Vincent Marino died Sunday, Feb. 15, at Our Lady of Lourdes. His death certificate no doubt cites a medical condition, some bitter-end malaise of gerontology. But Marino — Vince to many, Doc to many others — was 91. He died of a long life spent well. That’s what did him in. Damn the certificates. And he was one of Lafayette’s last real newspapermen. Journalism is poorer for his passing.
Vince spent more than 50 years as an editor at The Daily Advertiser. Half a century. No one stays that long at one place, save for marriage, without loving it, and he passed on that love to hundreds of writers he mentored. Along the way he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and earned master’s and doctoral degrees at the university now called UL Lafayette, where he also taught for 20 years. His 1978 dissertation was titled, “Creating Conscience through Black Humor: A Study of Kurt Vonnegut’s Novels.” In the ’70s Vonnegut resembled Marino.
Vince was born in New York. His parents were Sicilian immigrants. Shoemakers no less. But the Marino family moved to Franklin when he was 4 years old, and the faint accent that stayed with him was a little Old World and a little Bayou Country.
His sphere was wide, and the writers he encouraged to pursue the story and settle for nothing less, to value accuracy, to love and respect the power of language, they’re sprinkled about, better for his tutelage.
Yet Vince’s geographical sphere, like his physique, was diminutive. Five-seven, 135 wet to the skin and standing on his toes. And he spent the majority of his life right here in Lafayette, though few who met him on the street would have guessed it. There was something exotic about Vince in this land of 10-ounce beers, which he praised; they stay cold to the last drop. But he preferred whiskey. Doc could talk boudin and Baudelaire with equal aplomb. He was dapper but never foppish. His neatly trimmed mustache was a man’s mustache.
Vince was too scrawny to enlist during World War II. Instead, he was drafted into the Army’s communications division, the Signal Corps. He served in the European theatre. The G.I. Bill helped him get his first college degree in journalism at LSU. He returned to Lafayette and landed a job at The Advertiser, where he would remain until 2001. Even today, as this article is written, his name appears with other members of the editorial board on the Op-Ed page.
He trained reporters to be aggressive, to be unflinching, but most of all to be fair — to write with facts that never bury the story, and to write with flair that never suffocates the facts. And for the columnists judged both on choice of word and substance of argument, he bestowed with sleight of hand two gifts: the love of a phrase that surprises and delights, and an aversion to cliché.
Vince is survived by his wife, Geraldine, four sons, seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren.
It’s hard to write a tribute to Vincent Marino. It cannot surmount the impossibly high outcrop of standards he raised for himself and for his writers.
Clambering for phrases to describe him, one may grasp at “one of a kind” or “one in a million.”
But don’t pretend that grip will hold.
Doc would’ve clicked his tongue at those clichés and run a red mark straight through them.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.