Publisher Margo DuBos faces the unpacking to be done with a positive spirit.
Moving day isn’t usually a happily anticipated occasion. But last Friday was different: the staff of Gambit Weekly moved operations back to their Mid-City New Orleans office after spending more than five months exiled in a cramped temporary office in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie.
“Overall, we’re just thrilled. Some things still don’t work, but we don’t care,” says Publisher Margo DuBos. “This part of the city is still struggling, but every day, something good happens. I just can’t believe it’s been seven months since the storm and that more hasn’t happened.”
Unlike New Orleans, Gambit has come a long way. The paper resumed publication on November 1, 2005, and is now at “70 to 80 percent” of its pre-Katrina ad volume and content, DuBos says. Recent issues have approached the pre-storm average of 80 pages, and the April 4 restaurant guide was a whopping 104 pages.
Gambit is also hiring more staff, a sure sign of regrowth. The paper has four open positions; once filled, the staff will total 29 full-time employees. There were 52 full-time employees before Katrina.
One newly opened position is for a receptionist — the paper didn’t need one in the temporary office, because “everyone was in three rooms,” DuBos says. Gambit is also hiring an arts & entertainment editor to replace David Lee Simmons, who has been promoted to managing editor, as well as a graphic designer and an advertising account executive.
Even as they unpack, the staff hasn’t lost focus on next week’s issue, an election special. “This election is for the future of our city, and everyone feels that,” DuBos says about the voting that will take place Saturday, April 22. As a result of the unusual interest in the election, the paper is covering — and has sold ads to — more candidates in more races than usual.
“I’m really glad to be in the business that we’re in. All these stories are happening that are critically important to write about,” DuBos says. “I think that despite everything, there are people who would trade places with me to be here in the middle of it. Years from now, we’ll be reading about this stuff in the history books.”
For updates on former Gambit employees, click here.