Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Memory Of . . .

A couple of years ago an opportunity to write for The Times of Southwest Louisiana fell into my lap. The Times of Southwest Louisiana began publication in February 1996, covered local events and entertainment in a five parish area.  I've never grabbed anything so fast or held on so tightly as I did that opportunity. What an honor. What a priviledge. What a blast! What constant 24/7 work. The Times had lost their entire staff and the owner/publisher was desperate. I might add, he was cooly and calmly desperate. That's how my daughter and I walked into the positions of writers, photographers and assistant editors--as if we knew what we were doing. Sure, we had a basic knowledge of writing and shooting pics but that was the extent of it. We had more want to than experience. I think that's what Patrick Marcantel saw--our want to. Thankfully, our naivete didn't keep him from giving us a chance. We had his trust and his friendship from the day we walked into The Times with tearsheets in hand. So, along with another fairly inexperienced writer-editor, Nancy Correro, we did it all. I learned alot from working with Patrick at The Times, but here are two very important things I still use today: how to talk/approach total strangers and how to write fast. My first day on the job, I interviewed my subject and thirty minutes later, whipped out his story. I'm a wait for inspiration to hit sort of person so that was a high I'd never experienced.

And today, I'm sad to report that my friend Patrick Marcantel, owner of The Times of Southwest Louisiana passed away last night after suffering a heart attack and being in a coma. He's had our prayers, our tears and our constant thoughts. We're stunned and brokenhearted at the loss of him.  His energy, his enthusiasm, his ideas will be missed in our city. He won't be forgotten.

10 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm very sorry to hear this. He sounds like a wonderful guy. My condolences to all who knew him

EGuillory said...

I was googling to find out if it was true. I saw the last bit of his picture on KPLC this morning. Patrick was a very nice guy and you and his entire personal and professional family have our deepest sympathy. I worked on a committee with him to select the Times Person of the Year a few years ago. I can't remember what year, but it was the year George Swift won. I would see him from time to time at various functions and/or meetings and he always had a smile and good conversation. Lake Charles has once again lost a wonderful person all too soon. Again, my sympathy to you all.

Eligha Guillory

Cassondra Guilbeau said...

A beautiful tribute to a great guy. He won't be forgotten.

Jess said...

Charles, thanks. Patrick was a pretty interesting guy. His mind was on GO 24/7.

EGuillory, Lake Charles lost a valuable member of the team.

Cassondra, Patrick had so many dreams . . .

Nancy Correro said...

Jess, you couldn't have said it better. I also remember what a terrific sense of humor he had. And, yes, he was busy, busy all the time. I cannot believe he's gone.

Jess said...

Nancy, I can't believe it either. I keep think I'll wake up and this will all have been a bad dream. I wish!

Linda Yezak said...

I hurt for his mother and family--and for you. Losing a friend is painful. You all are in my prayers.

Linda

sandy said...

Loss is often hard to reconcile. Every person is just so special. I am so sorry for the passing of these dear friends and may God's grace help their families and those who loved them find comfort and encouragement.

Jess said...

Linda - thanks. I can't wait for you to come speak to our group. And you can meet Pat in person. She's a sweetheart.

Sandy- I hope you come back and read this message. I've tried and tried to leave comments on your blog but just can't do it. Something about Wordpress doesn't like me. Yours and another Wordpress friend won't let me comment on anything! :(

Stargazer said...

Hi, Jess. What a wonderful post about our "boy". Thank you for all you did for him at The Times--you and Chaney. Believe me, he appreciated you two and also Nancy.

Some days are okay;others are the "I can't believe he's really gone" variety. Guess we're all going thru that and it will pass with more time.

I tell myself (and I know) that he has only changed form, now free of these old clumsy, heavy bodies all of us eventually have. AND he has a mansion! But I miss that laugh, conversations covering just about everything, free advice--trying to become my parent instead of my youngest son. He didn't quite succeed in that position, but he kept trying.

Congrats!!! on your latest honor. Good luck. Love you. Pat