The most talked about stories of 2019

The most talked about stories of 2019
From a 5-year-old marching band sensation to the pass interference call not heard 'round the league, these were the most talked about stories of 2019. (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The end of the year is a time to reflect.

Sitting here at my desk in an empty newsroom on Christmas day, I’m reflecting on the most talked-about stories of 2019, based on interactions from the WAFB Channel 9 Facebook page.

A few things are very obvious as I’m going through my list (and checking it twice).

The people of Louisiana, our viewers and loyal fans, are crazy about a few very specific things; billboards, football, good news, and seeing our people win - at sports and at life. I’ll go through a few of the most liked, commented, shared, and watched stories of the year.


Starting with:

1. There is no shortage of alligators in Livingston Parish

In July, one family was spooked when a baby gator found its way under their carport during Hurricane Barry. Luckily, they had a really good boy there to protect them.

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) shared this video to warn people about the dangers of wild animals during flood events. This video racked up an amazing 9.9 MILLION views. It was our most-viewed video posted to Facebook this year. Crazy, I tell ya.

Dog vs. gator during Hurricane Barry

2. There’s also no shortage of talent in Livingston Parish

Two words: Laine Hardy!

Before there was a Joe Burrow (and trust me, there was a Joe Burrow), the entire state was cheering on America’s idol, an 18-year-old heartthrob from Livingston Parish that swept the nation off their feet with his Elvis-like vibe.

Laine Hardy is from French Settlement.
Laine Hardy is from French Settlement. (Source: ABC/Eric McCandless)

Hardy captured the season 17 American Idol trophy and the hearts of Louisiana on May 19.


3. Speaking of Joe Burrow.....

TIGERS WIN! TIGERS WIN! TIGERS WIN!

46 - 41. A final score the state of Louisiana will never forget.

The Tigers remained undefeated with a historic win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second “Game of the Century” between the two rivals. It was LSU’s first win over 'Bama since 2011. The game was the most-watched college football game on any network in eight years. After the game, the team carried quarterback Joe Burrow off the field.

POST GAME: Joe Burrow on win over Alabama

4. And then he made the cover of Sports Illustrated

Copies were on the stands at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Perkins Rowe on Friday, Nov. 29.
Copies were on the stands at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Perkins Rowe on Friday, Nov. 29. (Source: WAFB)

RELATED STORIES:

And let’s not forget, he also won the Heisman trophy and raised nearly half a million dollars for the Athens County Food Pantry in his hometown.

Joe Burrow wins Heisman Trophy

Congratulations Joe Burrow, for having the best year out of any of us in 2019. Good luck in the NFL Draft. Cincinnati Bengals jerseys are going to be a hit in Louisiana in 2020.


5. Billboards, billboards, and more billboards

I wasn’t kidding. Louisiana has a potentially unhealthy relationship with putting up billboards like.... everywhere, and for any reason.

Joe Burrow wins the Heisman? Billboard. Wears a custom “Burreaux” jersey? Billboard.

To celebrate the LSU men’s basketball team’s last-second victory over Maryland in the Sweet 16, you guessed it - billboard.

LSU travels to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game? Billboards went up there, too.

And it wasn’t the only time billboards went up in Atlanta, oddly enough. Which brings us to our next most-talked-about topic of 2019.


6. The infamous Saints no-call

Yeah, someone put up billboards in Atlanta, the site of the 2019 Super Bowl, after the infamous missed pass interference call that cost the Saints the NFC Championship in January.

One Saints fan decided to take his frustrations out in the form of billboards in downtown Atlanta, the site of this year's Super Bowl game. (Source: Facebook/Matt Bowers)
One Saints fan decided to take his frustrations out in the form of billboards in downtown Atlanta, the site of this year's Super Bowl game. (Source: Facebook/Matt Bowers)
One Saints fan decided to take his frustrations out in the form of billboards in downtown Atlanta, the site of this year's Super Bowl game. (Source: Facebook/Matt Bowers)
One Saints fan decided to take his frustrations out in the form of billboards in downtown Atlanta, the site of this year's Super Bowl game. (Source: Facebook/Matt Bowers)

RELATED STORIES:

The call was so obvious and blatantly missed that the NFL actually changed their rules because of it. Thanks to Nickell Robey-Coleman’s inability to properly defend Saints WR Tommylee Lewis, pass interference calls are now reviewable.

We know it’s difficult to see but, here’s the missed call heard 'round the league:

FILE-In this Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019 file photo, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (11) works for a catch against Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game, in New Orleans. The Rams won 26-23. New Orleans Saints fans have found some pretty creative ways to express their displeasure over the infamous “no call” during last weekend’s Saints-Rams championship game. But their newest tactic may make the loudest statement - a Super Bowl boycott. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
FILE-In this Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019 file photo, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (11) works for a catch against Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game, in New Orleans. The Rams won 26-23. New Orleans Saints fans have found some pretty creative ways to express their displeasure over the infamous “no call” during last weekend’s Saints-Rams championship game. But their newest tactic may make the loudest statement - a Super Bowl boycott. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Source: Gerald Herbert)

There were even reports that a no-call movie was in production.

