LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Livingston Parish has been growing at a fantastic rate over the past 10 or 15 years, but Michael Dowty had been covering its events much, much longer.
The 28-year managing editor of the Livingston Parish News died Thursday, March 3 in the evening. A friend said he had suffered a brain aneurism a day earlier.
Dowty's vigil watching over news events, the dedications of new businesses, the festivals, the school graduations had been dutifully recorded twice a week for readers in Livingston Parish.
The News publishes on Sundays and Thursdays.
He shepherded many reporters over the years, and for some, he gave novices their first chance at doing the news.
Local writer and former Denham Springs city council woman Annie Fugler told 9 News, "Mike's death not only creates a tremendous loss for the Livingston Parish News; Mike WAS 'The News' in Livingston Parish for the last three decades. If news was happening, Mike was there! His was probably the most recognized face in the whole parish. Everybody knew him. The entire community is in shock. This is a loss for all of Livingston Parish, and he will be greatly missed."
Fugler said Dowty offered her the first professional writing job of her journalistic career, freelancing for the newspaper.
"That job completely altered the course of my future, so Mike Dowty will always be a part of my personal history," said Fugler.
McHugh David worked alongside Dowty handling the paper's day-to-day operations. 9News attempted to contact David by phone, but has not heard from him.
Publisher Jeff David, McHugh's father had been editor when he died in October. McHugh's mother Nancy David is now publisher.
Dowty's funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.