8 Miraculous Nights and 8 Fun Facts about the New Orleans JCC

Published Friday, December 11, 2020
by Julie Ward

As we reach the end of 2020, a year that has been filled with disruptions and uncertainty, we are glad to welcome a holiday about light and celebration. Chanukah is all about looking for beauty and celebrating life’s miracles. To honor that tradition, we’ve put together eight fun facts about the New Orleans JCC.

  1. With a history dating back to 1855, the New Orleans JCC is the second oldest Jewish Community Center in North America. The oldest JCC is in Baltimore, MD. Click here to learn more about our history.

  2. Film, music, and TV stars love the J! Sasha Baron Cohen, Isla Fischer, Harry Connick Jr., Hilary Swank, Tyler Perry, Darryl Hannah, Woody Harrelson, Wanda Sykes, and Alec Baldwin are just some of the celebrities with ties to the New Orleans JCC.

  3. Absent of hurricanes and global pandemics, the JCC is open 353 days a year! Most of the year, we are open seven days a week and up to 16 hours a day.

  4. The current building on St. Charles Avenue was erected in 1966 to replace a structure built in 1887. The previous building housed the Jewish Women and Children’s Home in addition to other Jewish agencies.

  5. While the JCC was founded on Jewish values, we are open to individuals of all faiths and backgrounds. In fact, 70% of our membership is not Jewish. 

  6. Throughout the year, the JCC employs more than 300 seasonal and part-time staff members to operate the fitness center, pools, summer camps, nursery school, and community programs. The most tenured employee of the New Orleans JCC is Dennis Ranson (lovingly known as “Mr. Dennis), who began working at the JCC in 1974.

  7. The JCC is tied to many multi-generational milestones including first steps, first swim strokes, and first dances. 

  8. Many people who have only visited our fitness centers aren’t aware that the New Orleans JCC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Every year, we provide scholarships for nursery school and camp, transportation to seniors, and free cultural programming for the community. 

We are so grateful for each member, supporter, and staff member who makes miracles happen at the JCC every day and we wish everyone in our community a very HAPPY CHANUKAH!


2021 Commemoration and Celebration Events

The global Jewish community will come together in the coming days to commemorate lives lost during the Holocaust, remember fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terrorism, and celebrate Israel’s independence. 


What's Changing at the JCC in Phase 3?

Following the city’s transition to a modified Phase 3, the New Orleans JCC will ease restrictions for fitness center users. We see this forward movement as a small step in getting back to normal; however, it is still our top priority to remain safe.


Staff Spotlight: Michelle Benson Huck

If you’re a member of the JCC, odds are that you’ve encountered the energetic and encouraging presence that is Michele Huck. As an instructor at the JCC for six years, Michele has done a little bit of everything from cycling, senior chair exercise, Barre, HIIT, and what she’s known most for these days –– LOTS of Aqua Fit. 


Staff Spotlight: Brittany Polaski Faul

Brittany P. Faul has been a Personal Trainer and instructor for many years at the JCC. Newly certified through the extensive 600 Hour Power Pilates program, Brittany now offers even more services to her clients. Learn more about Brittany, her history with the JCC, and her passion for pilates. 


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