NON-FICTION For anyone who has ever wondered about the story behind New Orleans’ often historically, sometimes colorfully and occasionally whimsically-named streets, Hope & New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names is your new best resource. Author, historian and photographer Sally Asher weaves together the tall tales, seedy underbelly, political battles, art and culture […]
We present here our annual class of top female achievers, any one of whom could have made the list in previous years. As is our tradition, in presenting our achievers we not only honor them but also hope to learn from them as they reveal mentors and offer advice. Our city is richer because of […]
In May, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed legislation banning the sale of electronic cigarettes and other tobacco alternatives to people under the age of 18. The bill by state Sen. Rick Gallot, D-Ruston, merged the gap in the law regarding new alternatives to tobacco and nicotine products, including e-cigarettes. The legislation passed unanimously in both the […]
Several years ago I was at a breakfast where the then-French Ambassador to the United States was the center of attention. Over a selection of breads that certainly reflected frugality in the French entertainment budget, the ambassador received questions. Most were business-like queries about trade and commerce, but as the morning wore on and the […]
Given that the focus of this column is generally on new and changing restaurants, the July issue should present a real challenge. But this is New Orleans in 2014, and finding new restaurants to cover is less difficult than it might otherwise be, even during the hot months when the industry generally slows down. Speaking […]
Square Root to Offer Abbreviated Eight- to Nine-Course Menu 1800 Magazine St., 309-7800, SquareRootNola.com Chef Phillip Lopez’s newly opened Square Root restaurant in the Lower Garden District will offer a $95 eight- to nine-course tasting menu on Tuesdays through Thursdays. The original 12- to 15-course menu will continue on Fridays and Saturdays. “The smaller menu […]
Our two main features this month are Top Female Achievers and Best New Restaurants. There was a time when a German transplant named Elizabeth Kettenring could have won both awards in the same year. The only problem, at least for the life of this magazine, is that the year would have been 1863. And while […]
New Orleans East will receive a portion of the $105 Million BP settlement awarded to coastal communities affected by the oil disaster, a settlement which will increase access to healthcare for Gulf Coast residents. The initiative will be led by the Alliance Institute, Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training and the New Orleans East Louisiana Community […]
Amazon.com recently expanded its Sunday delivery service to 15 cities, including New Orleans. The original Sunday delivery service, which began last November, only included New York and Los Angeles. “We’re pleased to be delivering more packages on Sunday and just allowing the shippers and customers to appreciate the benefits of U.S. Mail,” says U.S. Postal […]
As Cameron Jordan is walking into the building where I will interview him, a woman walking her large gray poodle is also entering. The poodle immediately gravitates toward the Saints defensive end, and soon I’m treated to the adorable image of this hulking football player and fluffy dog interacting. “Are you afraid of poodles?” the […]
When many people think of the south, especially New Orleans, they think of those sprawling manses housing gorgeous antiques. But as it turns out, the South doesn’t get as much credit as other places do for their contributions to the decorative arts world. The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) hopes to correct that with its […]
Aimée Hayes vividly remembers the first time she stepped on a stage.
“I was 8 years old and I was playing the role of the evil stepmother in Cinderella,” says the native New Orleanian. “I remember getting my first big laugh from the audience. It was at that moment I just knew – this was the thing I was meant to do.”
While still in high school, Hayes branched out into directing.
“I love the storytelling aspect of theatre and I guess, as a director I thought I could have control in a broader way,” she says. “I could create that visual landscape. I could sculpt an entire world and how it sounded, looked and felt.”
Since 2008, Hayes has been sculpting other worlds in her role as the producing artistic director for Southern Rep – New Orleans’ only year-round professional theatre. Hayes is responsible for choosing the season’s performances and overseeing production, along with the Rep’s extensive arts and education program.
More than 10,000 people come to see one of the four to six plays offered at Southern Rep each year. Hayes says she’s particularly proud that typically at least one play each season is from a local play write.
“Some of those plays go on to be performed all over the country,” she adds.
During the upcoming 2014-’15 season, Southern Rep will take its local focus to the limit with an entire season of plays by or about New Orleanians.
“We’re presenting this new play called Boudin: The New Orleans Music Project, where we’ll start by asking everyday people the question, ‘How has New Orleans music saved my soul?’” Hayes says. “These personal stories will then be performed along with local music. It’s going to be a rocking, funky, fabulous evening at the theatre.”
While she says she can’t imagine doing anything other than her current position, Hayes says that, like most in her industry people, finding success in the theatre was a long road.
She is particularly proud of the Rep’s YO NOLA (Youth Onstage New Orleans) program. This free after-school program runs in partnership with Success Preparatory Academy, a charter school in the Tremé-Lafitte neighborhood.
After graduating from Loyola University with a bachelor’s degree in English, she eventually moved to New York for a time before returning to finish a master’s of fine arts in directing from Tulane University.
Within those years, like many theatre people, Hayes held down a lot of odd jobs to support her creative goals.
“I had a lot of suit jobs in marketing and fundraising and sales and such for years,” Hayes says. “I’d work during the day and go direct at night.”
Throughout those years, Hayes never lost focus. Her reward has been securing a job she loves in a city that loves live theatre.
New Orleanians love a good story,” she says. “We love to tell them through our music and our visual arts, and of course what could be more exciting then seeing them brought to life on a stage.”
mentor: (The late) Buzz Podewell, head of the directing program at Tulane University. He really taught me how to trust myself and to always have a sense of humor about what we do.
defining moment: I guess it has to be the decision to leave New York and come home. That was in January of 2005, not long before Katrina. I wanted to spend time with my family and finish my master’s degree, but I wound up finding myself more connected to my field here than I ever was in New York.
advice for young women: Wow, I could fill a book with that. I’ve given a lot of speeches to young women about different things, but I think what I’d say is really important right now is the idea of economic equality between men and women. It’s definitely something we all have to work toward. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to ask for more.
goals: I’d have to say that right now, everything is how I’d want it to be.
favorite thing about what I do: I have so much fun. It’s so amazing getting to collaborate with a group of artists. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather do.