And who can forget this most precious and most-talked-about photo of 2019:

This is how 6-year-old Ayden Achee decided to celebrate her 100th day at Valverda Elementary School in Livonia.
This is how 6-year-old Ayden Achee decided to celebrate her 100th day at Valverda Elementary School in Livonia. (Source: WAFB)

When Ayden Achee gets older, she’ll be proud of the over 5,000 shares this picture got on our page.


7. Social media helped send two sweet boys to a Saints game with their dad

Social media is more than just a place to share memes and scroll through recipes and ASMR videos. It has the power to connect people in ways that wouldn’t be possible without it.

Danielle Trahan was just trying to find two brothers so she could show them the picture she took of them at their first-ever Saints game.

Danielle Trahan took to social media after meeting two boys who were dropped off at their first Saints game ever by their dad, who only had two tickets.
Danielle Trahan took to social media after meeting two boys who were dropped off at their first Saints game ever by their dad, who only had two tickets. (Source: Facebook)

Jairen, 8, and Terrion Shaffer, 14, were dropped off by their dad, Jonathan, to watch the Saints-Panthers game in November. Dad was only able to secure two tickets, so he let his boys go in and waited for them outside of the stadium.

WAFB talks to Saints fan brothers who went viral in woman's Facebook post

Social media tracked them down and the Saints official injury attorneys got the boys, their father, and the Trahans tickets to watch the Saints play the Colts in the last regular-season home game of 2019.

Dudley DeBosier surprises viral Saints fan with tickets

8. Eat your heart out Usain Bolt

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Drew Brees broke a record and Michael Thomas broke a record, but those things are just matters of time. When you’re averaging 11 receptions and 2.7 touchdown passes a game, you’re probably going to break a record eventually. Whatever, that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for the absolute BEST of 2019. In the record-breaking category, that award goes to LSU sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson.

In June, Richardson made WORLD HISTORY by becoming the first person (not female, first HUMAN) to run the 100-meter dash in under 11 seconds and the 200-meter dash in under 23.4 seconds in the SAME DAY!

Sha'Carri Richardson.
Sha'Carri Richardson. (Source: LSU Athletics)

See, Louisianians love when our people win, including students.


9. Millions of dollars in scholarships

Take your pick: twin seniors in Shreveport earned $1.3 million EACH in academic scholarships. They also received athletic scholarship offers to play football.

Brin and Nial Wilson, Captain Shreve High
Brin and Nial Wilson, Captain Shreve High (Source: Griggs Enterprise, Inc.)

Amaris Lewis, a senior at Lusher Charter School was accepted into Harvard and Yale after receiving $2.6 million in scholarships. In plain English: she’s a genius who seeks to save lives.

Lewis is a National Merit Finalist and was nominated as a U.S. Presidential Scholar Candidate, all while maintaining a 4.40 GPA.

Lusher Charter School Senior Amaris Lewis
Lusher Charter School Senior Amaris Lewis

Baton Rouge Magnet High School senior Aalayah Levy secured a $1.2 million bag in April.

Baton Rouge Magnet High School senior Aalayah Levy.
Baton Rouge Magnet High School senior Aalayah Levy.

And an 18-year-old New Orleans high school senior was accepted into 115 colleges and was offered more than $3.7 million in scholarships.

Antoinette Jones has been accepted to 115 colleges and has been offered more than $3.7 million in scholarships.
Antoinette Jones has been accepted to 115 colleges and has been offered more than $3.7 million in scholarships. (Source: International High School)

Congratulations. Y’all made Louisiana mighty proud in 2019.


Last, and most certainly not least, nobody made Louisiana more proud than:

10. Our very own little drummer boy

Jeremiah Travis! The 5-year-old marching band sensation out of St. Helena Parish captured the hearts of Louisiana at the beginning of November when a family member sent in a video of him drumming during a high school football game.

Jeremiah is currently a kindergartner and the youngest member of the St. Helena High School band. He’s been turning heads at halftime, on sidelines, and even at a New Orleans Pelicans game for his ability to keep up with percussionists at least ten years his senior.

5-year-old making noise a drummer in high school marching band

“It’s mind-blowing every day,” his band director said.

Our minds are most definitely blown. Jeremiah has received a scholarship to attend Alcorn State University. He’s only 5 years old, y’all, and he has a scholarship.

Incredibly remarkable.


There you have it, folks. A year-end wrap up of the stories you loved, liked, commented, and shared the most in 2019. There’s no secret or science here, just statistics. These stories brought the most smiles, the most joy, and maybe a little heartache (lookin’ at you, NFL referees), to our viewers, our fans, our followers, our friends, and our families in 2019.

We’re proud to share them with you one more time before the year’s over, and we look forward to bringing you the same joy in 2020.

If you have a news tip, send an email to news@wafb.com. Share your photos and videos with us through 9reports.com and you may very well end up in the most-talked-about stories of 2020.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you, from all of us.

Copyright 2019 WAFB. All rights reserved.