Milton Glaser Remembered
While planning the preface for my first book Missing New Orleans I wanted to include some of the ephemera I had collected over the years that particularly pertained to the city of New Orleans.
One of the highlights that rang most nostalgic was the short lived 1970s nightclub Rosy’s. The jazz hall, owned by Miss Rosie Wilson, Located on Tchoupitoulas Street in Uptown New Orleans, Rosy’s opened in 1976 and had its last permanence in 1979. I myself had just moved to the city and ‘Rosy’s had quickly adopted itself as my neighborhood haunt. I was there every night I could manage – visiting the intimate 200 seat nightspot that featured the likes of Stevie Wonder, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, The Eagles, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, The Who, Ella Fitzgerald and Jerry Lee Lewis filling the room with their music.
The twenty-one year old heiress had poured millions into the investing renovation and construction of the 19th century cotton warehouse, turning it into an Art Deco jazz palace. She had even hired renowned graphic designer and creator of the ‘I Heart New York’ logo and famous Bob Dylan poster, Milton Glaser, to design her logo and posters. Having one of these collectible posters framed on my office wall myself I knew I had to have it in my book.
I promptly called Mr. Glaser’s studio in New York, never expecting to talk to anyone but an assistant – let alone Milton Glaser himself. So when I was put straight through to my idol, I stumbled and mumbled through how I too was a designer before going on to shower him with words of praise and detailing what my book was about and how I wanted to incorporate his work. He went on to tell me how much he loved visiting NOLA, listening to the music, viewing the architecture -and of course the food. And as far as permission for using the poster, no problem; and ‘would $100 be too much as far as the rights to use?’ It was beyond incredible to exchange words with such a talented mind that by the time it came to say my goodbyes and hang up the phone I was overwhelmed with awe.
Milton Glaser died Friday, June 26, 2020 on his 91st birthday…My hero was still designing even in his final days as he worked tirelessly on his latest graphic project ‘Together’ – a representative logotype and rallying call for unity in response to Covid 19 and self isolating quarantine.