When WWLTV Sports Director Doug Mouton took on his position at the news channel in 2012, he followed in the footsteps of a very exclusive group. Prior to Mouton, the Sports Director position had only been held by two others, Hap Glaudi and Jim Henderson, and recognizing the important responsibility in carrying on those legends’ good work is key to Mouton’s continued success.
A New Orleans native (he graduated from Brother Martin High School and UNO), Mouton has become known for his energy and contributions during his 30-plus years of journalism both in the newsroom and across the community. He has reported and worked from the field, at the anchor desk and behind the camera.
As we enter into regular Saints season, New Orleans Magazine asked Mouton for his insights on the upcoming football season, his experience in reporting in New Orleans and who he’s watching on the field.
Q: How many years have you been in the journalism business? Thirty-one years now. I started in January of 1987 as an intern for Buddy Diliberto at Channel 6. One day into interning, I knew it’s what I wanted to do.
Q: How and why did you go into sports journalism specifically? I was actually in Psychology at UNO, but three years in, I realized I didn’t want to do that for a living. The day after I made that decision, I was walking across campus and I remember thinking — “What do I do now?” In high school, they always said, “Do what you love.” And I remember thinking, “What do I love to do? I love to go to ball games. So, how do I make a living going to ball games?” I weighed the possibilities and decided that being a sportscaster sounded fun and possibly doable.
I loved following big time sports as a kid, and I knew a ton about the players, but I also knew all the play-by-play announcers and the local sportscasters. Once I came up with the idea of being a sportscaster, it really fit.
Q: Did you or do you play sports? Growing up in New Orleans East, playing football was the thing I cared about most. My friends and I played NORD ball for years at a little playground called Kerry Curley. Our coach was terrific, Joe Bradley, and he moved up with us as we got older. We won a lot of games but by the time I got to high school, my athletic limitations were obvious. I’ve played in a ton of recreational flag football and softball leagues over the years, but I’ll never wow anyone with my athletic prowess.
Q: What advice do you have for Zach Strief as he takes over the play-by-play coverage of the Saints from the legendary Jim Henderson? Jim is one of the greatest examples to follow in broadcasting. Back in the 80s and 90s, as Jim’s legend was growing in New Orleans, ESPN was catching fire. Local sportscasters across the country were all doing terrible imitations of what they saw on SportsCenter, doing silly catch phrases and goofy noises. And Jim was about as opposite of that as you could be. Jim was just Jim. He was an English Professor doing sports. He never tried to be anything but who he was.
The lesson of Jim Henderson is to just be you. It’s your only hope for any long-term survival in this business, because especially in New Orleans, people will immediately see through and reject what’s phony.
Zach already gets that. It takes time to find your own voice, but I think Zach will find his quicker than most. He’s a highly intelligent guy who works extremely hard.
Q: Who are you most excited to see in action for the Saints team this fall? I want to see Drew Brees make another Super Bowl run with an extremely talented team. My dad was an original Saints season ticket holder. I started going to games with him in 1969. That’s almost 50 years of Saints football for me, and the Saints have never had a quarterback close to his level. And I realize that when he’s done, there’s an excellent chance I’ll never see another one as good as him in Black and Gold. I’m looking forward to 16 more games watching number 9.
Q: Although it’s early, how does this season look like to you for the Saints? I think the Saints are absolutely Super Bowl contenders. Obviously, they need a little luck and they need to stay healthy, but I believe no team has a better chance to get to Atlanta than the Saints.
Q: What is your favorite sports play or moment (other than the Super Bowl win, of course)? I don’t think any sports moment could ever compare to Super Bowl 44. Tracy Porter’s game clinching interception is the most spectacular play I’ll ever see. But if I can’t say that, then Garrett Hartley’s overtime field goal in the NFC Championship Game that sent the Saints to Miami would be next.
AT A GLANCE
Born: Baton Rouge. My dad was working for the state Department of Highways at the time. The family moved back to New Orleans when I was 2.
Education: Resurrection (elementary school in NO East), Brother Martin, UNO
Favorite Book: “Moneyball.” Loved the movie too. It combines two of the greatest things in life, baseball and math.
Favorite Movie: My favorite decade is the 70’s. There are so many movies I love from that period, but for when it came out and the wow factor it had on me at the time, I think I’d say “Pulp Fiction.”
Favorite TV show: This is too difficult, but if I had to pick one series I’d pick “Breaking Bad.” Favorite Food: My all-time comfort food is fried shrimp.
Favorite restaurant: Could literally list at least 30, but I love Vincent’s in Metairie and Drago’s and I eat at the Little Tokyo on Causeway all the time.