After the Storm: Shell’s role in the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (‘Jazz Fest’) is a coveted tradition – a tradition that was on the brink of being a casualty of Hurricane Katrina until Shell stepped up as the event sponsor.
Now 10 years later, we take a look back at the storm that defied hyperbole, the devastation it created in its wake, and the resilient nature of the city’s culture that’s still reflected in Jazz Fest today.
In the days that followed Hurricane Katrina, Shell was there to help the region get back on its feet. The decision to return to New Orleans was as much, if not more, strategic as it was emotional. Shell in New Orleans would remain. The strong emotional connection to the city for employees, after 50 years operating here, also played a part in the decision.
As Frank Glaviano, Sr. wrote in his daily journal, “We are Shell, one company, one family in crisis. We are people with great resolve and tremendous determination. We are people with beating hearts, and have and will continue to reach out and help others. New Orleans is our partner and you don’t abandon a partner after 50 years.”
Shell’s response was strategic to a critical business imperative – get our employees safely back to work and create an environment where they felt secure about the future of New Orleans. We needed them to focus on getting our business back up and running, and helping with the broader recovery efforts.
From the $500,000 donation to help first responders (police, firefighters and EMS workers) return home to ensuring Jazz Fest 2006 would happen, and that it would stay right at home in New Orleans, Shell made a big mark in New Orleans to assist in making the city habitable and safe again.
With the regional annual economic impact of a “Super Bowl”, Jazz Fest 2006 was a visible beacon of light that New Orleans would indeed come back, and Shell was absolutely critical to making that happen by becoming the first-ever Presenting Sponsor.