Rick Portier is a videographer and feature reporter for WAFB 9News. He started with the company in 2006.
“’If you didn't get some on you, you ain't close enough.’ One of my first TV mentors told me that when I worked in Mobile in the early 1990's,” he said. “As a photojournalist, I thought Steve Baker was talking about the grime and muck we cover so often. As I bounced from station to station along the Gulf Coast, I realized Steve was on to something much more.
“It's something they don't teach in J-School,” he added. “To tell someone's story, you have to open yourself up to who they are, what they have experienced, their passion, their pain. Face it, when I show up on someone's doorstep with a camera, it's either the best or the worst day of their life.”
Over more than 30 years in news, Rick has spent time with presidents, movie stars, soccer mom, and janitors.
“Personally, I'd rather hang out with the janitor than the president -- any president,” he said. “The janitor has better stories, and he tells them without a focus group.”
Rick moved to Baton Rouge in 1997 with his wife and kids so they could be closer to their families in Thibodaux. In 2008, he added Sometime Reporter to his job title.
“The station, and the city have given me a chance to help tell some incredible stories,” he said. “Some have won awards, and I'm grateful that others have recognized my work. In my eyes though, they're not my stories. They belong to the people who told them. I merely helped get them on television.
“Journalism is a dirty job. The hours are lousy. But the people are some of the best in the world. I can’t imagine doing anything else. If I show up on your doorstep with a camera, I hope it’s because you hit the lottery.”
With bars closed, taprooms shuttered to the public, and U.S. alcohol consumption up nearly 55% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, local brewers have all the demand and supply they can handle. They just have nowhere to sell... unless they get creative.
Fire crackles in the fireplace as J.D. Kent sits down to his afternoon reading. Spectacles perched on the bridge of his nose, J.D. lifts a worn sheet of paper from the end table next to his rocking chair. On the paper, a list of names he has kept for 25 years.