N.O. notables share ’13 resolutions

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Sallie Ann Glassman, an artist and voudou priestess, pauses Friday in the Island of Salvation Botanica, 2372 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans. Asked about the popular practice of making New Year's resolutions, Glassman said she usually avoids making them. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Sallie Ann Glassman, an artist and voudou priestess, pauses Friday in the Island of Salvation Botanica, 2372 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans. Asked about the popular practice of making New Year's resolutions, Glassman said she usually avoids making them.

“(I want to) be more of a musician than a music office manager,” John Gros, musician

Fat and happy from the holidays, and the continuation of the human race despite predictions to the contrary, the end of 2012 brings the impetus to make personal modifications for a better 2013. Whether it’s the standard “eat right and exercise more” or setting a specific goal, it’s time to answer the perennial question: What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Some of the city’s most creative minds and distinctive personalities shared their declarations to mark a fresh start for 2013.

Artist and vodou priestess Sallie Ann Glassman said she tends not to make resolutions because they are often “self-defeating,” and she tries to live each day at her best.

But after a recent trip to Peru, she met a Shaman who gave her an amulet he instructed her to use in a ritual during each full moon for the next eight months. On the ninth month, Glassman said the shaman told her she would be given tremendous new powers for healing others.

So Glassman said she has resolved to follow through with his instructions, even though it includes meditating, which she said is a struggle for her.

Glassman said that on the same trip, she visited Rio De Janeiro and wrote down her wishes for the world to put in a time capsule.

She said her hopes for a more respectful planet seemed so reasonable, but that she became very emotional putting them into the time capsule because she sensed that, “We seem so far away from it.”

Musician Kermit Ruffins said that he plans on incorporating a more regular exercise routine into his schedule, but that his primary resolution is to “save as much money as possible.”

Now adding restaurateur and bar-owner to his career, Ruffins said he’s definitely ready for his news business ventures to start generating income. Ruffins recently opened his own restaurant at Kermit Ruffins Treme Speakeasy, as well as taking the initiative to re-open the iconic Ernie K-Doe’s Mother-in-Law Lounge.

John Besh, owner and executive chef of nine restaurants, said that he used be skeptical of making resolutions in that they were so rarely kept.

But this year, he said he found the idea of resolution-setting a useful way of thinking of ways to create a better John Besh for 2013.

With the holidays as a traditional time of giving, Besh said he wants to better continue the momentum of charity and philanthropy every day.

He said he also wants to get his four sons, ranging in age from 8 to 16, more involved in giving back to the community as a family.

And, of course, Besh said there is the whole eating better and exercising thing — especially after a particularly indulgent Christmas.

Musician George Porter Jr. said he makes resolutions every year, though he admittedly doesn’t know how many are actually accomplished. But for 2013, Porter said his goal is clear: “To make my wife a much, much happier person.”

Porter said his focus is on making sure her smiles are numerous and big.

He said that the last year brought some rough times with the passing of some friends and family, and her happiness is at the top of his list. Porter also said he wants to make more music, with a focus on writing more songs.

“I’ve just got to sit down and do it,” he said.

A Tulane professor of political science and host of her own show on MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry said she has two different ways of setting goals for the new year.

First, Harris-Perry said she chooses a theme. For 2012, with the launch of her new show, Harris-Perry chose “curiosity.” Embarking into a television news world new to her, Harris-Perry said she wanted to keep curiosity at the forefront to make sure she was asking plenty of good questions of her guests.

This year, Harris-Perry’s theme is family. Because of the demands of the new show that took over last year, she said she wants to make a point to focus on her family, especially her 11-year-old daughter.

Harris-Perry said her husband and daughter travel to New York with her nearly every weekend for the show.

For her second more specific goal, Harris-Perry said that while she has run half-marathons, this year, turning 40, she wants to run a full marathon.

Musician John Gros, of the band Papa Grows Funk, said he likes to use the date as chance to start something new. Gros said his main goal is to “be more of a musician than a music office manager” and plans to increase the time he spends playing and writing music.

Gros, an accomplished keyboard and organ player, said that not everyone who knows him is aware that his college degree at Loyola was in the French horn. Gros said he hadn’t played since college, but he bought a French horn in October and has gotten a jump-start on his resolution practicing in preparation to record with friends Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes for their new album in January.

For his career, he said it was much easier to get work “rocking out” on the piano, organ or keyboard.

Even his French horn instructor advised him of that, Gros said. But the intrigue of the difficult instrument has called him back, and Gros said the sounds appeals him because it is unlike anything else, with a distinct melancholy that he loves.