Memorial for former Jewish Civic Press publisher, editor Abner Tritt is Sun.
ABNER LEONARD TRITT, the former editor and publisher of The Jewish Civic Press, the New Orleans Jewish community newspaper that also published editions in Atlanta, Houston and the combined communities of Alabama and Mississippi, passed away at Passages Hospice on Wednesday, April 10. He was 87.
Formerly a longtime resident of New Orleans and more recently a resident of Metairie, Tritt spent much of his time maintaining rental units in New Orleans. He loved real estate, especially the opportunity to provide low-cost housing to others. Tritt was involved with the creation of the New Orleans Housing Authority.
Born in Jacksonville, FL, Tritt was educated there and came to New Orleans as a young man. He was a lover of classical music, jazz, dancing, theatre and particularly enjoyed the company of close friends, many of whom called him “Sonny.”
Beginning in 1989 and for many years thereafter, Tritt published The Jewish Civic Press, the official publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and financed the venture through display advertising at no cost to the Federation.
However, the original agreement expired after a one-year period and was continued through an oral agreement from that point on. In 1995, Federation executive director Eli Skora ceded publishing rights to United Media, a company run by Donald Gares, a non-Jew, with the proviso that a Jewish editor, Gail Chalew, would exert editorial control over The Jewish News through the Federation, who hired her. The Tritts claimed that the entire move was detrimental to their business and a drawn-out court battle ensued in which Gares, his company, Skora and others were made defendants. Eventually, Skora and the Federation were separated from the case and Gares and United Media prevailed when the Tritts were unable to corroborate several statements they alleged against the defendants. Gares has published the Jewish Community News and the renamed Jewish Light newpapers in the interim.
The Jewish Civic Press continued to be published until the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which was when it ceased publication.
Tritt was predeceased by his wife of 25 years, Claire Gruber Levine Tritt, who died in 2001. The two often ran the newspaper office together, but it was Abner who took up the majority of decision-making and management duties.
He is survived by a son, Kevin Sharp (Fleming) of Huntsville, AL., a brother Arnold Tritt (Virginia) and two grandchildren.
Family and friends attended a local memorial service at Congregation Gates of Prayer, 4000 West Esplanade Ave. in Metairie on Sunday, April 14, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. Final arrangements were handled locally by Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home and coordinated with Evergreen Funeral Home of Jacksonville, FL
(From 1999 to 2007, CCJN editor Alan Smason was the entertainment editor of the Jewish Civic Press.)