It’s been a rough go of it of late for New Orleans radio icon Scott Paisant, who goes by the name of Scoot. Many of us grew up listening to Scoot when he was a hip DJ on the New Orleans airwaves for many years. Now he hosts an afternoon talk show on WWL Radio catering to adults.
But Scoot is the antithesis of brash and boastful talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and others. He’s humble, self-deprecating, and authentic. Listen to him for any length of time and you realize, Scoot’s a nice guy.
Scoot describes himself as a radical moderate. That’s what a lot of my liberal friends call themselves when they don’t want to admit their left-leaning political bent. Nobody’s a liberal these days, right? It’s fairly obvious Scoot is no conservative and leans left. But he’ll also surprise you at times and stray from his leftist orthodoxy. It’s refreshing in a time where groupthink is the norm, especially on talk radio.
A well-known WWL Radio show host is recovering after he was injured in a hit-and-run in downtown New Orleans last week.
At 2 a.m. Friday, Scoot was crossing Canal Street near Bourbon Street, walking home, when a speeding motorcycle plowed into him knocking him unconscious. The hit-and-run left Scoot with several ankle fractures, an injured knee and a bloody face with gashes requiring stitches. The talk show host was hit only two blocks from his apartment.
“I could see the motorcycle coming and he sped up and I’m thinking he’s going to slow down. The next thing I knew, boom, I was hit,” said Scoot. “When I felt that blow, the hit, my instant thought was, you son of a bitch! You hit me. And he took off.”
Detectives retrieved some images from surveillance cameras, but the motorcycle was going so fast and it was dark so they are not very clear. The blue motorcycle that hit Scoot was accompanied by a red one.
“Did this guy know he hit me? I’m sure he did. There’s no way he wouldn’t have known. Did he speed up on purpose to hit me? I don’t know,” Scoot said.
Scoot says it could have been a lot worse. Which is typical of him. If you listen to his afternoon radio show, as I often do, you would know Scoot is consistently optimistic about life.
“This happened for a reason. I’m not sure what the reason is yet. But I know this. I’m supposed to be here and I got a lot of life yet to live,” said Scoot.
This is not the first time Scoot was a victim of a crime while walking in downtown New Orleans. Fewer than six years ago, he was mugged on Gravier Street on his way to work. One of four men pushed him to the ground and struck and kicked him several times, robbing him. The other three stood by and laughed. Such is life in the Big Easy.
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This past weekend is a perfect example of how violent the Greater New Orleans area can be. A man was shot and killed in Broadmoor, another on Canal Street, another under the Interstate 10 overpass at Claiborne Avenue and Canal and yet another on Freret Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Central City.
And a 23-year old man was shot to death in New Orleans East; another was shot and died in Kenner during a drive-by. The deadly weekend culminated with a gunman shot and killed by police near Tulane Avenue. Five others were wounded in that shooting. Overall, 17 people were shot last weekend; seven of them died.
You are three times as likely to end up a victim of a violent crime living in New Orleans compared to the rest of the nation — a stat with which Scoot is well acquainted. Yet the radio host maintains a healthy perspective.
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“When something really bad happens to you it’s so easy to think about how bad it is. But it’s also important to stop and think about how bad it could’ve been. It could have been so much worse. Even at a time like this I have to stop and realize that I was blessed,” Scoot said.
Email Dan Fagan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @danfaganshow.