THE ICON: A.B. Freeman
THE LEGACY: When A.B. Freeman showed up in New Orleans to take a job with the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in 1906, it was something of a gamble. People were used to buying their Cokes at soda fountains, not in bottles. Besides, New Orleanians at the time preferred beer, wine and coffee. By the time Freeman became chairman of the board of the local company in 1947, he had helped it become one of the largest bottling plants in the world. Amid it all, he would become an extraordinarily active member of the community, joining a litany of civic and business groups over his five decades in New Orleans. In addition to earning him the enduring affection of locals, it earned him the coveted role of Rex, king of Carnival, in 1932. In addition, he was the recipient of The Times-Picayune’s Loving Cup for 1955, and, since 1986, the namesake of Tulane University’s School of Business.
THE ARTIST: Jeremy Paten
THE INSPIRATION: “His life has represented a very unique combination in that, in a most unobtrusive fashion, he has done so much to help worthy causes and the general well-being of many individuals, the community and the state.” — The Times-Picayune, in awarded its Loving Cup for 1955 to A.B. Freeman