Our story starts with a guy named Pete.
You might know him as Peter A. Mayer. He’s the guy whose name is on the door.But there’s a lot more to his story than that.
Making a move
Pete was born near Mannheim, Germany in 1929. When he was just six years old, he and his family fled the country to escape from Nazi rule.
While many German emigrants were heading to other parts of Europe, Pete and his family had something different in mind – New Orleans.
Making a home
Like most new arrivals, Pete’s family spoke no English. But not ones to let a little thing like a language barrier get in their way, they got right to work. Pete’s mother supported the family at first, baking in the family kitchen and selling what she made to hungry locals.
Eventually Pete’s father learned enough English to find a job as a traveling salesman, selling women’s clothing to mostly Jewish retailers in the Deep South.
And while his family was hard at work, Pete was too, enrolling in school – first at Henry W. Allen School, then at Alcée Fortier High School. It was there that he mastered English, learning it so well he was able to act as interpreter for his family while they developed their own skills.
Making a name
Pete graduated early from high school and enrolled at the University of Missouri at just 16 years old. He studied journalism and, after graduation, returned to New Orleans to work for the New Orleans States-Item, an afternoon newspaper that would eventually become The Times-Picayune.
With a few years of journalism under his belt, he began to think about a career change. A new technology called television was gaining popularity, and Pete wanted to be a part of it.
He found a position at Walker Saussy – a local advertising agency willing to give a young kid a shot at learning a new trade. There, he honed his skills and began to make a name for himself in the industry.
By 1967 he was ready to strike out on his own. With just three employees and the same number of accounts, Pete opened the doors of Peter A. Mayer Advertising.
The rest, as they say, is history.