Michael Arata, a Tulane man

Jonathan Kahn, Contributing Writer

Shivani Bondada

Tulane University has a history of graduates that go on and do great things after their time at the school. Michael Arata is a phenomenal example of this history. 

Arata graduated from Tulane in 1989 and Tulane Law School in 1992. A man who bleeds olive and blue, he spends much of his time today organizing the Fear The Wave Collective, which is a fund that helps facilitate name, image and likeness opportunities for Tulane athletes. Arata helps find opportunities for Tulane athletes to make money off advertising for companies, signing autographs and making their own merchandise. His work in the entertainment industry helps him pass down knowledge to athletes to help build their brands. 

Arata was an athlete, as he was a football team member during his time at Tulane. However, he said the biggest advantage of attending Tulane was not found in the classroom or on the football field. Instead, it is in the connections you make everyday with your friends and classmates. 

“The people you’re sitting in class with, I mean, I gotta tell you, that’s why I kind of stressed the relationships thing. When we talk about the wave of change, you have no idea where your life is going to take you,” Arata said.

Arata has made a career out of producing and acting in movies, as he has been a part of over 70 movie productions. However, this career started with a joke when he and his friends went out for the school play. 

He said, “I’ve done 70 movies and I’ve acted with tons of Academy Award winners. And I’ve been in fistfights with Jamie Foxx and I’ve been, you know, thrown out of windows by Kevin Costner… Don’t burn any bridges. You never know who you’re with and how they’re going to impact your life later on.”

In addition to giving back to Tulane, Arata is well-known throughout the city of New Orleans. One of the many things that he has done in his career is producing outdoor theater productions in City Park. He said the outdoor theater productions were among his favorites in his career as they spurred his creativity. 

“When you’re doing outdoor theater, the smells and the wind, the senses outdoors give you this whole heightened experience,” Arata said. “And then I decided, like, let’s bring in animals. And so we had horses, dogs, cats, pigs and it was just fantastic.” 

As a graduate of Tulane Law School, Arata specializes in entertainment law. He says his law degree has been a huge benefit to his career in the entertainment industry. 

Arata expressed that while he never had to rely on being a lawyer to succeed in his day job, “having a law degree has been a tremendous asset.” 

Finally, I asked Arata if he had any advice for Tulane students today. 

He said, “The thing that I would just say is, you know, party like crazy and work [just] as hard. Work equally hard in both measures because the college experience is just magnificent. And it just goes by, like everything else that goes by, tremendously fast.”

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