From Left, Peter Kovacs (Editor) Dan Shea (General Manager), and John D. Georges (Publisher/CEO of the Advocate)
John D. Georges, CEO of Georges Enterprises and the Georges Media Group and a member of Leadership 100 along with his wife, Dathel, recently purchased The Advocate, one of the nation’s oldest and largest local daily newspapers and digital media outlets. The Advocate, first published as a weekly in 1842, serves the Louisiana communities of Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and surrounding parishes.
Georges, who expressed the belief that smaller town newspapers are more stable than those in big cities, said that the Advocate plans to offer both print and digital editions. “We have an opportunity to grow both our print and digital due to our proximity of New Orleans being less than 40 minutes away,” he said. A former candidate for governor of the state, he stated that his name recognition will help him grow circulation and advertisers. Prior to the recent purchase, the same Louisiana family had owned The Advocate since the early 1900s. “The Advocate is a family business, and we intend to keep it that way,” said Georges. “Louisiana’s top daily deserves local, family ownership. The Georges family looks forward to continuing the good works and community-minded spirit for which The Advocate has been known,” he said.
Georges Enterprises, a family company that owns interests in several established Louisiana businesses, including Imperial Trading Co, one of the nation’s leading food distributors, which was founded by John’s maternal grandfather, Gus Pelias in 1916, after immigrating to America. At age 11, Georges began working in the family business under the direction of his father, Dennis Georges, and uncle, Gerald Pelias, sweeping floors in the warehouse and, at age 15, making deliveries by truck. Today, Imperial Trading operates as a wholesale grocery business in a dozen states, distributing more than 10,000 products from candy to health and beauty items. When Georges joined Imperial, it was a $29 million business and now sales are estimated at over $1 billion annually. The company also owns AMA Distributors, one of the largest amusement and family entertainment companies in Louisiana and Galatoire’s, the grand dame of New Orleans old-line restaurants with locations on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and in Baton Rouge. It also owned Dolphin Marine International, an ocean going, rig moving and salvage tug company that it sold in 2010. Georges Enterprises also has a diverse portfolio of real estate holdings including residential, commercial and industrial properties. New Orleans City Business ranks it as the second largest private company in the region.
Georges is an active member of the Greek Orthodox Church, a major philanthropic supporter and an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Order of St. Andrew). He was President of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina when the church was flooded. He made quick arrangements to rebuild Holy Trinity and other churches. In October 2009, he hosted a historic visit by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who toured the areas of the worst destruction and prayed for the City’s recovery. John and his wife, Dathel, live in New Orleans with their children Zana, Liza and Nike.
This article was contributed by Neo Magazine with content provided by its publisher, Demetrios Rhompotis.