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Aug 20, 201811:27 AM
The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

Labor Day 2005

We all need to celebrate each Labor Day extra hard to make up for the one we lost 13 years ago.

That Labor Day fell one week after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina. I remember words spoken in front of a television at the bed-and-breakfast in Mansura, Louisiana, where we stayed the first few days. Two women from St. Charles Parish were looking at the horrible scenes of the flooding and the destruction of their homeland. “When I look at that, I want to cry,” one woman told the other. “Me, too,” the other one said. "But I am afraid if I start, I won’t be able to stop.”

On Labor Day afternoon, we had the big idea of buying some fried chicken and potato salad and having a late-afternoon picnic at the retirement community where my mom, aunt and their brother were staying. Sitting on a picnic bench beneath a shady tree seemed like a nice way to get away from the horror that was never too far away from out thoughts. What we hadn’t counted on were the flies, which made the picnic more of a competition to cover food than to relax.

What impressed me most that day was standing on the tiny porch of my aunt's unit. A neighbor, two doors down, an elderly black man, was sitting on his swing and overheard our conversation. “Did I hear you all say that you are from New Orleans?” he interrupted politely. “I’ve seen those scenes on television, and I want you to know you have my deepest sympathy.”

I thanked the man for his comments and then noticed that he had no legs. That was when I realized that compassion has no boundaries. We refugees were now subjects of pity, even from those with lost limbs.

Nothing was going to make that Labor Day right, except for the hope of better Labor Days in the future.    

 

 

--30--

 

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s books, “New Orleans: The First 300 Years” and “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2017 and 2013), are available at local bookstores and at book websites.

 
WATCH INFORMED SOURCES, FRIDAYS AT 7 P.M., REPEATED AT 11:30 P.M. WYES-TV, CH. 12.   

 

 

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The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

about

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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