During the next two months, I will host a series of events, along with other members of our team at The Bayou Brief, all across the state of Louisiana. Our purpose is two-fold: First, we want to let folks know, personally, what this publication intends to deliver, and second and more importantly, we want to hear from people on all corners of Louisiana about what they believe are their community’s most critical issues and what stories they believe have either been ignored or underreported by local and statewide media.
We’re beginning next Thursday, July 6th from 5:30PM-7:00PM, at an event in the Mirror Room in the historic Hotel Bentley in downtown Alexandria, and hopefully, within the next few days, we will announce additional events in Lake Charles, Lafayette, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and Monroe. All events will be free and open to the public, and none of them will include a single PowerPoint presentation. We hope to make these events as interactive as possible.
We are also hoping to recruit new contributors and people interested in serving in either an advisory capacity or on our Board of Directors (we have room for four more members!).
I am also happy to announce that we now have the ability to accept monthly recurring donations, at the $10, $25, and $40 level.
Many of you have asked about this in the past, and frankly, setting up this feature wasn’t as easy as one would imagine it should be. It involved multiple e-mails and phone conversations with multiple agents at PayPal, one of whom, at one point yesterday, told me he had no idea how anyone could comprehend the code required to activate this option (he was a very nice man, but our web developer had fixed everything up within minutes).
The Bayou Brief is committed to remaining a free source of news and commentary. The stories we explore often require extensive and expensive research. We are juggling at least three different and equally fascinating stories right now, and that means conducting an awful lot of homework. We understand there are dozens of other publications to which you can turn for the latest news on the Associated Press wire, and there are countless bloggers who believe that reacting to a news story is the same thing as researching and reporting a news story. That is not what we intend to do here. That is not why we were created. And that is not why so many people have already contributed so much to help us turn this dream into a reality.
But we are not only committed to remaining a free source of news; we are also dedicated to remaining free of advertisements. That is why we decided to incorporate as a 501(c)(4) non-profit news publication. Since we launched only nine days ago, we have received more than $3,500 in donations, all of which were from people either from Louisiana or who have a deep connection to this state. Remarkably, we have been able to do all of that organically and through the magic of only two Facebook posts.
Today, we’re publishing our first-ever “official” open call for donations, and while we are tremendously grateful to and reliant on those of you who are willing and able to make large, one-time contributions, we also recognize that our sustainability is perhaps even more contingent on readers who are willing to make smaller contributions once a month.
So, to that end, for a limited time, we’re offering anyone and everyone who pledges a sustained monthly donation of $25 for one year their choice of our first-ever Bayou Brief t-shirt or our first-ever Bayou Brief coffee mug. After you donate, you will need to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you prefer and, of course, where it needs to be shipped.
If you pledge a sustained monthly donation of $40 for one year, you don’t have an option: We’re sending you both.
First, let me describe the t-shirt, which will be in limited production and, therefore, a guaranteed collector’s item.
Obviously, it was designed by a master graphic designer whose colleagues describe his style as “cluttered” and “wordy.” The shirt comes exclusively in royal blue; its front features our logo in yellow, and the back features our masthead and our slogan, “Nevertheless, we will progress,” in enormous, blaring, and tenacious lettering (we also included a reminder that, yes, it is our service mark). Sandwiched in between the masthead and the slogan is the line “Non-profit journalism for Louisiana, the land and its people,” an homage to the publisher’s great aunts, Manie Culbertson and Dr. Sue Eakin, who co-wrote the definitive textbook on state history, Louisiana: The Land and Its People. Eakin, who is best known for spending her entire adult life rescuing Solomon Northup’s book 12 Years A Slave, died only two years before the Oscar-winning film adaptation was released and is buried near Cheneyville, Louisiana under a headstone reading, “Sue Eakin loved Louisiana, the land and its people.”
So, yes, the back of the t-shirt is wordy and perhaps a little cluttered, but as we have made clear from the very beginning, The Bayou Brief champions long-form journalism (and t-shirts).
Here is the coffee mug. It was designed by an up-and-coming graphic designer who is already demonstrating tremendous promise.
It really is a fantastic mug; the detailing is all etched.
Neither of these items will be for sale. They are each exclusively available to recurring sponsors.
So act now, because, seriously, supplies are, in fact, very limited.
* By “chance to win a luxury cruise,” we mean that we will lend our editorial expertise to one randomly-selected sponsor if they ever require assistance with the online application to become a contestant on the show “Wheel of Fortune.”
PS: For those of you familiar with the True Story of the CenLamar Tote Bag Fiasco, rest assured, neither these mugs nor these t-shirts will be inexplicably stolen prior to delivery. They will be kept in an undisclosed, heavily-fortified location.