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Oct 1, 201208:00 AM
The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

Hey Newhouses, You Should Have Known Diana Pinckley

When I last saw Diana Pinckley it was at that rally last June shortly after word had gotten out about what the Newhouses were going to do to their Times-Picayune.

A crowd had gathered outside of Rock and Bowl to protest the downgrading of the newspaper from a daily to three times a week. Pinckley was wearing a T-shirt that said, “The Times-Picayune We Publish Come Hell and High Water.” The message reflected what, in retrospect, was the golden era of the T-P only six years removed when the newspaper was an active voice of the recovery and when reporters, flooded out of their own homes, camped out at each others houses to keep the paper alive and when columnist Chris Rose personally took to the streets to deliver the newspaper. Pride was high then, and it should have been.


On this day, the pride had been substantially deflated as ownership, a force sometimes worse than hell and high water, had undermined the beloved newspaper. From the beginning it was battle that could not be won, but that had to be fought because a) it was such a civic issue and b) it was about New Orleans’ dignity.


Pinckley, who died last week because of cancer, had links to the newspaper. Over the years she had contributed book reviews. Most of all, she was married to John Pope, a long time journalist for the newspaper who fortunately had survived the cut.


Had the Newhouses known Pinckley, they might have understood New Orleans as being a city of people who are committed to it. Her profession was public relations but her passion was activism. There were many outpourings of expression last week including this from Ron Biava, Development and Marketing Manager for public radio station WWNO: 


Diana loved public radio, and she was quietly one of WWNO's most important supporters, providing (us) with creative ideas and valuable advice, and opening doors to financial support. Meanwhile she was a successful communications consultant and a true servant of the community, working hard for Women of the Storm, Market Umbrella, the New Orleans Science and Math High School, and other education, arts, literary and civic causes, here in New Orleans, in Tennessee and nationally.


There was a memorial service for Pinckley Saturday afternoon at the Ogden Museum; that night, and not far away, there was a fundraiser for T-P employees who had lost their jobs. Today, Monday, is sad too because it is the first day of there no longer being a daily Times-Picayune. (Hey Newhouses, October is when New Orleans comes alive culturally, socially, politically, economically and on the playing field. It is the worst month to cut back a newspaper.)


This moment, however, does not belong to distant owners but to Pinckley, whose legacy reminds us that there are people who care about this city and because of that we will survive unbridled forces, including those that are corporate as well as hell and high water.




Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival-Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via email atgdkrewe@aol.com or (504-895-2266).


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The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde


Errol LabordeErrol Laborde holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of New Orleans and is the editor-in-chief of Renaissance Publishing. In that capacity he serves as editor/associate publisher of New Orleans Magazine and editor/publisher of Louisiana Life magazine.

Errol is also a producer and a regular panelist on Informed Sources, a weekly news discussion program broadcast on public television station WYES-TV, Channel 12. Errol is a three-time winner of the Alex Waller Award, the highest award given in print journalism by the Press Club of New Orleans. He also received the National and City Regional Magazine Association Award for Best Column for his New Orleans Magazine column, beating out 76 city magazines across the country. In 2013, Errol received the award for the "Best News Affiliated Blog," awarded by the Press Club of New Orleans.

Errol’s most recent books are Krewe: The Early Carnival from Comus to Zulu and Marched the Day God: A History of the Rex Organization. In his free time he enjoys playing tennis and traveling with his wife, Peggy, to anywhere they can get away to, but some of his favorite spots are the Caribbean and historic locations around Louisiana. You can reach Errol at (504) 830-7235 or errol@myneworleans.com.




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