The statistics have been released by the Livingston Economic Development Council and they say, by conservative estimate, that the population of Livingston Parish has broken past 145,000 and will steadily climb above 150,000 in 2019.
Those numbers place Livingston well above Tangipahoa and Ascension parishes, by five-digit numbers each, and the parish is only expected to grow more with increased school participation, good law enforcement, and more jobs continuing to flow.
Apparently, the Great Flood of 2016 was just a setback.
As Livingston Parish grows so, too, does The News. Our little news outlet took its fair share of lumps after the flood but continues to rebound, recently returning to twice-a-week publication while also expanding our online offering to include more content and videos.
The newest addition to our staff is Drew Walker, who’s working on improving our social media presentation and delivery. Also, Mr. Walker is creating better infrastructure for communication between The News and our constituents in Livingston Parish – already asking for feedback from residents, visiting community events, and even doing a little sampling.
His first attempt in the Willows didn’t go so perfectly – but Drew saddled up, picked up the errant papers, and learned from his mistakes.
In the past, this space has been utilized to discuss incoming folks and their role with the Livingston Parish News. Today, we’re going to bring all the names into one space, with a brief on each in the hopes that our readers can come to know our staff and, in turn, our staff can get to know them.
Up front, Margaret Smith – mother-in-law to one Ben McDonald – keeps the place straight. She’s the first line of communication with many of our customers, while also handling accounts receivable and subscription lists.
She’s quite Cajun, so she won’t tolerate any lip.
Next, we have Karen Brooks, a wonderful lady from Watson by way of Dallas, with a background in sales for AT&T. Karen handles a few outside sales calls, but mostly works inside sales and classifieds.
Lori Christiansen is our other sales representative. A relatively new addition to our staff – less than a year – that doesn’t really matter, as Christiansen is a Livingston Parish native and knows a thing or two about what’s happening ‘behind the curtain.’
Assisting both of those ladies in content creation is one Paul Hatton. Hatton, who is decidedly British, found his way into The News during the 2000s and has become a fixture in Livingston Parish as a graphics designer. He’s advanced, thanks to his slave-driving boss, into assisting editorial with content creation as well.
The base of the editorial department, the foundation upon which most is built, revolves around Jamie Webb. Jamie’s two main jobs are as a lifestyle reporter and the collector of all things “Public Notice.” However, Jamie also assists with the website, keeps archives, covers the Town of Livingston – fills the gaps, so to speak, and is always there when you need her.
Speaking of lifestyle, young Mr. David Gray has taken the mantle of editor in that department and both metaphorically and physically run with it. Gray can be seen all over the parish covering anything lifestyle he can make it to, making specific room for the advancements and successes of our schools.
In sports, William Weathers takes the title of editor and deftly covers the three 5A schools in the parish, while also populating one of The News’ subsites – 4-5ALockerroom.com. His right-hand man is Rob DeArmond, who not only lays out the sports section but manages to juggle the six remaining small schools and is a fixture at parish home games.
Finally, in the News department, John Dupont covers the parish and a few of the smaller municipalities, while also being a real trooper and spending large swathes of time at the Capitol when the Legislature is in session. Kevin Fambrough, meanwhile, handles Denham Springs, Walker, and the newsy side of the School Board.
Wrapping it all together with beautiful photos is Ms. Morgan Prewitt (she was recently engaged, by the way) who works day-in and day-out to produce hundreds of photos for our website and selecting the very best to go in our print edition.
Currently, this is the staff of The News who work tirelessly to bring our readers the good word – and photos – of Livingston Parish. Will it stop here?
Decidedly not, as the parish continues to grow, so too shall we to meet the rising demand of an information-hungry audience.