New Orleans prides itself on history and traditions, and we thought we'd share some of ours.
Miss Crescent City New Orleans, in its present incarnation, began in 1999. Executive Director Margaret Gajewski, then a flight attendant for TWA and American Airlines, worked from New Orleans and wanted to give back to the city she loved. She started the pageant on her own that year.
Business Manager and Webmaster Hollie Domiano joined the effort the next year. She and Margaret met through the Miss America Community Hall, and, to paraphrase one of Hollie's favorite movies, Casablanca: it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. In 2003, doors opened for Hollie when the Miss Louisiana Organization offered her the position of state webmaster, for which she won several awards. She has since written a book, Myths America: A Practical Guide to Pageantry and produces a podcast called Adventures in Pageantry.
One of our biggest challenges was the evacuation and return from Hurricane Katrina. A mere forty-eight hours prior to the storm's landfall, we held our pageant at First Unitarian Universalist Church. As church staff and volunteers monitored the storm's path, we quickly scrambled to finish and select our new title holders.
Katrina's aftermath saw First Church, as they call themselves, suffer damage from six feet of flooding. Restoration and rebuilding took about a year and a half.
As New Orleans rebuilt after the floods, so has Miss Crescent City New Orleans. Like the city itself, our program is strong and resilient, and we are proud to call it home.