New Orleans Advertising Giant Peter Mayer Passes Away, Leaves Lasting Legacy
NEW ORLEANS – The Peter Mayer advertising agency announced its founder, Peter Mayer, passed away.
According to an announcement on the Peter Mayer website:
Peter Arno Mayer passed away peacefully at his home in New Orleans on July 14, 2016 surrounded by his adoring family. He was born in 1929 in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany, and as a 6-year-old refugee, he settled with his mother and father in New Orleans in 1935. He fled Nazi Germany not able to speak a word of English. His life is the definition of the American dream come true.
He was educated in New Orleans public schools and later at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, where he earned the nickname “Junior” as the youngest member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi fraternity. He was in charge of the goat mascot. After a brief service in the U.S. Air Force, he started his career in the Circulation Department of The Times-Picayune, later joining the Fitzgerald Advertising company and then the Walker Saussy Advertising agency. With the help of Dorothea “Dot" Cahn, he started Peter Mayer Advertising in 1967. His talent, wit, charm, unbridled optimism and strong ethics helped his agency grow to one of the largest in the state, and later, the Gulf South.
He was a loving husband to Linda Bailey Mayer and previously to Tamara Bernstein Mayer; brother to Ann Levin of Los Angeles, California; father to Mark, Eric and Josh Mayer and father-in-law to Mindy Mayer, Isabelle Mayer and Jill Dupre; grandfather to Allison Mayer, James Mayer, Tom Mayer, Sam Mayer, Eleanor Mayer, Dan Mayer, Mathilda Mayer and Mose Mayer; and a father figure to Perry Pfister.
Peter always found time to give encouragement and energy to worthy causes: WYES, The Vieux Carré Commission, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, The United Way, The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, to name but a few. He served as Adjunct Professor of Advertising at Loyola University. He always took time to meet with and encourage young people trying to launch a career in marketing.
For many years, he held court on the sidewalk of Camp Street smoking a cigar after lunch in a director’s chair. He had conversations with all who passed by and always saw the best in people and situations. It was said that he didn’t have a bad day in his life. On weekends, he was often found at his cabin on the pond in Lumberton, Mississippi, feeding birds, catching fish and cursing beavers.
Anyone who knew Peter was lucky to be regaled with exaggerated stories of exotic foods, foreign travel, fishing conquests and the newest jokes. His special gift was always finding the humor in any situation. He considered himself lucky to have been given such a blessed and charmed life. He loved bow ties, WW2 history, reading, sushi, spumoni, chicken feet, politics and the company of his family and many friends – especially during the Jewish Holidays.
To say that food was important to his life would be an understatement. He looked forward to three things every day: where to have lunch, whom to have lunch with and what to order. He was a member of the International Wine & Food Society, “Societe des Escargots de Orleanais,” a men’s culinary club, and the long-standing Friday Lunch group. He was also a regular for breakfast for 40 years at the Commerce Restaurant. He delighted in being the first to try a new restaurant.
He had a thing for unusual hats.
In 1982, he was awarded the New Orleans Ad Club’s Silver Medal Award. In 1994, he was inducted into the Louisiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He was honored as a YLC Role Model in 1996. He was co-chairman of the United Way annual fund drive in 1999. He was featured in the 2009 book How They Did It: Profiles of New Orleans Entrepreneurs.
There will be a visitation at 9:00 a.m. and funeral service at 10:15 a.m. at Touro Synagogue, 4238 St. Charles Ave. New Orleans, La. Afterwards, there will be a private graveside service and interment at Hebrew Rest #3. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to WYES or The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. To view and sign the family guestbook, or to leave a Peter story or joke, visit lakelawnmetairie.com.