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Press: 8 Cool Jobs, July  1, 2016 -  Morgan Packard, New Orleans Magazine

8 Cool Jobs

July 1, 2016 - Morgan Packard, New Orleans Magazine

james michalopoulos

Founder, Old New Orleans Rum; Inventor of Gingeroo; Artist; Rum Maker; Fun Maker; Entrepreneur

Age: 65

How would you describe what you do? I create beautiful and desirable things. 

What makes your job “cool?” It’s really cool that there’s a great deal of unknown in my work. I let life direct me. As a rum maker I’m passionate about the fermentation and distillation process, and I’ve set out to make an incredible rum. The drive is great and the hard work is fruitful. Old New Orleans Rum’s 20th anniversary King Creole has just been named the highest rated rum in America and equal to the best in the world according to the American Beverage Tasting Institute. 

What is the most fun part of your job? It’s a wonderful thing to make something that’s beautiful or poignant. It’s a great feeling to release something that will give others continual pleasure. What makes it less cool? Time pressures to stay up and complete a work, and the pressures to expand the business aspects. 

What are you most excited about? The creation of wonder. Taking a challenge and crafting a solution. I also spend my summers at my home in Burgundy, France and I’ve just received word that there will be an exhibition of my work in the south of France. This is on the heels of opening an art exhibition at Linare/Brecht in Maui, Hawaii, and I’m in the middle of finalizing details on an upcoming show in Laguna, California. 

What do most people not know about your job? That being an artist requires a lot of focused work. There is a discipline and persistence required to succeed. 

What advice would you give someone who wants to do what you do? Go into nursing, and if you insist on being an artist, listen to your heart, if it is what you love – then share it. Be prepared for anything because it will surely happen. Get up, celebrate your life and the opportunity to create and give.

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