New Orleanians Bring the Heat in the Crescent City Brickyard’s Inaugural “Democracy in Motion” Event

New Orleans, LA

mpu   |   November 03, 2023

New Orleanians Bring the Heat in the Crescent City Brickyard’s Inaugural “Democracy in Motion” Event

When they say that New Orleans brings the heat — they mean it. The attendees who showed up to the Crescent City Brickyard’s inaugural event came as people of action with a fire in their hearts and craving a voice. This buzz spoke volumes about how it was a smashing success.

Brickyard Captain Matt Dembowski had been long planning for the first NOLA event to take off soaring. Enlisting the help of Gambit (one of Louisiana’s largest weekly newspapers), he spoke with the WWOZ radio station, was printed in the papers, and interviewed digitally.

Getting people civically engaged is hard enough, but Matt and Gambit pulled through by opening space in the Times-Picayune/ building. In a true New Orleans dramatic flare, it was a lively evening with newspaper clipping tablecloths,  free tacos and margaritas (courtesy of Felipe’s Taqueria) in the back, circular high-top tables to stand and chat at, while a smooth sampling of artists, old and new and all from the Crescent City, played in the background.

A voter registration table was held by, and before long, everyone was ready for a discussion with Gambit’s Political Editor, Clancy DuBos. There, the night was fraught with back-and-forth conversations on the importance of civic engagement, voting, and the role of an honest, independent press.

Now these New Orleanians didn’t hold back:

  • Educators were frustrated that people could no longer discern truth from misinformation, think more critically, or recognize that there was a middle ground to most situations.
  • City Council representatives brought a skeptical but curious vantage point and asked pointed questions that had Clancy thinking on his feet.
  • Young adults in their mid-20s wanted to be more involved and understand their fellow New Orleanians.
  • Older adults wanted to see the people come together and share ideas.
  • Many of the attendees wanted to volunteer and be heard.
  • Lastly, everyone wanted to see how this +MPU Brickyard would unfold and how we could make NOLA better.

“I’m in awe. Matt’s event for the Crescent City Brickyard wasn’t just successful—it was transformational,” Executive Director Garrett Cathcart said.  “The room was full of people—a tapestry of college students, revered city leaders, dedicated journalists, wise retirees, and countless individuals hungry for meaningful connections—speaks volumes about the inclusive vision he carries. It’s a vision of unity, where people from all walks of life come together, engage, and build bridges across the divides that often separate us.”