A farewell column: One journey ends, another begins
Published 6:30 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023
September 14, 2023 was my six-year anniversary with L’OBSERVATEUR. September 19 marked my last day with the company.
A lot has changed since my first day. I rolled into the parking lot as a nervous 22-year-old who had just graduated from college. I had no work experience aside from a couple of college internships and a decade of babysitting my little sister. All I knew was that I was grateful for the chance to turn my love of writing into a career.
On my first day of work, then-publisher Stephen Hemelt arranged interviews for two stories. I spent the day writing about the Knights of Columbus’ relief efforts in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and spoke to a local mother raising awareness for her 5-year-old diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. The next months were a whirlwind of new experiences as I covered pageants, the Andouille Festival, community meetings, and visited each of the local schools for the first time.
My dad saved copies of the paper every week for the entire first year I worked for L’OBSERVATEUR. He was thrilled when I got the job because he had fond memories of L’OBSERVATEUR covering games when he was on the football team at St. Charles Catholic in the 1980s.
A lot has changed since the fall of 2017, both on a global level and in my personal life. When I started working for L’OBSERVATEUR, I was living at home and didn’t feel like a real adult. Since then, I’ve gotten engaged, bought a house and finally got married in the midst of a pandemic. I became a mother earlier this year, and that alone has profoundly changed my priorities and vision for the future. There’s a saying that motherhood leaves no woman the way it found her. I’m now tasked with figuring out exactly who I am in this new stage of life, and who I want to be moving forward.
It was with my family in mind that I recently accepted a communications manager position with the St. John the Baptist Parish Library system. I would not be taking this exciting next step if it were not for the experience I’ve gained as a reporter over the last six years.
When I started working for L’OBSERVATEUR, I took the place of Lori Lyons, who was leaving to care for her ailing mother. In an odd twist of fate, Lori’s daughter, Lora Luquet, will be filling my shoes. She’s a 22-year-old recent college grad, just like I was when I started working here.
I once worried that working in journalism would kill any passion I had for writing. The opposite is true; my only regret is not being able to do more when faced with the limitations of a small staff. I’m certain this won’t be the last edition my name will appear in. After all, I’ll be working just down the road, and there will be no shortage of good news to share from all of the exciting activities planned at our local libraries.
L’OBSERVATEUR will be in good hands moving forward and will continue to serve the community, just as it has for the past 110 years. My time here has been short in the grand scheme of L’OBSERVATEUR’s history, but it’s meant the world to me. Thank you for trusting me with your stories.
Brooke R. Cantrelle
Former News Editor