Louisiana paper juggles the coronavirus, furloughs
The Tigers of Louisiana State University won college football’s national championship on Jan. 13, prompting demand for keepsakes. “Today alone, we’ve sold over 45 new digital only subscriptions, 8K papers and 4K posters!” noted Judi Terzotis, president and publisher of the Advocate, Louisiana’s largest newspaper, in an email to staffers. “Today alone.” (Bolding in original.)The football windfall prompted optimistic chatter in the office. “We’re at least not going to get laid off from all these sales that they’re making,” recalls a staffer at the newspaper. “We’re possibly even getting bonuses. Those were the conversations we were having.”Those conversations have shifted. Louisiana ranks third in the United States in “per capita cases of people infected with the deadly novel coronavirus,” according to the Advocate. On Sunday, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) issued a stay-at-home order until April 12, and the state has promulgated various commerce-killing measures — shutting down bars, casinos, gyms and movie theaters, as well as limiting restaurants to takeout, delivery and drive-thru service — to enable its citizens to survive the virus. Authorities pin the blame for the outbreak in New Orleans, at least in part, on a thronged Mardi Gras celebration, which ran through Feb. 25.The result?