Aug 242017

Albert Ledner (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

When the Louisiana Architectural Foundation decided to bring the 9th annual Architecture & Design Film Festival to New Orleans, foundation director Stacey Pfingsten knew that the festival must include the world premiere of “Designing Life: The Organic Modernism of Albert C. Ledner.”

The nation’s largest film festival devoted to architecture and design, the ADFF “celebrates the creative spirit behind many of the world’s most innovative architecture and design projects and the larger-than-life personalities who create them.” Ledner, a spry 93-year old native New Orleanian who still practices his craft, certainly fits the bill.

A protege of the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Ledner established himself nationally as one of the premiere practitioners of the mid century modern style. As early as his high school days at Fortier, Ledner was always interested in designing and building things. “Becoming an architect was a natural consequence of my curiosity. I never thought of doing anything else.”

Ledner’s body of work includes more than 50 projects in New Orleans and New York including two distinctive homes on Park Island Drive (one of which belonged to former Mayor Ray Nagin) and a former maritime union hall on Tchoupitoulas Street which now houses Camp Bow Wow. His equally sensational New York projects have been praised for the imagination and creativity.

Growing up at the corner of Lowerline and Oak, Ledner drew his inspiration from nature. “I always thought the live oak trees were fantastic — very beautiful. I was also impressed with the flight of birds, structurally the way their wings work. I learned a lot watching seagulls. As I began to see and better understand nature, I relayed that to buildings,” Ladner explained.

Ledner’s daughter Catherine, a successful portrait photographer, began working on the documentary two years ago with her cousin photographer Roy Beeson. The documentary will premiere tomorrow evening at NOMA.

The festival will run through Sunday and will feature more than twenty films along with panel discussions and book talks. Most screenings will be held at the Broad Theatre. The festival kicks off tonight with a reception at the CAC. For more information visit


When reflecting on President Trump’s remarks to veterans yesterday in Reno, Nevada, which focused on unity rather than division, one cannot help make the connection to New Orleans as we prepare for the 12th remembrance of Hurricane Katrina and the October elections.

“We are not defined by the color of our skin,” explained the President. He went on to say that the country will overcome its challenges by reaffirming its common values. Mayor Landrieu, are you listening?

Even though the Landrieu administration failed the public terribly regarding the condition and operation of our pumping system, we must all work together to solve this and many of the city’s other pressing problems like crime, infrastructure and the need for more good paying jobs.

Trump told his audience that he considers them an example of the strength, courage and resolve that the country needs. “We are here to draw inspiration from you as we seek to renew the bonds of loyalty that bind us together as one people and one nation.”

Mayor Landrieu and the City Council could have definitely used the same words to the citizens who suffered damages just a few weeks ago.

Since the August 5th storm flooded so many homes, businesses and automobiles, citizens are playing defense with sandbags already appearing around the city.

Yet, like many citizens, I have faith that all obstacles can be overcome. Regardless of our weather or our politics, life in New Orleans is still worth living.

Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Foster Campbell, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. Her current clients include District B City Council candidate Seth Bloom and At-Large City Council candidate Helena Moreno.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.