BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – The executive director of Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge has announced he will resign at the end of June.
On Tuesday, April 4, Patrick Mulhearn announced he will resign as executive director of Celtic Studios effective June 30. Mulhearn says he has served as director for eight years and he has “always been a big fan of term limits.”
Mulhearn also says that when Celtic served as a shelter during the August 2016 flooding, he had a “religious experience” and feels obligated to fight that poverty.
His full letter of resignation can be read below:
After much careful thought, reflection, and prayer, I have tendered my resignation as the executive director of Celtic Studios effective June 30th, 2017.
While I know this may come as a surprise to many of you that the “Mayor of Celticville” would step down from what must be one of the greatest jobs in the history of Baton Rouge, it has been nearly eight years since I took the helm. In politics, that is the equivalent of two terms… and I have always been a big fan of term limits.
Anyone who knows me knows that I often choose to do the hard thing because it is quite often the right thing. And at 41, I have too much gas left in my tank to not have greater goals than facilitating productions at the largest design-built studio in the Gulf South. When conditions are right, Celtic’s big stages on a 40-acre facility in the heart of Baton Rouge sell themselves. Once we fix the film legislation this June to make it sensible and stable for both the film industry and taxpayers, I am ready to put the pedal to the metal to pursue and create new opportunities for myself and everyone else here. I simply cannot do that tied to my current position indefinitely.
And while I have often had to spend more time focusing on politics than production, I am proud to have hosted over $1 billion worth of film and television on our lot in my time here, creating tens of thousands of jobs that pumped hundreds of millions into our local economy in the process. An industry publication even named Baton Rouge “the number one small city in America to live and work as movie maker in 2015.” It wasn’t always easy, and we were just one bad day at the legislature away from having that title taken away (temporarily). Like any business, we have had our ups and downs at Celtic. But we are still here, and thanks to the patience of studio owner Michael O’Connor, Celtic is still in the film business and is optimistic about the future.
I like to say, “A lot of people would probably kill to have my job, but my job would probably kill a lot of people.” It would kill me to not take the opportunity to do more and do better so that my kids do not have to leave Louisiana if they want to pursue their dreams. This is not just about my kids; it is about all of our kids. Passing Senate Bill 235 will be a huge step in that direction, and I am committed to my Celtic family and to Baton Rouge to finish the job and to get that bill passed and made law (with some tweaking, of course…more on that another day). Beyond that, you will likely see me switch from executive director to executive producer. I am as convinced as ever that the Purple and Gold Film Fund will be a game changer that will outlast me. We need to do more than just facilitate productions in Louisiana. We need to make our own.
For lack of a better term, I had a religious experience when Celtic served as a shelter that hosted thousands of evacuees during the August floods. I witnessed the best of humanity when our community came together to help each other during the worst natural disaster in Baton Rouge’s history. It left me with a feeling that everything, good and bad, must happen for a reason. Nothing makes an empty stage less empty quite like kids and pets with nowhere else to go. And for me, personally, the flood didn’t cause the extreme poverty I saw here as much as it exposed it to me. I feel obligated to use whatever talents I have to fight that poverty, and I know that means putting people to work in jobs they like.
There are a lot of good “f” words that keep us in Louisiana: family, friends, faith, food, football, festivals, fishing, fun and, yes, even film. If you care about any of those “f’s” as much as I do, do what you can to do tackle the big “F’s” in the areas where we are “failing,” especially education, the economy, income, and the creation of job opportunities. Life is short, and we have a lot of work to do. It is a delicate balancing act when our state’s finances are stretched so thin, but states like Georgia are proving that it can be done. We cannot give up on economic development.
I still believe that the film and entertainment industries are a great fit for Louisiana and have a huge role to play as we transition to a 21st century economy. But the same is true for a lot of industries, and as an unrestricted free agent, I am open to discussing opportunities with anyone from any industry. I appreciate the opportunity Celtic afforded me back in 2009. The Celtic family will always be my family. I am truly blessed to have made so many great friends and contacts along the way.
So this isn’t “goodbye”… it’s just the beginning of the next act!