This New Orleans dad flies into storms as a Hurricane Hunter

Photo shows John "Jaxxx" Gharbi standing in front of the Air Force Reserve's Hurricane Hunter aircraft. He's wearing his uniform jumpsuit and aviator-style sunglasses. It is a sunny day with blue skies at the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans.

John "Jaxxx" Gharbi is a member of the Hurricane Hunters, a weather reconnaissance team based of out Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. He lives in New Orleans. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

John "Jaxxx" Gharbi is a New Orleans dad who flies into storms for a living as a member of the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters.

Why it matters: The Hurricane Hunters investigate tropical systems and gather data that the National Hurricane Center uses to make more accurate forecasts and models.

Disney's new "Tiana's Bayou Adventure" ride is an ode to New Orleans

Image is a rendering from Disney that shows what the new Princess Tiana ride could look like. Mama Odie is in a tree surrounded by lanterns while people in a log flume turn to look at her.

Mama Odie was a lovable character in the movie, "The Princess and the Frog," and will be back for the new ride, "Tiana's Bayou Adventure," Disney says. Rendering: Courtesy of Disney

Disney is converting Splash Mountain into "Tiana's Bayou Adventure," an attraction that will highlight the company's first Black princess and be a "love letter to New Orleans."

Why it matters: Splash Mountain has been a fan favorite for years. In 2020, Disney said it would change the concept to be more inclusive.

New Orleans chef Leah Chase was inspiration for Disney's Princess Tiana

Photo shows chef Leah Chase sitting and smiling at a table by the kitchen in her restaurant. She's wearing a green t-shirt and a white apron.

American chef Leah Chase (1923 - 2019) in the kitchen of Dooky Chase's in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Jan. 19, 2015. Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Princess Tiana is largely inspired by New Orleans chef Leah Chase, and her family has been actively involved in the creative process with Disney as the company expands Tiana's presence in the parks.

Why it matters: Tiana was Disney's first Black princess in 2009's "The Princess and the Frog" and broke barriers, much like Leah Chase did with her restaurant, especially during the Civil Rights movement.

Disney hires New Orleans musician PJ Morton for new Tiana ride

Photo shows PJ Morton singing into a microphone and playing a piano. He wears a pinstripe jacket, glasses, gold watch and a red beanie.

PJ Morton performs onstage during MusiCares Persons of the Year on February 3, 2023. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Disney has hired New Orleans native and musician extraordinaire PJ Morton to compose an original theme song for the new Princess Tiana ride that is being billed as a "love letter to New Orleans."

Why it matters: Disney is retheming the popular "Splash Mountain" rides in Disney World and Disneyland and converting them to "Tiana's Bayou Adventure," which will feature the company's first Black princess from 2009's "The Princess and the Frog."

New Orleans preps levees, power grid for hurricane season

Illustration of a house with a hurricane symbol shadow looming over it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

As another hurricane season begins, infrastructure remains the biggest concern in New Orleans — drains, levees and the power grid, especially.

Here's what the various agencies are saying:

Carlie Kollath Wells
Updated May 31, 2023 - News

What to expect this hurricane season in New Orleans

hurricane radar over the gulf coast new orleans

Satellite image from NOAA as Hurricane Isaac moved toward the Gulf Coast in 2012. Photo: NOAA via Getty Images

New Orleanians' most dreaded time of year — hurricane season — starts June 1.

What's happening: NOAA predicts a near-normal Atlantic season with 12-17 named storms in total with winds of 39 mph or higher.

Chelsea Brasted
May 31, 2023 - News

What's in our hurricane emergency kits

Illustration of a pattern of consisting of a water bottle, a flashlight, a whistle, duct tape, a battery, and a can opener.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Hurricane season is back (again). We hate it. You hate it. Everyone hates it. But that’s no excuse not to make sure you’re ready, should A Big One head our way this year.

Why it matters: Seasonal storms are becoming stronger and more frequent, in part because of climate change. So even if southeast Louisiana stays out of the cone of uncertainty this year, your emergency prep kit may still come in handy for unnamed events.

Chelsea Brasted
May 31, 2023 - News

New Orleans welcomes party tourism while other cities crack down

Mardi Gras participants on balconies overlook celebrants walking down Bourbon Street this past February. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Some international cities are sending stern-if-subtle messages to tourists — the party is over. Or, at the very least, a little mellower.

  • Yes, but: Our fair New Orleans, you might guess, is not following that trend.
New Orleanspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios New Orleans.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more