Like this website, the Times-Picayune is part of the "best of New Orleans" and it has been and is a part of my daily life, memories, and heritage. I was raised in New Orleans, lived for a time in two major cities, and returned by choice. The Times Picayune was how I caught up with the news here, got the history on the stories, and felt quickly back in the groove of life here. When I lived elsewhere and could only visit, I always took a copy of the day's paper back with me, and I relished every page. This is a unique region, a unique city, and nobody's paper is like the Times Picayune.
Before even getting to that, I wonder how the many neighborhood people in New Orleans who *don't have* computers and Smart Phones - older people, poorer people, and those who are simply computer-challenged - will now get the news they've always been able to rely upon from the TP? That they grew up with? How will they "now" get their local news? news about City Hall, heroic deeds, wrongdoing, life with the Saints, who died, what's on sale, Mardi Gras? Who will provide the in-depth reporting the Times-Picayune has been known for? who will give them a special section on important news, whether it's Katrina or Archbishop Hannon's life and death? who will provide opportunity for budding new writers here to grow in their journalistic career? Will anyone fill this vacuum? And how do we explain to all the medical, scholastic, and research communities and businesses that we say we're aiming to attract, as well as the many people who visit here - whether vacationers, conventioneers, or movie studio people - that we don't even have a daily newspaper?
I watched my parents exchange newspaper sections every morning over coffee when I was growing up, and did the same with my husband after we married. When I moved back here in 2007, I ran into our old paperboy - now "really" old - at the door of a dry cleaner shop - and his welcome both validated my decision to return and brought back memories of how integral the TP was to daily life here. Nowadays I usually read it at a coffee shop - from the front page to the editorials to the sports pages and ads. The coffee shop sells out of all its copies, and people share what's been read and tossed into a basket. All except the Food section and Lagniappe - which everyone holds onto if they've got it. We look back over certain articles, read some of the paper now and some later, and collect or tear out the things of special interest - a leisurely and personal way of getting the news and having materials at hand, that cannot be matched by the internet.
This paper generates conversation - people relating, bonding, exchanging ideas - at work, at home, in the coffeeshop, on the radio. It's a standard in the waiting rooms of doctors, dentists, and car service shops because it's both a comfort and a distraction to read the local paper when you're anxious.
Even the news of debutantes and social doings in New Orleans are important enough to read about - and we all look at the pictures! It's part of New Orleans and how we are all connected.
My mother now lives in North Louisiana where she grew up, and she always asks "did you bring me the paper?" I can't visit her without bringing the Times Picayune - hopefully Sunday and 2 or 3 of the most recent days - because it's her connection to the city she still loves, and she thinks the Shreveport paper is much less of a newspaper than the TP - less interesting, less to read, less relevant.
There's nothing like holding the paper between your hands and reading across two pages at once - stories, ads, editorials - and simply by turning one page you have two broad pages at once, again! The internet is different. You choose from a menu, link to one item, and read quickly over highlights - like flipping channels on the TV. Sometimes you have to search through the menu to find what you want, or learn that it's not there, or that it's there only for a fee. It's just not as alive or involving as the paper.
I will very much miss the Times Picayune.
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