A blog by Lori Lyons

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I have been neglecting this little blog of mine.

It's not that I don't still love it, don't still feel the need to spill my guts to it every once in a while. And it's not that I have nothing to write about.

Indeed, perhaps I have too much.

As of tomorrow (Monday, Sept. 17), I will have 10 more working days.Ten more days as a reporter/clerk at The Times-Picayune newspaper. Ten more days of a 26-year career that I have loved. And sometimes hated. Ten days to cover the recovery of our area from Hurricane Isaac. Ten days of crime reports and holding my breath, hoping nothing explodes, nothing flips over, nothing breaks down and no one goes mad.

I no longer have to order toilet paper anymore because our office in LaPlace (the Arctic Outpost) was shut down two weeks ago because of mold after Hurricane Isaac. My co-workers and I have been working "remotely" (i.e. at home) -- which is what all the new "content producers" at the new version of the paper will be doing anyway.  This may have saved my sanity. At least I don't have to smile at customers who tell me how upset they are that the daily paper is ending on October 1st. 

So now I have ten days until I am free. Ten days until I am officially unemployed. Ten days to be "Lori Lyons of The Times-Picayune."

And then what?

Then I have a big-ass party on the 30th. One of our infamous luaus. Except this one will be "The Laid Off Luau." I'm getting laid off. Everyone else can come get leied. And I don't have to go to work the next day!

Click to play this Smilebox invite
Check this out. Just the song is worth it!

They're a lot of work, these parties. But fun. This will be sixth, complete with watermelon boats, an ugly Hawaiian shirt contest (there is a trophy!), pineapples and a cardboard cutout of a hula girl and surfer dude for photos (see above).  We had one scheduled for earlier in the summer until Marty's mom got sick and my mom got sick and my dog died and my best friend's husband was murdered.

So why am I having one now?

Because if I don't I will crumble into a heap on the floor and may never get up again. That's why. It's been one hell of a shitty summer.  I need something to look forward to -- besides my list of Gonna Dos when I'm done.

Retiring from The Times-Picayune, or even just moving on, used to be a really big deal, you know. Everyone would get a computer message to sign up for a fancy luncheon at some fancy New Orleans eatery. My one trip to Commander's Palace was for my friend Lily Jackson's retirement lunch long ago.

Sometimes there would be a message to meet at Molly's Bar in the French Quarter, where the retiree -- or smart person going off to greener pastures -- would be the guest bartender for the night.

Then, on their last day at the mother ship downtown we'd get another message to come for cake in the Art Department. The only problem was, the Art Department was in New Orleans and I was in the Arctic Outpost in LaPlace. So, there was no cake for me.

And when you're out in the Arctic Outpost, many of your colleagues simply become names in the paper. Not friends. Not workers. Not even acquaintances, really. Just names. And you have no idea how cool or witty or funny they are until you find them on Facebook.

But now a bunch of us are in the same boat. In 10 days we'll all be ex-colleagues and co-workers. Some have already moved on to greener pastures. Or just pastures. Others, like me, are hanging on by our fingernails to the very end -- just like Jack and Rose on the Titanic.

And there are big parties planned for the final weekend. Ex-Picayuners from all over the country are coming back to mourn the end of a once-great daily that will become a 3-times-per-week paper on October 1.  I won't be able to attend either, however, because I've committed myself to covering high school football on Friday and I'll probably be hanging palm fronds on Saturday. I wouldn't know anyone anyway.

So I'm giving myself my own damn party. Like I did when I turned 30. Like I should have done when I turned 40. And 50.

And you can bet your ass there will be cake.

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