Posted by: conniebook | January 12, 2008

Monica Pierre’s Gratitude

In hindsight, it was the right decision to evacuate; but even today New Orleans radio talk show host and journalist Monica Pierre debates that decision in her head. As a radio broadcaster, she felt compelled to stay, to be on the air with her listeners, communicating emergency information. As a wife and a daughter, she felt compelled to evacuate to preserve the well being of those she loved. In the end she made a deal with Ray Romero, the other Clear Channel broadcaster on the air, that she would stay with him until midnight; but at midnight she would leave the city and then return once the storm passed to relieve him. In the end, Clear Channel management would order Romero and the handful of employees that stayed behind to leave New Orleans—a mandatory evacuation to Baton Rouge where Clear Channel owned six radio stations and had negotiated a handful of hotel rooms at the nearby Embassy Suites.

Romero and Pierre would meet again in Baton Rouge just 48 hours later—but in that 48 hours the world changed.

As Pierre remembers the events of the United Radio Broadcasters, she reminds us how thankful she is. Thankful that her home didn’t flood, thankful that she had a rental house in Baton Rouge where she and her husband could live quietly and privately while they waited to return to the city. Thankful for the leadership at Clear Channel during the storm, for the chance the United Broadcasters of Radio gave her to meet and work with others in the radio industry, to help callers to the radio show who felt safer hearing her familiar voice on the radio. In fact, Pierre’s “attitude of gratitude” has me thinking how much I have to grateful for—it’s infectious—and the City of New Orleans is infected with it.

My last visit to New Orleans was in June. Eight months later, I can see visible recovery, more city workers at work and police on the streets. Gratitude is in the air and people working look happy. Happy to see me, happy to be working, happy to be home. Monica Pierre’s simple reflection of her own gratefulness reflects a city’s healing and reminded us all to count our blessings.


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