For the past 27-plus years, we had the great honor of owning Gambit. Throughout that time, we strived always to keep Gambit true to its original mission of speaking truth to power while highlighting New Orleans' unique arts, entertainment, cultural and political scenes. It was great fun, but now it's time to pass the baton to Gambit's fourth owner — Capital City Press LLC, publisher of The Advocate newspaper. We do so with many fond memories and great optimism for Gambit's future.
Gambit was founded in December 1980 by writer- editor Gary Esolen and former Vieux Carre Courier publisher Philip Carter. In those early years, Gambit burnished its reputation as a take-no-prisoners observer of local news and politics. Five years later, Virginia-based Landmark Communications Inc. bought Gambit. Landmark, a family-owned media giant that once owned The Weather Channel as well as daily and weekly newspapers, brought needed business structure and a deep reservoir of resources to the fledgling company.
When we bought Gambit with local investors in 1991, it marked a return to local ownership. In the ensuing decades, Gambit covered the rise and fall of David Duke and Edwin Edwards, the onset of casino gaming, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, too many political scandals to count, the BP oil disaster, New Orleans' ongoing struggles to create a safe and sustainable city that offers economic opportunity to all its citizens — and every aspect of local arts, entertainment and culture. We created the Big Easy Entertainment Awards to recognize the best of local music, theater and classical arts; and we entered the world of digital publishing with our bestofnew- orleans.com website.
These are exciting — and challenging — times for journalists, particularly those who work in local media. Although we no longer own Gambit, we're both still active in its operations. Clancy will continue writing the Politics column he has penned since 1981, and Margo will continue helping with sales and marketing strategies. As we move with Gambit into this next phase of local ownership and additional resources, we are reminded of Gambit's Commentary announcing the paper's acquisition by Landmark in 1985: "More than ever before, we can look at Gambit and know how secure it will be and how solid its future is in New Orleans."