As many of you know, I joined Ch. 8 in April of 1978, 2 months AFTER Mardi Gras. Reading Arthur Hardy’s column in today’s Advocate reminded me of my 1st Mardi Gras in 1979…the year of the Police strike when all parades in Orleans were cancelled. Just my luck. I took my 2 sons at the time to see Endymion roll in Kenner and wondered “what was the big deal?” Sure the floats were bigger than back in Indiana & the riders did throw lots of stuff, but this is Mardi Gras? Remember, back then nobody covered the parades live expect maybe Ch. 6? To me the highlight was watching the “meetings of the Courts” down in the Municipal Auditorium with narration by my late friends Ann Meric and Terry Gerstner. Of course with the dawn of “Live Trucks” in 1979, every station became more involved in live Mardi Gras coverage. With the current Arctic Blast coming tomorrow, I remember being teamed in Metairie with the Late Ron Hunter. We had brilliant sunshine all day but the HIGH only got to 40! The only other time I was that cold was riding as Grand Marshal in the Krewe of Caesar, a night parade in Metairie where in was windy with temps in the 30s. Burrrr! My ride with the Krewe of Argus this year won’t be that cold plus the sun will be out…but it will be windy so I will be layered up.
I keep getting questions asking me about my retirement. “you look like you still enjoy what you do (I do) or, you still have great energy and appear to be in good health”. For the record once again…I asked Ch. 8 to let me out of the final year of my contract. They didn’t ask me to leave. It was my choice. Why? Because broadcasting has changed the last couple of years. You are now REQUIRED to do social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) to remain competitive. That’s not what I want to do. I love interacting with my viewers, but in face to face encounters. I hate dealing with anonymous posters who often say hurtful things without identifying themselves. At this stage in my life I have zero tolerance for that. Many of my peers have retired, been fired or are dead. 2 out of 3 are bad things that I don’t want to happen to me yet. I’m choosing retirement while I still have my health. I’m honored and humbled that so many of you have expressed sorrow at my leaving. I’ve never taken your trust for granted. Likewise your friendship. Let’s enjoy these next 3 weeks as I look back at the past 38 years. Stay tuned!