At the beginning of this week, I was saddened and shocked to receive the news about the unexpected death of one of our talented and vibrant New Orleans Homes magazine contributing writers, Pamela Marquis. Her articles about organizing, profiles on interesting and talented creatives and long-running, “For the Garden” column in the magazine were not only always informative, but also often entertaining — which is a combination every good lifestyle journalist aspires to in their work. Pamela also contributed to our sister publication Biz New Orleans and was honored several times for her work by the Press Club of New Orleans (of which I am currently the president). As one of her editors, I count myself among those in the many New Orleans communities of which she was a part who will miss her presence and passion.
I enjoyed being Pamela’s editor for a variety of reasons, including her aforementioned talent, dedication to her subject matter, wry sense of humor and — something I’m pretty sure every writer wants to hear spoken about them after their death — her exceedingly clean copy. Which is editor speak for stories submitted with no or very few typos and other issues that need fixing. This made Pamela the special kind of unicorn writer that editors love. But more than anything, Pamela was a kind and generous person; a devoted mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and friend; a passionate volunteer and advocate for the people, organizations and causes she held dear; and, while like me she wasn’t from here, an adopted New Orleanian who loved and embraced the city and had that love returned back to her tenfold.
The last exchange I had with Pamela centered on ideas for the Autumn issue of New Orleans Homes and also covered deadlines. Pamela wrote that she always pushed deadlines up to the limit — which as a professional level procrastinator I completely understood. She advised me that, if I was firm with her, she would start getting her pieces to me on time.
“Tell me it’s due no excuses and I will have it to you,” Pamela wrote.
“OK, it’s due no excuses or else!” I responded (with a heavy dose of levity, because anyone who works with me will tell you I’m laid-back 98 percent of the time and not prone to dictates and demands, even where deadlines are concerned. I work with professionals and they always get their work done, even if it sometimes skids in at the last minute).
“I promise that will work!” Pamela replied.
It bears mentioning that this cheeky correspondence was the continuation of an earlier conversation initiated by Pamela, which bore the subject line, “From She-who-can-never-make-deadline.” If there is an afterlife, I have a sneaky suspicion Pamela is enjoying getting the last word with her editor and — readers forgive me for using humor as a coping mechanism, but I think Pamela would appreciate it — also perhaps relieved that she has an iron-clad excuse for missing deadline. Y’all, I will miss joking with one of my favorite writers and humans about missed deadlines, but most of all, I will miss her.
Please revisit Pamela’s work along with me via her byline archives. I am grateful to have known, worked with and learned from Pamela Marquis and hold her and her friends and family in my prayers. I’m especially grateful to Pamela’s loving daughter Eve Crawford Peyton, also a talented writer who pens the Joie D’Eve blog here at myneworleans.com, for bringing her mom into the New Orleans Homes fold as a contributor. We will miss Pamela’s voice and gardening expertise in our pages and her loving and fun spirit in our lives.