Photos by GREG MILES and JEFFERY JOHNSTON
Buzzy GaiEnnie and Michelle GaiEnnie
Michelle GaiEnnie lives in Uptown New Orleans, across the street from her parents’ home – the home in which her grandfather, mother and she grew up. Family ties are a top priority for the executive director of Grace House, the only all-women’s residential substance abuse program in the New Orleans area. Michelle started learning about drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment through her father Buzzy’s work at Bridge House when she was growing up. Today, Bridge House is a self-sufficient rehabilitation facility that provides treatment to men aged 18 and older without regard to ability to pay. “I actually remember in high school visiting my dad at Bridge House on Camp Street,” says Michelle. Buzzy, now chief executive officer of Bridge House, instilled in his daughters the importance of hard work and education. “It was very important to me that both my daughters have master’s degrees: Michelle in social work and [Dana] is a registered dietician,” Buzzy says. Bridge House recently relocated to a new location on Earhart Boulevard increasing its capacity by more than 100 beds. “This is really a dream come true for him,” Michelle says of her dad. “He made Bridge House what it is today.” Buzzy and Michelle’s mutual passion for New Orleans and for their work has brought both their family and businesses full circle– Grace House, now in its 25th year, will be expanding and relocating to the same location that was the original Bridge House on Camp Street. So now, Michelle sees her father nearly every day, whether at work or living across the street.
“That’s so New Orleans,” Michelle says.
Similarities: We’re both very dedicated to our jobs and to the clients that we work with. We’re very dedicated to the city of New Orleans and we’re moving forward in such a positive direction with Bridge House and Grace House.
Differences: I am very detail-oriented. Probably some of that comes from fundraising events at Grace House and Bridge House, which require many details, and also my work with the Sugar Bowl committee – planning events is such a detail-oriented job.
Similarities: I think the work we do obviously share a lot of those values. In working with your daughter you have to remember that it’s a dual role and you have to know what role you’re in – Is it the father or is it the boss?
Differences: She’s much more detailed than I am. I’m a somewhat of an intuitive manager rather than a detail person. She’s got good social skills that I don’t have – her work ethics are different from mine and there’s something to learn from that.
Juan Bustamante and LUCY Bustamante
Juan Bustamante immigrated to New Orleans from Cuba in 1969 after being a political prisoner of Fidel Castro for two years. He worked as a grocery store clerk and truck driver until 1979 when, after being taught how to sew and iron by his wife, he opened Fashion Tailors in Metairie, where he still works today at 82 years old. He has three children: Adrian, 50, the youngest pilot for United Airlines; Margaret, 45, manager of Fashion Tailors; and Lucy, 29, a television news anchor for WWL-TV. As she translates his interview from Spanish, she can’t help but choke up at many of his sentiments: how proud he is of her, how grateful he is to America and to New Orleans and how, as immigrants, New Orleans “took them in – in a way they feel like they’ll always have to repay.” Juan tears up as well when he speaks of the things Lucy has taught him, namely “her enthusiasm.” Lucy’s enthusiasm drove her to pursue a career in broadcast journalism after falling in love with it early in life. After a stint on the Our Generation teen show at WWL-TV with Sally Ann Roberts, she majored in communications at Loyola, specializing in broadcast journalism. After two years as a reporter and anchor at FOX10 News in Mobile, she landed a job back home as a reporter and anchor at WWL-TV in New Orleans, where she’s currently nighttime anchor. Lucy attributes much of her success to the honest work ethic instilled in her by her “Papi,” having grown up in the family business. “Every dinner was black beans and rice and a big side of a ‘preachy’ pep talk,” Lucy says. Ultimately, Lucy and Juan’s shared love of family and loyalty to their home city are what drive them to succeed – whether it be on the nightly news or in the family business.
Similarities: We’re both deep thinkers. We both like to look to the heart of any situation. We like to think about life, people, etc. and simply talk about it all.
Differences: He’s more patient than I am. And takes a really long time to get to the point of a story. I’m a little bolder in my reactions to things. But that could be a cultural difference too – I’m 29 and he’s 82.
Similarities: I’m going to feel proud when I say this: Many things – our personalities are alike. Our characters match. We can adjust if we have to get mad or excited; we change our tone as the situation arises.
Differences: She’s more hardworking than I am. (“No – I don’t agree,” Lucy interjects.) I’m more patient, but that’s just because I’m a dad. It’s necessary to be patient when you have three kids. My wife helped to balance the personalities.
