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.”
Sixteen horse and rider pairs gallop through clouds of dust every Tuesday night in BREC’s Shady Park. To the kids, the Youth Riders is about more than waving flags, adrenaline, and flashy cowboy clothes.
On the opposite side of Off the Top hair salon in Denham Springs, La, a high school senior is getting a cut made famous by Justin Bieber. His less-refined classmate is bringing back the worst haircut since your grandmother flipped a bowl onto your pate and trimmed around the edges.
Edouard’s story would have been lost to time, just like those of millions of other faceless slaves had Congress not agreed to offer pensions to blacks who could prove they fought for the Union during the war.
With all the travel restrictions in place these days, you wouldn’t think now is the time to head off to England. But, did you know you can get an authentic taste of the old country without a passport? So, don your family livery, and acquire some manners. You are having tea with the Queen.