THE ICON: Dorothy Mae Taylor
THE LEGACY: Being an agent of change can be difficult. Dorothy Mae Taylor knew that as well as anybody. What’s more, she didn’t care. Even before she became the first black woman elected to the New Orleans City Council, Taylor had made a name for herself as a grass-roots activist who wasn’t afraid to anger people if that’s what it took to effect positive change. And that’s exactly what it took in 1991 when Taylor introduced what would become the signature legislation of her career, an ordinance aimed at integrating Carnival. It passed, but it wasn’t easy. Some krewes even decided to quit parading rather than comply, saying they weren’t going to let the city dictate their membership. Taylor was branded in some quarters as “the Grinch who stole Mardi Gras.” But the fact is, more than 25 years later, Mardi Gras is still going strong — for everybody.
THE ARTIST: Jeremy Patten, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “She never bowed her head. At a personal level, she knew what she was doing was right. She believed that if something was right, you needed to stand up with it, regardless.” — former Taylor aide Jay H. Banks