Ken Carter and Karen Carter Peterson
Ken Carter and his daughter, State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, share many qualities: their interest in public service, their religious conviction (“His best advice? Keep God first,” Karen says) and their fiercely competitive love for Scrabble and Monopoly. “We both believe that we’re better than the other at the games,” Ken says. “We are a very competitive bunch,” Karen says. “35-, 40-, 45-year-olds get together after work and play hours upon hours of Monopoly. Intensely.” Ken, who was the first Black tax assessor in Louisiana, familiarized his daughter at an early age with public service and law. “I would work after school and during summers at the law firm,” Karen says of high school. “When I first ran for office, it certainly didn’t hurt to have a father with a good reputation from the same community.” Before winning a special election for a state senate seat Karen represented the 93rd district in the state House of Representatives, filling the seat left by Avery Alexander, Dutch Morial and Dorothy Mae Taylor. “They were all great civil rights leaders,” Karen says. “They were big shoes to fill, but I felt like I was well-prepared to take on some of the same challenges they took on – to give a voice to the voiceless. And my father had been doing that and trying not only to do the job that was laid out in the Constitution but also to serve the community in ways it hadn’t been served before.” Karen credits her parents and her Roman Catholic upbringing for much of her success, implementing the “Golden Rule” to her life and career. The connection and love the two feel is evident: during the photo shoot for this issue, Karen’s secretary called to her, “Hey, movie star!” and she responded without hesitation, “No, he’s the movie star.”
Karen Carter Peterson
Similarities: Our interest in public service is paramount. I think our strategic thinking skills, not just from law school. I believe some of it is innate. Everybody has their God-given talents. And I think we have the ability to really discern and grapple with problems and get quickly to solutions before others can. It’s a unique trait and characteristic that could be used for the betterment of the community and I try to do that and I think he has tried to do that. There are other good traits and characteristics that I get from my mother.
Differences: He is more measured in his response to issues and less emotional. (That’s my mother.) He will refrain from immediate comment and be more measured in his response to concerns that might have the same impact on him, but he’ll be a little more reserved before he offers his opinion, whereas I will immediately respond and sometimes I’ve made mistakes from doing that. I am very emotional and passionate. My moral compass, I believe, is pretty good and when I see something that disturbs it, I react quickly.
Similarities: We both love people. We find good in all people. Karen and I share a passion for fighting for the underdog. We sense our obligation to serve others having been blessed with good fortune (but not necessarily money). We are quick to challenge what we believe is misguided or insincere authority. We love debating major issues. We aren’t afraid to do things differently and try innovative approaches to problem solving. The unconventional doesn’t frighten us.
Differences: I’m more measured in my responses to controversial issues. Karen is more impetuous. I’m probably a better listener. But she gets more out of what she hears and acts immediately, effectively and forcefully to improve a friend’s or constituent’s circumstances or to solve one’s problem. That’s because she’s probably smarter than I am.
Edward “Kidd” Jordan AND Stephanie Jordan
Stephanie Jordan grew up in a musical family. Her father is renowned saxophonist and music teacher Edward “Kidd” Jordan; her mother, Edvidge, a pianist; her brother, Marlon, a trumpet player; her brother, Kent, a flutist; and her sister, Rachel, a violinist. Her brother, Ed Jr., also played saxophone; her sister, Christie, played flute; and her brother, Paul, played violin, though they didn’t play professionally. “My dad exposed us to the music of John Coltrane before we could read or write,” Stephanie says. “When I was very little I used to hug him and hold on like I was a saxophone – my arms were the neck strap and he would lift me up. My sisters and I would take turns.”
With a childhood so inundated with music, it comes as no surprise that Stephanie ultimately chose that field. After seeing Alvin Ailey perform as a child, her earliest dream was to become a dancer. After graduating from Howard University with a degree in communications and dance education, she worked in television and radio before quitting to become a full-time jazz singer. Her inspiration to sing came after seeing the late Lena Horne perform at the Saenger Theater. By following the advice of her musical father (“Sing in your own voice and learn to love your own voice.”), Stephanie has reached many career milestones: performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, collaborating with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, being named a New Orleans Magazine Jazz All-Star in 2008 and performing at the Kennedy Center, Central Park and at the Oprah Winfrey and Friends of Susan Taylor celebration. Stephanie aims, though, to remain as family-oriented as her father. “He’s played behind every great singer you could name, yet he’s so down to earth. I love that about my dad,” she says. Stephanie is even carrying on the family legacy with her son, Paul, one of Edward’s 12 grandchildren, who plays alto sax and studies with her father. “Living in New Orleans allows children more opportunities for exposure to cultural arts activities,” Edward says. “[Paul] must play his horn through high school,” she says. “In my family, cultural education and participation is mandatory.” And surely New Orleans will benefit from yet another generation of Jordan musicians.
Similarities: We both have strong personalities. We’re very creative and love to laugh at life.
Differences: I tend to compromise, while he does not.
Edward “Kidd” Jordan
Similarities: We both love music. We both have strong convictions about things.
Differences: I save money and she spends.