THE ICON: Ron Forman
THE LEGACY: Ron Forman is a go-getter who led the transformation of the Audubon Zoo from a dreary animal ghetto to a world-class attraction. A tireless fundraiser with a broad vision for the city, he then built on that success to create an empire with an annual budget of about $50 million and 821 employees at sites throughout New Orleans — including the Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, and the Audubon Center for the Research of Endangered Species — and which has for decades helped keep New Orleanians young and old in touch with their wild side.
THE ARTIST: Connie Kittok, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “I have a passion for New Orleans. I think we are all looking for ways to make New Orleans better. Right after (2005’s Hurricane Katrina), I think we were scratching our heads in despair saying, ‘What are we going to do?,’ but, boy, a couple of years later we were saying, ‘We’re going to be a much better city than we’ve ever been.'” — Ron Forman, in a 2008 interview