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.”
High school weight rooms are a lonely place this time of year. Many of the year’s sports have wrapped up their seasons. For the athletes, it’s a time to relax and recover, to reflect on the season’s accomplishments and what might have been.
Imagine you own a restaurant, but have nothing to eat. It happened to a Denham Springs businessman after the 2016 flood, but Alejandro Ortiz turned that experience into an opportunity to help his community.
With all the events in Baton Rouge this weekend, it’s hard to top the excitement just an hour down the highway in New Orleans, but in a city that bleeds purple and gold, anything black and gold is flying off the shelves.
Dogs live with offenders 24 hours a day. They are constantly training -- from basic commands, to learning how to handle crowds. As the offenders teach their dogs, the dogs also work on the inmates. They learn patience, and problem-solving, decision-making, and putting others needs first.
Raucous beats bounce off the walls inside the St. Michael the Archangel High School band room. The drum line is warming up. In the center position, rat-a-tatting his snare is Tyler Patton. The high school senior has been banging the skins for what seem like his entire life.
When New Roads farmer Charles Glaser announced to his friends the crop he was planning to grow, he got all the usual jokes. But he got the last laugh. He eventually became the biggest grower of this Halloween staple in the state of Louisiana.
In the build-up to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and swearing in as a Supreme Court justice, we saw weeks of protests and vitriol aimed at him and lawmakers. Where did all that anger come from? What does it say about where we are headed?
Dick Empson pulled a long sock over his thigh before hitting the floor for warm-ups. He and the rest of the Cajun Crushers were preparing for a pick-up game of volleyball. Two years ago, Empson never thought he would be here.