What a happy day! I’m back writing the Gretna community news as I did for almost a decade until The Times Picayune/Nola.com was sold.
Through my tenure of writing the Gretna at a Glance column, many wonderful people led me to great stories and even took pictures for me when I couldn’t get there myself. I ask you to help put Gretna back on the map!
Covering Gretna community news was so easy-breezy, full of Hallmark moments, a fun season of my life. There is just so much to write about in Gretna. There are top drawer special events held throughout the year, Gretna Farmers Market to browse on Saturday mornings, an amazing levee walk along the river batture and so much more.
From my treasure chest of articles written over the years, I remember covering each birthday of my idol, Ms. Odile Washington who was 110 last June 24. What a history, the owner of a hotel and café, she taught vets to cook after WWII. Although no longer a columnist, I just had to go to her birthday party like I had been doing for years. You can find the article here.
There was a poignant story about Sgt. Austin Winton Lumpkin who spent his deployment money from serving in Afghanistan to make 200 bags of hygiene supplies and treats that he delivered to the homeless. You can find the article here.
There were columns about Gretna’s police and fire company, many organizations and their special events, as well as school children and school events. Multiple columns turned attention to the plight of the Gretna Middle School Band’s need for musical instruments and donations toward acquiring used uniforms for over 100 band members. The public stepped up in a big way.
Children’s Hospital Toy and Poker Runs that raised over half a million dollars in 15 years for the hospital were covered. Hundreds of motorcyclists led by Santa Claus rode to Children’s Hospital with toys in their saddlebags for very sick children.
True story, event founders Mensy and Priscilla Plaisance presented the annual donation to the hospital in cash in a brown paper bag. You can find the article here.
My all-time favorite children’s story dealt with the mischief of longtime Gretna Councilman Vincent Cox’s grandson, Carson Callegan. Carson, 3, proudly told his mom that he had flushed her great grandmother’s heirloom ring from 1929 and her own wedding ring down the toilet! In a wonderful way and hundreds of dollars later, a second “lucky” plumber saved the day when he retrieved the treasured rings for mom, Emily Cox Callegan.
Gretna at a Glance was often spread thin in order to acknowledge events and meetings hosted by the City of Gretna, Historical Societies, German Club, GEDA, Italian-Americans, Rotary, Timberlane Country Club, civic organizations and church news.
There were features about authors, playwrights, carnival krewes, heroes, etc. and, my grandsons thought I was all that when I covered the LeBron James event at the Boys & Girls Club! You can find the article here.
You can understand why I cried as I wrote my last column for the final June 30, 2019 edition of The Times Picayune. Then to make it even sadder, that final piece my 505th column was erroneously never posted on Nola.com.
I did not say goodbye to the column’s fans, just to the newspaper itself. Since the column was so popular and “covered Gretna like a blanket,” the idea of a blog to celebrate Gretna and its people developed.
And here we are, seriously needing and desperately wanting Gretna community news. The Gretna Glance has been created to fill that void!
During this uncertain time of Covid-19, schools, churches, all clubs and organizations and many businesses remain closed, obviously special events are not in the near future. People still want to know what’s happening with the residents in the city and deservedly so. There are a hundred tales around town ready to be told and I’m willing to blog those stories for your enjoyment.
Go to the “Contact Me” tab, just click and give me your ideas. I will follow up with you, by email and/or phone until we can safely visit.
Share the posts as you visit The Gretna Glance on Facebook. It takes a village……we need your support to spread the news and let people know about Gretna!
The tentative plan is to publish The Gretna Glance at least weekly as we launch. If many locals share it and it takes off, the posts can certainly be increased. I am so looking forward to sharing with the world the wonderful things that happen here in Gretna, “our little city with the big heart!”
Have a story you’d like to share? Contact me here.