Member Spotlight – Craig Ernst

When sixth generation New Orleanian Craig Ernst decided to return to New Orleans in 2017, he found a new home in the Friends of the Cabildo.

Craig, a realtor, left New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and spent over a decade in Texas.
When he returned, he wanted a way to become involved in the community, so he decided to apply to the Friends of the Cabildo tour guide program.

He knew his skills as a realtor would make the public speaking part of being a tour guide easy, but he wasn’t prepared for the amount of information he would need to learn. Craig likens the tour guide class to taking a college level history course.

“The biggest selling point for me was the ability to plot my own tour,” says Craig. “I always begin my tour with Baroness Pontabla. The Baroness was such an extraordinary and independent woman. The architecture she created had a major impact on how the world views New Orleans.”

Each tour given by a Friends of the Cabildo tour guide is unique to the guide. The tour is built around a guide’s personal interests and passions.

“Sometimes students get bogged down while creating their tour,” says Craig. “But once you focus on what you’re passionate about, you can create a successful tour.”

For the past four years, Craig has transitioned from not only giving tours, but also helping fellow tour guides with continuing education. He books speakers and plans events for tour guides to visit spots throughout the city.


“I love the constant ability to learn and grow,” says Craig. “Plus I get to interact with a cool group of really interesting and diverse people –people who are excited about learning. These people start off as strangers but then become friends.”

Craig sees the Friends of the Cabildo has not only advocates for the people of New Orleans and the important stories of the Louisiana State Museum System, but also as delegates for the city.

“In my mind, we are unofficial ambassadors for New Orleans,” says Craig. “We get to meet people from all over the world. We represent New Orleans.”

Interested in learning more about the work of the Friends of the Cabildo and becoming a member?

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