Remembering Kevin Kane of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy

Some people can make a big difference without making a lot of noise. Such a man was Kevin Kane, founder and president of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, who died of complications related to gastrointestinal cancer Oct. 27 at the too-young age of 50.

Kevin, originally from New York’s Long Island, was a Tulane University grad and captain of the university’s rugby team before getting his law degree at Loyola University. During those years, he developed an abiding love of New Orleans’ music and its rich culture. His law-related career took him to Mobile and then back to New York City — but, after seeing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he and wife Lesley were determined to move back to New Orleans to help it recover. A libertarian/conservative, Kevin thought that if he founded a research-intensive “think tank,” he could help promote innovative policy options for the city and state.

Most significantly, Kevin and Pelican for several years played an absolutely seminal role in the successful, bipartisan effort to pass criminal justice reform in Louisiana by providing rehabilitative options, rather than habit-forming jail sentences, for minor offenses.

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