It’s time to say “thank you” to the Manship family. For over a hundred years, they have provided us with a news source that has informed and shaped our community. The Advocate has presented the world to us on a daily, dependable basis. We look to it for factual, in-depth reporting, editorial opinions that speak to local issues, and feature stories that introduce us to our neighbors and our neighborhoods.

The newspaper was for years the official register of our comings and goings in life: births, deaths, marriages, legal disputes and property sales. When we need to meet our own ancestors, we look for them in the archives of the paper and its predecessors. We tell our children about their grandparents and great-grandparents through carefully preserved clippings and scrapbooks. The paper is tightly woven into the fabric of our city and our families.

Downtown boosters point out that there is no city without a center. The Advocate has had that role in Baton Rouge too. It is an expression of who we are and what we think.

The editors have the independence to write editorials with courage. The sections reveal our interests beyond the world and regional news. We want Sports, Food, and Fun! We like to recognize our friends in People. We love it when great writers like Ed Cullen, Danny Heitmann and Carol Anne Blitzer take us a little deeper into the way of life here. Smiley Anders keeps it light.

Readers share the sense of ownership too. When we are irate, the editors get letters. The paper is our forum.

The Manships have been generous to many worthwhile causes, both through individual philanthropy and through the influence of the paper. So often, a need has been publicized through a series of articles, or a civic shortcoming has been spotlighted. The arts have been regularly featured and reviewed. And let’s not forget direct action. How many children received Christmas gifts only because of the Good Fellows/Good Samaritans packages that were put together in the Capital City Press offices?

Baton Rouge has been fortunate for so many years to have this independently owned paper in the hands of publishers who believe in journalistic integrity and quality.

It is also our good fortune that when they decided it was time to sell, they waited to find another independent buyer who is a Louisianian. When the “new guy” walks into town with Galatoire’s as his first move, I say we are likely to find him a sympathetic character. Welcome, Mr. Georges. We think you will do well with “our” paper. If not, of course you will get letters!

Virginia Noland


Baton Rouge