Walt Handelsman, who has won two Pulitzer prizes as an editorial cartoonist, will be returning to Louisiana to join The Advocate.
Handelsman won his first Pulitzer Prize with The Times-Picayune in 1997, left in 2001, and won a second Pulitzer with Newsday in New York in 2007. While at Newsday, Handelsman taught himself Flash animation and became the first person to win a Pulitzer for animated cartoons. He has illustrated more than 50 animations garnering millions of views on the web.
His work will begin appearing in The Advocate newspapers and websites soon.
Even while living in New York, Handelsman never lost his love for Louisiana. He donned a Saints jersey every Sunday in the fall, returned to Baton Rouge and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and visited often with his family, holding his 50th birthday bash at the famed New Orleans Rock ’n’ Bowl.
In 2010, he delivered a memorable address at the Bureau of Governmental Research luncheon, showing his animations and cartoons to hundreds of community leaders who filled the ballroom at the Marriott on Canal Street in New Orleans.
Handelsman agreed to join The Advocate over the weekend, after attending Sunday’s New Orleans Saints game with the newspaper’s owners, John and Dathel Georges, General Manager Dan Shea and Editor Peter Kovacs.
“A few years ago at a Tulane art fair, I purchased a brass skeleton key on a chain created by talented local artist and close family friend, Juliet Meeks,” Handelsman said. “I’m not much of a jewelry-wearing guy, but I’ve worn that key under my shirt every single day as a personal reminder to someday unlock the door and get back home.”
“The fact that this opportunity has come along right now is very special to my entire family. The chance to once again live among old friends, work with Peter Kovacs and Dan Shea and reconnect with so many other talented, former colleagues now working for The Advocate is exciting.”
“It’ll be thrilling to finally get back to watching our beloved Saints in The Dome again! How ‘bout DAT!!”
“I hated to see Walt leave 12 years ago, but I’m privileged to play a role in bringing him back to Louisiana,” said Kovacs. “He loves Louisiana more than many people who have been here their entire lives.”
Handelsman, a native of Baltimore, began his cartooning career at a chain of suburban weekly newspapers. He moved on to The Scranton Times in Pennsylvania in 1985. In 1989, he joined The Times-Picayune. During his Louisiana years, he published two well-received books of his cartoons, “Draw Me Sumpthin’ Mister!” and “Political Gumbo.”
His two sons, James and William, were born in New Orleans.
He and his wife, Jodie, served as King and Queen of Krewe du Vieux in 2000.
Handelsman’s cartoons appear in more than 200 newspapers around the country.
“Creating cartoons and animations for the folks in Louisiana again will be a blast. It’s the best spot on the planet for political satire,” he said.
Handelsman is the latest in a series of Pulitzer winners to join The Advocate since the newspaper was purchased by the Georges family in April.
Handelsman’s cartoons and animations will appear in The Advocate in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Acadiana and on the websites theadvocate.com and theneworleansadvocate.com.