Readers, Advertisers and Friends Share What 30 Years of The New Orleans Tribune Means to Them
Paul Beaulieu, Media Professional
Retired General Manager Of WBOK 1230 AM
Thirty years ago, in the mid 1980’s my good friends, Dr. Dwight McKenna and Beverly McKenna, founded The New Orleans Tribune. Mayor Earnest “Dutch” Morial was winding down his second term as mayor of New Orleans. New Orleans media outlets (with the exceptions of The Louisiana Weekly and Data News Weekly) were more conservative then.
A Black perspective in the daily newspapers as well as electronic media operations was moderate, if present at all.
So the birth of The New Orleans Tribune significantly bolstered the presence of a Black perspective in local media.
The Tribune burst upon the scene with a classy, modern look featuring strong editorial content. The monthly news magazine also featured (and continues to do so) positive articles on all segments of the Black community.
But perhaps the most salient feature of The Tribune is its unapologetic stance and position on issues that affect African-Americans. Yet another (often overlooked) feature of The Tribune is its ability to provide a platform and showcase for some of New Orleans most talented journalists, photographers and cartoonists. These African American journalists are able to ply their craft boldly, honestly and without fear of repercussions for voicing their perspective.
The McKenna family, over the past 30 years, has made a major contribution to professional journalism in New Orleans. We should all recognize the importance of that contribution.
Lloyd Dennis, Photographer and Mentor,
The Silverback Society
Until recently, New Orleans was a one daily newspaper monopoly, with a publication that rarely shed anything but negative light about Black people in New Orleans, unless perhaps you were an athlete or entertainer. Its perspectives were from the “old money” point of view that held in disdain the rise of black activism and political power.
The New Orleans Tribune from the beginning filled that gap and helped us see ourselves in a positive and powerful light, featuring movers and shakers and accomplishment in our own community, while also consistently chiding and urging us to support our institutions, businesses and culture. While The Tribune earned our respect, it garnered the disdain of powerful forces for shining the light in dark places, influencing change in the ‘ole boy’ ways of the Crescent City. It does all these things with an unapologetic independence.
On a personal note, it created the opportunity for myself and other African American photographers to increase our business by exposing our skills in the cover and feature photography of The Tribune. And while the men and the work of the Silverback Society’s award-winning mentoring program has yet to receive an inch of press in a daily, we’ve been featured and supported in many ways by The New Orleans Tribune. I can’t imagine New Orleans or Lloyd Dennis of today without it!
Eugene Green, Jr., Businessman, Nationwide Real Estate Corp.
As a business owner who has worked hard to win increasingly more business in this city and region, I appreciate The New Orleans Tribune’s unabashed support of making opportunities to do business available to especially African American-owned business enterprises in our city, region, and state. Yes, both government and the private sector have responsibilities to work to overcome the societal challenges created by hundreds of years of low participation by African Americans in the economic mainstream of this society. The New Orleans Tribune helps to remind and to motivate.
The Tribune, through its articles, its editorials, its publishing of The BlackBook, its e-mail marketing and its website, its advertising of bid opportunities, and its providing of competitively priced advertising space, has helped many business owners to win more business. As important, The Tribune has helped business owners and entrepreneurs to stay focused on the continuing need to overcome historic disparities. At the same time, The New Orleans Tribune has alerted government agencies and firms in the mainstream of our economy to the fact that there are qualified, motivated African American-owned business enterprises that are ready and able to help them to complete their projects and to generate profits on their investments.
‘Things’ are getting better. While there is certainly continuing work to be done, it is important to note that increasing numbers of African American entrepreneurs and business owners are investing in projects and in business enterprises that generate economic opportunities for themselves and their families. They also invest in and employ the citizens of our community. It is great to have The New Orleans Tribune as a voice and a vehicle that supports and celebrates success, and that insists on economic growth and opportunity for our community.
Thank you, publishers Dr. Dwight and Beverly McKenna and the motivated staff of The New Orleans Tribune. Happy 30th Anniversary! I look forward to the next 30 years and beyond of your saying what must be said when it must be said, and supporting our own!
Troy Henry, Businessman, Henry Consulting
Congratulations on turning 30 years old! The Tribune is an important institution in the New Orleans information landscape. We can rely on The Tribune for truthful reporting and opinions that usually reflect the sentiment of the majority of the population. The Tribune is a truly treasured asset of this community.
