August of 2019 will mark the 35th anniversary of Bright Moments.
It has been 35 years since my friend and original partner, Kalamu ya Salaam and I watched an orange sun setting in a purple sky as we listened to Rasaan Roland Kirk carrying on about “Bright Moments” on the radio. We decided that would be a good name for a public relations and advertising company and thus began Bright Moments Public Relations and Marketing.
We each put up $750 dollars and opened our $1,500 dollar account at Liberty Bank, sub-let a one-room office from Lloyd Dennis, a photographer friend, and opened our doors for business.
Kalamu and I had worked together at The Black Collegian Magazine and had developed reputations for community activism over our first thirty plus years of lives in New Orleans.
Our very first client was the architectural firm of Hewitt and Washington, two young Black architects with vision and expertise. In short order, Bright Moments gained a reputation for being able to reach the local community through creative events promotion, quality collateral material and original broadcast promotions.
Bright Moments carved its first niche as effective political consultants for a variety of emerging Black politicians in New Orleans such as Bill Jefferson, Jim Singleton, Johnny Jackson, Oliver Thomas, Ken and Karen Carter, Sherman Copelin, and the late Dorothy Mae Taylor, often with the guidance of my mentor, the late Oretha Haley.
In 1986 we had the opportunity to provide marketing and PR services to Liberty Bank, the first African-American owned financial institution in Louisiana. Liberty Bank continues to be one of our anchor clients.
In 1991, Bright Moments was asked to introduce Larry Lundy and his Pizza Hut franchise – Lundy Enterprises – to the New Orleans community. During the decade of the 90’s, we provided Lundy with a wide variety of services including management of a multi-million dollar corporate giving program, grand opening events for 10 new Pizza Hut restaurants, management of the Lundy Enterprises local marketing program, and consultation in the acquisition of more than 20 new restaurants into the Lundy Enterprises franchise portfolio.
Throughout the 90’s and into the 21st Century, Bright Moments provided services to a wide variety of clients including successful campaigns for Bond Issues for the City of New Orleans and the Orleans Parish School Board to community outreach services for Entergy New Orleans, the local utility company. Bright Moments also produced a weekly one-hour television show called the “Liberty Network” and a weekly two-hour radio show, “Sunday Journal”, while continuing to provide political consulting services for a host of political candidates and marketing services for numerous businesses and government entities.
Bright Moments pioneered highly effective television spots for non-profit clients such as Total Community Action, Agenda for Children, and the Dryades YMCA for whom we managed a $5 million dollar building campaign, “Out of the Ashes: Hope”, following a fire which destroyed their building in 2000. We also created signature events such as Liberty Bank’s Ball In The Mall, the Support Our Schools citywide raffle, the New Orleans Black Heritage Festival, the SUNO Bash, and the Bruno & Tervalon 25th Anniversary Celebration.
August 29, 2005 changed everything. The flooding of New Orleans following Katrina’s devastation changed us all. As we set in a Houston hotel room, I told my wife Ethel – my life and new business partner – that I may have 15 good years left. We were going home and I would spend the rest of my life bringing people home and rebuilding New Orleans.
We retooled Bright Moments to be THE agency for outreach to New Orleanians with the capacity to provide a variety of communications and community development services. In the political arena, Bright Moments managed the reelection campaign for Mayor Ray Nagin who won despite a huge amount of money and propaganda lined up against him. We also worked in Mitch Landrieu’s successful Mayoral campaigns in 2010 and 2014. Just last year, Bright Moments provided a variety of services for the election of the first African-American female Mayor – LaToya Cantrell.
Bright Moments has provided services to many planning efforts to rebuild our city (The Bring New Orleans Back Commission – The Unified New Orleans Plan – The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority). We have developed outreach programs for displaced Louisiana residents working with the Louisiana Family Recovery Corps and PolicyLink. Bright Moments managed the communications and outreach services for the State Department of Education and the Orleans Parish School Board as we rebuild the New Orleans public school system. Fifty plus schools have been rebuilt or renovated since that program began in 2008.
Another niche area for Bright Moments has been the healthcare industry. We provide outreach and relocation assistance for the development of the Veteran’s Hospital and the University Medical Center, which included the evacuation of an entire neighborhood when the Plaza Hotel was imploded in downtown New Orleans. For the past three years, Bright Moments has provided marketing services for New Orleans East Hospital as the New Orleans East community continues to rebound.
Bright Moments is a very unique agency for some very extraordinary times. We are committed to rebuilding New Orleans with a keen sense of equity, compassion, and respect for the people who lived here and still want to come home. We will continue to work as hard as we can to reclaim “Our Place In The Sun”!