As we reflect back on the past 25 years, our minds go to two places at once. This anniversary issue marks a wonderful occasion and presents a great excuse to look back fondly at our early days as a struggling new voice in New Orleans. At the same time, there's no escaping the struggles pressed on us today by a host of post-Katrina realities. After 25 years, we find ourselves in circumstances that are remarkably similar to those that defined our fledgling era. Back then, Gambit had a small but resilient staff that worked long hours to bring a much-needed voice to New Orleans. In the wake of Katrina, we have returned to our roots. Only this time, our voice is a familiar one. Moreover, we feel more connected than ever to you, our readers and advertisers, because you have given us such a warm welcome back after Katrina shut us down for nine weeks. Since our return on Nov. 1 All Saints Day, an important spiritual and cultural holiday in New Orleans we have tried to do our part to help individuals and businesses get back on their feet. Throughout its existence, Gambit has stubbornly believed in New Orleans. That will never change.
Another thing that hasn't changed is our mission to provide New Orleans with an alternative voice. The Times-Picayune is a much better newspaper today than it was in 1981, but it's still a monopoly -- and therefore the need for an alternative remains as great as ever. As you read the pages that follow, we hope you will be as pleased as we have been to recall the wide array of stories and insights brought to you over the years first, if not exclusively, by Gambit.
Our commitment to our mission remains unshakable. Part of the way we express it is to celebrate things uniquely New Orleans, which we have done since 1988 through the Big Easy Entertainment Awards. This year's awards show had to be canceled because of Katrina, but it will return next year. Meanwhile, our pages mirror the vitality and richness of New Orleans' culture via our weekly coverage of local music, arts and theater. And so, in this issue, our arts and entertainment writers report on the many developments we have chronicled over the past 25 years.
If we could dedicate this issue to anyone, it would be to our heroic editors, writers, artists, sales reps, and business staffers for making our comeback possible. (See our staff photo on page 67.) In addition to our incredibly loyal employees, we also thank the many freelancers, photographers and contributors who have made this journey with us. With equal affection, we miss our former colleagues who couldn't return after Katrina or who moved on before the storm. We proudly feature the reminiscences of four former Gambit editors as part of our anniversary package.
Looking ahead, we promise to continue the most fundamental mission that any newspaper can serve: to print the truth and raise hell. We vow to fight to retain every morsel of New Orleans' unique architecture, culture and heritage. Ours is not just one of America's great cities, it is one of the world's greatest treasures. For the past six months, we have been blessed to have found temporary quarters in Metairie. Jefferson Parish's quick rebound after Katrina has been a beacon for us all, and we are thankful for the warm welcome we received there.
Very soon, we will be "returning home" to our Mid-City offices. The thought of being back in the city during this exciting period of recovery fills us with hope. We promise never to lose our passion for New Orleans. At times it will show itself as unbridled optimism; on other occasions it will reflect the fire in the eyes and bellies of a citizenry that demands change. At all times it will promote opportunities for making ours an even better and more livable community.
- Clancy DuBos, Editor and Margo DuBos, Publisher