In the past, I have been profiled, reported on, and politically endorsed by The Tribune. And, I can always say that The Tribune and its staff’s motivation is rooted in one common objective – and that is to properly inform and educate the New Orleans region’s Black community. That is a mission that we should all applaud. Thank you Tribune and please keep up the great work.
It is a pleasure to wish The New Orleans Tribune a happy birthday. It is not often one gets to say happy birthday to a truth teller in the media. In fact it is difficult in New Orleans to see, hear or even smell truth in the media. The Tribune has been and still is the access to truth for the African-American community and anybody else who cares to know the truth. I am so proud to be considered a member of The Tribune family. The efforts of The Tribune to keep us enlightened is remarkable and I know this work has come at a great cost. I know how difficult it is to tell the truth to and about African-Americans and not pay a price. The Tribune has proven over and over again, that it will not bow down or bend over. Thank you Tribune, my people continue to need you and your courage, happy birthday and I pray many more.
Mark Roudane, Great-great-grandson of Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, founder of the original New Orleans Tribune
The New Orleans Tribune, America’s first Black daily newspaper, defiantly vowed to “spare no means at our command” to achieve racial equality. It was one of the most politically active, sophisticated, and influential newspapers of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. The Tribune’s program, articulated in print and manifested in social protest, anticipated events 100 years later and forged the first sustained Civil Rights movement in United States history. In spite of all the gains, the despicable heritage of slavery and unrepentant Jim Crow racism is alive and well in America.
Thankfully the modern New Orleans Tribune has emerged to promote justice and equality. In the protest tradition of the original newspaper, today’s Tribune steadfastly and courageously confronts difficult issues and promotes solutions to the racial disparities all around us. Congratulations to The New Orleans Tribune, 30 years strong and “Still in the Fight!”
Raynard Sanders, Retired Educator & Education Advocate
In 1985 The New Orleans Tribune began publishing a monthly newspaper with a mission to serve as a trusted voice for New Orleans, offering news and information from a perspective not found in the city’s mainstream media. Unknown to many of us at the time, The New Orleans Tribune was name after a historic newspaper launched in1864 by Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez which served as a catalyst to end slavery and secure racial equality. Dr. Roudanez’s Tribune galvanized New Orleans and the nation to push back against the evils of racism, which led to numerous acts of defiance and protest by Americans seeking to end inequitable policies and practice and full citizenship for everyone.
Today’s New Orleans Tribune has continued this most noble work. It has been steadfast and strong in highlighting the disenfranchisement of poor and minority communities. At every turn, The New Orleans Tribune has given to the citizens of New Orleans news through the needed lens of equity.
Congratulations and thanks for 30 years on enlightenment.
Brenda Billips Square, Archivist, Librarian and UCC Minister
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8 RSV
For 30 years, The New Orleans Tribune has been a consistent voice for justice, democracy and equality for poor, marginalized and forgotten citizens of New Orleans. Thank you for confronting the forces of oppression. Thank you for calling on those in authority to be just and to do right. As a unique resource for researchers, scholars and historians, The Tribune has also documented all aspects of African American life, culture and history—connecting past truths to present realities, making it an important source of empowerment and hope. Thank you for celebrating our cultural heritage, defending our rights and resisting the forces of injustice. As a champion for the people, we are eternally grateful for your service and commitment to African American history, heritage and hope. May God’s richest blessings keep you strong as you fulfill your calling in the spirit of the prophet Micah, who reminds us of our obligation to do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with God.
Tracie Washington, Attorney, Businesswoman, Activist
The New Orleans Tribune was born the year I graduated college. I did not return to live in New Orleans until 1998, and so I missed the first 13 years of the your monthly journal. When I returned home to practice law, it was through The Tribune that I was able to reconnect fully with this city of my birth. While our city’s daily journal provided one perspective on city events, it was from The Tribune that I became engaged (please placed engaged in bold). No doubt, as a then young Single mom, busy with a law practice and all the ancillary tasks that occupy majority firm life, I could have disconnected from the Black community, ignoring the social issues and institutionalize do racism that torments our community. My father and, most certainly Beverly McKenna and the fearless editor Anitra Brown of The Tribune, allowed me to embrace social justice comfortably, and as a proud member of Nola’s motley crew of advocates fighting for the rights of all our residents denied the full wealth of opportunities this city offers.
Thank you for 30 Years of Truth.