City Hall official and PR pro ‘Jay’ Handleman dies
Julius “Jay” Handleman, a public relations professional and onetime spokesman for the office of the Mayor of New Orleans, died Sunday after a lengthy illness. He was 77. Handleman, first worked for the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) for 13 years as its public relations director. Beginning in 1970, he served as deputy press secretary for both terms of office during Mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu’s administration. Later he served as press secretary and director of the Office of Public Information during the first two years of Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial’s first administration. Noted for his keen wit and sparkling personality, Handleman was well liked by workers at City Hall and throughout the media and public relations industry.
Born in Yoakam, Texas, Handleman was a member of the Texas high school debate championship team. He was a broadcasting student and worked in radio for a short stint before transferring to Tulane University. Following graduation, Handleman served in the U.S. Army Reserves before working for NORD.
Noted for his public service and his dedication to the New Orleans Jewish community, he was a former president of Touro Synagogue, a member of the Press Club of New Orleans, a member of the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters and served on numerous boards including WYES-TV, the United Way and the Better Business Bureau. Handleman also served as the chairman of the boards of the Public Affairs Research Council and the Louisiana Council on Economic Education.
An avid sports enthusiast, he was a supporter of his Tulane alma mater teams and the New Orleans Saints franchise and was often seen at sports events. Following his retirement from the city in 1980, Handleman worked as the public affairs director of Freeport-McMoran, Inc.
He is survived by his son David of Shreveport, his daughter Susan Greenberg of Weston, FL, two grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
A memorial in his honor was held at Touro Synagogue earlier today. Burial was private. Conributions to Touro Synaogue are suggested.