Executive Director Carol Gniady’s lifelong love for her hometown, New Orleans, drives her passion for history and preservation. She grew up in Carrollton and moved to the Faubourg Marigny in 2004, where she lives today in an 1850’s Italianate side hall.
She has always had a deep appreciation for New Orleans history, architecture, and culture and she became interested in preservation advocacy soon after Hurricane Katrina when development began encroaching on the Marigny neighborhood, which is designated a historic district by the Historic District Landmarks Commission. She volunteered for the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association (FMIA) and chaired the Home Tour and Publicity Committees, raising awareness for both the Marigny’s beautiful architecture as well as the threats facing the neighborhood, particularly problems associated with illegal short-term rentals. Volunteering with FMIA opened up other advocacy opportunities and she was invited to join the Short-Term Rental Committee, which is comprised of citywide constituents from neighborhood associations, members of the Professional Innkeepers Association, and other interested parties collaborating to address this growing concern. The committee is actively working now on communications regarding pending City Council action that will produce an ordinance regulating and taxing short-term rentals, expected to be in place for January 1, 2017.
By volunteering with the Short-Term Rental Committee, Carol was introduced to French Quarter Citizens, a residential advocacy group working to maintain the quality of life, architectural integrity and historic character of the fragile French Quarter neighborhood. The organization was seeking an executive director and she was hired into the position in 2014. Her responsibilities included leading advocacy efforts, representing French Quarter Citizens in meetings with city and state officials, and participating at public meetings including New Orleans City Council, City Planning Commission, Vieux Carré Commission, VCC Architecture Committee, Historic District Landmarks Commission, and others. This year, she was instrumental in coordinating legislative outreach efforts that produced Senate Resolutions to study fee structures for municipal violations and legal standing for neighborhood organizations, and three House Bills to create a taxing structure for Short-Term Rentals, one of which has become law and another is in process.
Additionally, she established relationships across neighborhood boundaries to broaden involvement and communications for important issues affecting the French Quarter and beyond including short-term rentals, proposed development of the New Orleans Downtown Riverfront, and changes to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance that threaten neighborhoods and residential quality of life. Through this outreach she met and worked with some of Louisiana Landmarks Society’s committee members, particularly on the recent “Save the French Quarter, Protect the Master Plan” project, and other shared advocacy initiatives.
Carol has prior experience in non-profit management, communications, and consulting. Prior to working for French Quarter Citizens she was an independent management consultant for select clients and previously served for thirteen years as Executive Director, Public Relations and Marketing for Delgado Community College. While at Delgado, she produced national award-winning strategic communications including an economic impact study that quantified a Delgado education’s value in graduates’ earnings and their support for key business sectors in New Orleans. Another national recognition was for a comprehensive year-long communications program celebrating the college’s 90th Anniversary in 2011. One of her proudest achievements is securing a New Orleans Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution commemorative marker for the City Park Campus, the site of a major Higgins Boat manufacturing facility during World War II, and recognizing the role Delgado men and women had in producing what President Eisenhower called “the boats that won the war.”
Prior to working for Delgado, she served on the board of directors and subsequently, was Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society, from 1996 to 2000, helping establish the New Orleans Film Festival as the state’s premiere film industry event. Carol started her career in broadcasting, working as a producer for radio stations WQUE/WGSO, and also as Creative Services writer/producer at WWL-TV. She holds a Master’s degree in Organization and Management from Capella University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Loyola University New Orleans, and is a licensed tour guide. She has a longstanding interest in real estate and plans to restore a 100 year old shot gun double in her old Carrollton neighborhood.