie and praline master Tee Eva. In music we lost Charles Neville, and in healthcare we lost Dr. John Ochsner. And, on the uniquely New Orleans side, we lost Jonathan Scott, owner of F&F Botanica and Candle Shop and beloved longtime journalist, and someone I was honored to call a friend, Frank Donze.
Fortunately, for so many of these beloved New Orleanians, their legacies will live on as their work is continued through those they loved. As we move forward, we honor those that came before us and changed our community forever.
Have a wonderful holiday season and see you in 2019!