Hurricane Gustav’s heavy winds knocked out power for most homes and businesses in Baton Rouge, and the Capitol City’s daily paper was no exception. Because of downed power, The Advocate was unable to print its Tuesday edition – a first for the paper’s 125-year history. Publisher David Manship says Tuesday’s paper was posted online and some 3,500 11x14 size copies were printed on an office copy machine and distributed to local government offices, hospitals and nursing homes. The Advocate’s Bluebonnet Boulevard office building had backup generator power, but the paper’s Rieger Road printing facility did not.
The Advocate moved printing operations to Lafayette, to The Daily Advertiser’s press, to print its Wednesday and Thursday editions. The Advocate has since begun printing at a press in Mobile, Ala., which Manship says is better able to accommodate their schedule. (The Advertiser had to reset its sole press for The Advocate after it finished printing its own edition). Manship says The Daily Advertiser was “very helpful.” He now anticipates printing in Mobile through Saturday; The Advocate is in the process of obtaining generators and getting its printing facility back to working order. “If everything goes according to plan, we should be able to print our paper [in Baton Rouge] starting Sunday night about 11 o’clock,” Manship says. The Advocate is bringing in two high-powered generators for its printing facility from Memphis and Chicago. “I think you can buy a generator at Home Depot that might give you 10 watts,” Manship says, “Well, I need 3 million watts, so it’s a little complicated.” He says until Entergy can ensure that power is fully restored and will not flicker, the presses will have to continue using generator power to prevent printing errors.