Staff Spotlight: Gary Brandt

Meet the JCC's new Director of Youth & Family Engagement

Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The New Orleans JCC is thrilled to introduce Gary Brandt as our Director of Youth & Family Engagement. 

Gary brings a wealth of camping experience from his 20 summers at the URJ Jacobs Camp, where he served as their Assistant Director for six years. Gary later moved to Boulder, Co. where he was the  Executive Director of the Boulder Jewish Teen Initiative.  Most recently, Gary served as the Chief Operating Officer of Trybal Gatherings, an initiative offering innovative getaways for young adults to connect, explore, play, and celebrate in a socially Jewish context. 

We are very excited to welcome Gary back to Louisiana as a member of our team. Get to know Gary and be sure to introduce yourself the next time you're at the J. 

 Meet Gary Brandt 

Describe yourself in three words.
1 - Affable
2 - Cyclist
3 - Authentic

What do you do here at the JCC?
Help build community by offering the highest quality of programs and activities for children and their families until they graduate high school.

Where did you grow up?
Baton Rouge, LA

What is your favorite New Orleans restaurant and why?
Tie. Saba because Alon Shaya is leading the way not only in innovative cuisine but more importantly helping to change the landscape of what a restaurant staff team can be.  Cafe Maspero because it was the first place I ever ate a poboy and I hold many memories with my family there.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
I have delivered a few babies in a field setting. I have traveled with a group of Bedouin (as an extreme outsider) in North Africa. I am claustrophobic.

Where do you like to take out-of-town visitors?
Audubon Park. Magazine Street. The Marginy.  

What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
A soild pair of sandals.

Tell us about someone you admire.
David Ben Gurion. He was an extreme dreamer who was able to bring realism and practical solutions to his decisions and implementation of his ideas.

Where’s your favorite place in the world?
Istanbul. It is the most diverse, crazy, beautiful, and complex place that I’ve been.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Macaroni and Cheese Yellow

Who would play you in a movie?
Bradley Cooper

What tops your bucket list?
Eating sushi at Jiro’s

What is your greatest fear?
Sharks. Or falling off of a cliff.

What are you currently reading?
Telegraph Ave, Sapiens, Thinking Fast and Slow

What is your all-time favorite movie?
The Fifth Element

Dogs or cats? 

What is a cause/charity you are passionate about and why?
Cycling Advocacy, Food Equity, and sustainable design/living. I am very interested in tools that help the world become a better, safer place for people and the earth. 

What would you do if you won the lottery?
Put it in the bank. Open a bike shop.

My phone is filled with pictures of: bicycles I see on the street, whiteboard notes I want to return to.

Who is your dream dinner guest and why?
Yvon Choudnard. He is a man wholly dedicated to his values and the environment and puts simple experiences above profit.



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