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Into the Future

New Orleans Magazine People to Watch 2011

(page 4 of 4)

Rebecca Rebouche
Artist and Owner, Rebecca Rebouche Studio

Creating art comes naturally to Rebecca Rebouche, artist and owner of her eponymous studio. “Making honest and magical work, collaborating with people and companies that I admire and sharing this work with like-minded people who feel inspired and energized by it,” says Rebouche, is both her dream and her reality. In just the last year she has juried two shows, had her work chosen by national retailer Anthropologie (you might have seen her New Orleans “family tree” painting in their local store) and served as muse for local knitwear line LiaMolly. Also, her spring collection of 40 pieces sold out in less than a week.

In addition, Rebouche recently opened a new showroom on the corner of Dryades and General Taylor streets in an old corner store called “The Beauty Shop,” where she will hold her debut show on Oct. 8. She also looks forward to using her work to give back to her community.

Mark Romig
CEO, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation

Since June, Mark Romig has been CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, which is a perfect fit for a born-and-raised New Orleanian (his father, Jerry, is the long-time announcer for the Saints) who feels passionately about the city and its culture. His job, essentially, is to convince tourists to come to New Orleans and experience its varied cultural splendor. But on a local level, he must foster jobs and economic growth, which also depend on the tourism industry.

In the short term, he says, “We are doing that by working collaboratively with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association and other hospitality organizations to increase the occupancy levels and general tourism activity.” Romig’s easygoing demeanor and warm smile are assets to his career – he’s at once both engaging and excited about his new role. Looking forward into 2012, Romig says it will be a “banner year” for the city. “From the annual Sugar Bowl and the BCS National Championship to the Final Four, the Bicentennial of Tremé, the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the Star Spangled Banner/Navy Week, added to our wonderful Mardi Gras, French Quarter Festival, New Orleans Food & Wine Experience …” he continues. “In the meantime,” he says, “Our job will be to continue to market the city nationwide with one voice to the consumer, and make it as easy as ‘1-2-3’ to find us, book us, and stay with us year-round.”

Sally Kenney
Executive Director, Newcomb College Institute, Tulane University; Newcomb College Endowed Chair; and Professor of Political Science

Executive director of Newcomb College Institute at Tulane University, Sally Kenney’s 34-page curriculum vitae hardly scratches the service of her drive and mission, “I am passionate about women’s equality and helping women achieve their full potential as individuals and by mobilizing together as a group.” She is a professor of political science; has served as a professor of public affairs and law and director of the Center on Women and Public Policy at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesot. She has her Ph.D. from Princeton; has served as a consultant to Congress (including four Congressional reports); has received more than 30 grants and more than 20 honors, awards, fellowships and scholarships; has written three books; and had more than 40 articles and 9 book chapters published. Then there is her nonprofit work, her guest lectures and talks and so much more.

Kenney, who is married to Norman Foster, CFO for the City of New Orleans, is currently completing a book on gender and judging and is looking forward to “ballroom dancing, birding, reading and getting to know the women judges of Louisiana and Newcomb’s alumnae.”

Bill Siegel
Executive News Director, WWL-TV

A fascination with history brought Bill Siegel, Executive News Director at WWL-TV, to news, “It’s been said that journalism is the first rough draft,” Siegel says. “We get the opportunity to record the events that impact everyone in our community. Also, TV newsrooms are a lot of fun.”

Before moving to New Orleans to work at WWL, Siegel and his wife lived in Milwaukee, Wisc., where he was assistant news director at WISN-TV. “My wife, Claire Stewart, is Australian and the New Orleans climate is a lot more her style than Milwaukee,” he says. And, “we’re excited by the culture and diversity of New Orleans.”

Siegel was “well aware” of WWL’s history and “tradition of excellence and success” before he applied for his current position – one he takes very seriously. He credits his president and general manager, Bud Brown, and his co-workers, for his easy adjustment to the city and looks forward to developing new media initiatives. 

Jermaine L. Smith
Development Associate, United Negro College Fund

Jermaine L. Smith moved to New Orleans in 2008 searching for a calling. In May of this year he found it: As Development Associate for the United Negro College Fund, he’s making an impact in Greater New Orleans through research, writing and community building. (He also found another calling and married soon-to-be Dr. Megan Jessica Holt this past July.) In addition, Smith has begun working with numerous local nonprofits as an independent consultant to strengthen their strategies for security funding, applying for 501(c)(3) status and more.

