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Errol Laborde

Michelle Miller was one of our People to Watch in 1995, which, incredibly, is now 15 years removed. At the time, Miller was a weekend anchor and reporter for WWL-TV Channel 4, but there was something about her that said she would be going places quickly. “Life is not a destination, it’s a journey,” she said as part of her profile interview.

Her television career would continue, though she would also come to be known in another role: Five years later Miller was pictured on the cover of this magazine hugging the mayor. The cover line of the October 2000 issue read, “The First Couple at Home in Mid-City.” By then known socially as Michelle Miller Morial, she was the city’s new first lady. Her marriage to Mayor Marc Morial was one of the largest nuptials in the city’s history. The crowd at the St. Louis Cathedral overflowed toward Jackson Square. At the wedding reception the expected turnout was so big that slices of wedding cake were handed out already packaged in small boxes.

Curiously, for all the hometown glitter, the Morials would become the only modern first couple not to live in New Orleans after their reign. (We’ll see about the Nagins.) They live in New York City where he serves as president of the National Urban League and she works for CBS. Michelle Miller is still on TV; still being watched.

We will concede that there were two other members of our “Class of ’95” about whom we were absolutely correct in saying they should be watched, though for different reasons than we had in mind; one was a young filmmaker who staged lavish parties around town to promote his work. We last saw his name listed several years ago in a bail bondman’s most wanted ad. Another was a computer whiz who was dazzling with his vision of technology and the future. Unfortunately he’s now under indictment and his more immediate future includes a federal trial and whatever future that brings.

There are some on the list whose star continues to twinkle; actors John “Spud” McConnell (who would have a second career in radio) and Bryan Batt (who would achieve an extra bout of fame in “Mad Men”). Then there was the real estate developer whose vision included creating a museum near Lee Circle. His name: Roger Ogden.

One 1995er has gone full circle. Cedric Grant, at the time a highly praised Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the city whose responsibilities included overseeing capital projects, has retuned to city hall as Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure and Community Development. Also back on Perdido Street is Nannette V. Jolivette Brown, praised in ’95 as the city’s new director of the Department of Sanitation, she’s now City Attorney and, in her new capacity, part of this year’s “People to Watch.”

Others are still waiting for discovery. I close by wandering whatever happened to The Boondoggles, a band that in 1995 had recently performed in a Mountain Dew radio commercial. Their most recent album had been entitled Every Dog Has Its Day. For them, we hope, that day is coming soon.

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