Mary Tutwiler

Total eclipse of the news

by Mary Tutwiler

That explains it.

Just about every small town newspaper I looked at yesterday had the equivalent of a “man bites dog” story in it. Finding one is a highlight of my day. Make it three or four and it’s like a frosty margarita right here next to my computer, tip tip typing across the keyboard all on its own. So let’s get down to it.

First of all from the Eunice News comes the story of a man who decked an off-duty officer. Mr. Semien claims he only hit officer Frank with his fist, not with a beer bottle. What was officer Frank doing at the time? Selling hot dogs of course, in a local bar.

Head down to Houma and the headline in the Houma Courier is that a local police dog named Django has been suspended from his drug sniffing duties for escaping from his kennel and biting a woman, says Terrebonne Sheriff’s Office Maj. Malcolm Wolfe. Ooowwooo!

Over in St. Martinville, the front page of the Teche News looks like the table of contents for a new Harry Potter novel. Here is a catalogue of the headlines: The Bronze Laver, Doing things after hours in the glow of a kerosene lamp, Attack of the giant crawfish, and The 10-foot alligator under Porkchop Guillot’s boat trailer Or ‘The Monster of Duchamp Road.’ All in one day, mind you. Could it be the pull of a full moon?

This is not a funny story, a boy drowned in Lake Peigneur and sheriff’s deputies were dragging the lake. But what was this planet-struck reporter for the Daily Iberian channeling when he wrote this paragraph? “Shortly before 10 p.m., a boat equipped with a generator and a computer centered in on an area not far from Jefferson Island. A banana-shaped image registered on the computer in a rust-red circle that resembled a picture of the planet Mars.” (The banana shaped image turned out to be a wooden board.)

What could turn every local paper into The Daily Prophet? Only a major celestial event, and it turns out the night of July 22 was a doozy. A total solar eclipse blacked out the sun over Asia two days ago. It seems to have made moon puppies of every reporter in Acadiana. And to think we thought only a journalist of Mark Twain’s caliber could come up with a story like this.