Perhaps you have heard the famous Tennessee Williams quote, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” New Orleans, like New York and San Francisco, is truly a unique place, known to stir the souls of those who visit it. Tennessee Williams was not a native of our great city, but he often referred to it as his “spiritual home.” His life here served as inspiration for several of his famous works. Like Williams’ experience, New Orleans continues to draw many individuals from diverse backgrounds, influencing them personally and professionally to create their best work.
For November’s Community Connect, we are excited to highlight Witry Collective clients and friends, Eric Ramstead and Johanna Ecke. Eric is the general manager of Prytania Theatre and Johanna, or Dr. Jo to her coworkers and clients, practices veterinary medicine at Magazine Street Animal Clinic. Both Johanna and Eric are originally from Montana, but their love affair with the city began in 2001. They met in the summer while Johanna was home from her freshmen year of college. Just as many other notables that have come before them, this dynamic duo felt compelled to call New Orleans home. Almost instantly they were captivated by its remarkable character and composition. This is the place where they knew they would do their greatest work.
Johanna graduated from Tulane University with honors, achieving degrees in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and French in 2005. She graduated Cum Laude from Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 2011. She returned to New Orleans just as Magazine Street Animal Clinic was looking to expand. She loves general practice, where she can form lasting and meaningful relationships with her clients and patients. Her professional interests include pain management, acupuncture, soft tissue surgery, internal medicine and oncology, but she loves seeing the wide variety of cases that come into the clinic every day that keep her on her toes! She enjoys volunteering for local rescue organizations and fostering cats, dogs and small mammals of all ages that need intensive or medical fostering before being adopted into loving homes. She has volunteered extensively in post-disaster situations to provide emergency veterinary care to animals in affected areas and loves community outreach programs that help to educate pet owners on caring for their animals. At Magazine Street Animal Clinic, the veterinarians give back to the community every day by providing high-quality services such as much-needed dentistry, surgeries and preventative care to animals in local rescue groups that have partnered with the clinic.
Eric permanently moved to New Orleans in 2004 after graduating from Montana State University with degrees in Finance and Economics. He has been the general manager of Prytania Theatre since 2005, just after hurricane Katrina. Eric helps to program films that encourage the entire community to come together. With an eclectic combination of classic films, kids and family movies, Hollywood blockbusters, film festivals, late night movies, local premieres and cast and crew screenings, Prytania Theatre tries to offer something for everyone. Eric also helps build relationships between local schools and organizations like Tulane University, Loyola University, Lusher Charter School, the Jewish Community Center and the Alliance Française, to name a few. Prytania Theatre offers a place for students, parents and community members to watch student-made films and a place for schools and other local organizations to bring groups to watch movies that enhance their learning or just for enjoyment. Senior groups routinely come from assisted living facilities to spend a couple of hours watching a classic movie. Prytania Theater is truly a unique place where learning, leisure and an appreciation for film all collide.
Johanna and Eric reside in a shotgun double in the East Riverside neighborhood of New Orleans, which they purchased back in 2011 with the help of our beloved Brett Rector. They share their home with four rescue dogs, one guinea pig and six chickens.
For more information about Magazine Street Animal Clinic, click here.
For more information about Prytania Theatre, click here.