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The Gray Line Tour

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / October 12, 1998

I’ve been working on a historical feature about L’Observateur and came across the following editorial by founding editor Wallace Lasseigne, and printed in our first issue, Jan. 13, 1913. Hope it still applies.Lasseigne wrote: “In presenting L’Observateur to the public, we present an up-to-date, clean, free and independent newspaper, a newspaper which will not be controlled by any clique or ring, but will defend the interest of the people within its power. We hope that the public in general willanswer to our call and encourage our great and progressive enterprise – the publication of this newspaper.

“The general cry for some time has been: ‘Give us an independent newspaper that will put us in touch with our public affairs.’ The cryshows that an independent newspaper is indispensable and of great importance in a parish like ours, where our public affairs are transacted by a few men and are kept secret from the public, by men who are paid by the people, and things that the people should know. Make this newspaperyour newspaper, it belongs to you for it is independent. Give it yoursupport and it will support and defend you and will protect your interests at all times.

“We appeal to all alike. You want to know what is going on around you. Youwant somebody who will dig out the facts and give them to you, who will express an honest opinion on all matters that most people are interested in knowing about. If the sheriff tries to play politics with the publicschools, if there is bad administration of the money that you pay in taxes out of your hard-earned dollars, you have the right to know about it.

“It is your money that supports the officers, it is money out of your earnings that you would otherwise spend on yourself and your family that goes at a big rate to the politicians, and you have a right to know how it is collected, how it is spent and whether it is misspent or not.

It does not make much difference to us who holds the political jobs, but our duty is to keep the people informed of what is being done with their money and how their affairs are being run. That is what an independentnewspaper is for, and that is why every man who is against the interest of the people does not like independent newspapers.

“L’Observateur is independent and is looking for the interest of the people.

It believes that every working man in the parish has got just as many rights as anybody else, and it is willing to come to the front and stand up for these people, to see that they get good government and good service, that they are not wronged or oppressed. It thinks it ought to be a matter ofinterest to you to read a newspaper that is not hand in glove with the politicians, but that will fight for a square deal for you and to keep from being bled unnecessarily.”That’s just an excerpt from that first editorial. We still feel the sameway and hope your support and help will continue for many years to come.

The need for an independent newspaper has not changed.

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateu

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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