Smith received a proclamation from the city as a founding member of the Asset Building Coalition of Southeast Louisiana, which provides education on financial literacy, as well as tax services, to low-income clients throughout the region. “The program now serves thousands,” Smith says, “and seeing it grow from an idea to an impactful program in just two years has put me in awe of what our community can accomplish.”

Camille Whitworth
Co-Owner, Sno-ball Baby New Orleans and Anchor, WDSU

Camille Whitworth is an assignment reporter and anchor for WDSU; she spends her days dogging sources and then scrambling back to the studio for evening broadcasts. Oh, and she also makes snowballs. She is co-owner of Sno-ball Baby, which – for now – acts as a catering service. “Eventually, I want to have a storefront,” Whitworth says. “I am currently looking for a location.”

A veteran of television news in Kentucky, South Carolina and now Louisiana, Whitworth has “deep New Orleans roots” – her mother, aunts, uncles and cousins all lived (and still live) here.

While her passion runs more to reporting than it does to making snowballs, she recognizes that “being part of a New Orleans tradition is priceless, and seeing the smiles on people’s faces is immeasurable.” Whitworth is currently tinkering with new recipes (including a “stuffed” snowball around a scoop of ice cream) and wants to eventually franchise her business around the South.

Wayne Turnbull
Chairman, Turnbull Bakeries

In June, the historic New Orleans-based company, Turnbull Bakeries, best known for its production of the original Melba toast, resumed operation after a year-long shutdown. Started in 1907, the company is quickly moving into the post-Hurricane Katrina renaissance, helmed by Wayne Turnbull, who was introduced to the bakery business by his parents when he was just 19 years old. “I did everything from driving a forklift, loading trucks, learning to bake and, later, inventing machinery and installing production lines,” he recalls. With his well-rounded background, Turnbull says that the best part of his job overseeing the company’s re-invention is the creative aspect of it. “I like inventing machinery, creating processes and creating unique solutions to meet customers’ needs,” he says. “I also like developing people and watching them grow with the company.” Among the people who will be working with him are his two daughters, Katy and Whitney.

The Turnbull label will be marketed in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast region. Along with the continuous production of Melba toast, Turnbull Bakeries will create biscuits. And while baked goods are always enjoyable, the company is also boosting the economy: Turnbull Bakeries plans to create new jobs and provide goods to national private-label accounts.

Mark Slessinger
Head Coach, Men’s Basketball, University of New Orleans

A career basketball coach who also played during his undergraduate days at Aurora University in Illinois, Slessinger was tapped to take over as head coach of men’s basketball at the University of New Orleans from his previous post at Northwestern State University, a job he held for over a decade.

“I am living my childhood dream of being a college basketball coach,” says Slessinger. “It is what I have wanted to do since I was in elementary school.” Besides UNO and Northwestern, Slessinger has also coached at his alma mater, Aurora, as well as Central Michigan University and Northland Pioneer College in Arizona.

“My long-term goal is to help rebuild a basketball program at UNO that competes at a national level,” says Slessinger. He adds that, “The greatest measure of your effect on student-athletes isn’t your season record. It is after their playing career is over and they are in the community and workforce.”

Patrick Van Hoorebeek
Creator and General Manager, Patrick’s Bar Vin

Many may recognize Patrick Van Hoorebeek’s friendly face from his days as a maître d’ at the Bistro at Maison De Ville, where he worked for 18 years before going on to other notable restaurants, including the Rib Room and August.

Over the summer, Van Hoorebeek, who says his favorite thing in life is “meeting people,” opened up Patrick’s Bar Vin on Bienville Street, situated in the French Quarter just steps away from Galatoire’s and other luminary landmarks for the bon vivants of the world. “I want to make this the ultimate libations destination in New Orleans,” he says. The bar is elegant yet unpretentious – much like the Belgian-born Van Hoorebeek himself – and offers small plates to complement the extensive wine list, beer selection and the cocktail menu. Says Van Hoorebeek: “I like to uncork a fine bottle of wine – it turns strangers into friends and friends into family.”


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