A Tribute To Marty Carlson
Monday’s are tough for all of us. Weekend hangover, a slow start to what will be a long day, etc. It happens to all of us. At your newspaper, we are certainly no exception. For sure, Monday’s are very tough days for both me and our BPT staff. For starters and besides all of the facts mentioned above, Monday’s are the main day that we gather all of the information that we have assembled since our last edition. Then, we begin putting our paper together for our next edition.
This past Monday was no exception. My alarm went off at 4am (as it usually does on a Monday morning). I got up, turned the coffee pot on and made the long sleepy trip to my home office. Once there, I turned on my computer (as usual..I wish that I started off that fast so early in the morning). Anyway, it was about 4:15-4:20am by this time and after searching a couple of websites for overnight news, etc., I brought up my emails in order to make sure there was nothing there that I needed to see before I began updating our BPT website.
Just as soon as I began to look at my emails, there it was…glaring out at me. An email from Marty Carlson’s husband Eric with an arrival time of 4:20am. Seeing the time the email was sent, I feared the worst. I clicked the cursor with my mouse and there it was, an email informing me that longtime BPT Political Columnist Marty Carlson had passed away just a short time ago.
Oh, no. Say it a’int so! Though the news we received from Eric the next day following Marty’s cerebral hemorrhage a few weeks ago had (at first) seemed to be not too encouraging, things had appeared to be turning around late last week – as Eric informed me just last Thursday that Marty had been moved from WK Pierremont to a Rehabilitation facility in Bossier City.
Eric’s email briefly explained that Marty had another stroke on Sunday and passed away very early on Monday morning. I sat there not knowing what to do or say at first. I knew that I had to inform both our team members (and others in our business/political circles) and in sending emails so early in the morning, I figured that I was at a low risk of waking anyone up. So, that is exactly what I proceeded to do.
In sending the emails that I knew I needed to send, I began to think back on my experiences working with Marty, especially over the last couple of years since I became BPT Publisher. I had a very similar experience exactly one month ago when we lost long time BPT Sports Editor Jerry Byrd.
One thing that stood out in my mind over and over was that Marty was always fair in her political reporting. Though those individuals on the opposing side of a particular issue or situational circumstance may sometimes not have liked what Marty so expertly penned, deep down, they respected her and knew that she was just doing what she needed to do. You see, that is the #1 job of any newspaper or news reporting publication “to hold government accountable.” Marty knew this, believed this and put it into practice each and every day. The only way to accomplish this tremendous responsibility is for all governmental actions to be out in the open and to make sure that no faction of our multiple governing bodies operates behind closed doors.
So many times I can vividly remember Marty saying to me, when I was explaining my views on a particular situation or matter, “but no Randy, here is the way that it really is..and the way that it needs to be.” Needless to say, I have learned so much through the years working with such professionals as Marty Carlson, Jerry Byrd and of course, Specht Newspapers, Inc. CEO/President and Owner David Specht, Jr., who got me into all of this,…LoL…just kidding!
As someone who comes from the sales side and was neither trained or educated as a journalist, but someone who has always liked to write, I feel that I have done ok. It is the advice and guidance from professionals like Marty, Jerry and David (and so many more) that has allowed me to be fortunate enough to be in the position to do what I do. For this, I am most sincerely humbled and forever thankful!
Marty’s passing is a huge loss not only for the BPT, but for our community at large. Marty was the “In The Know” person when it involved Bossier politics in any manner whatsoever. Marty was highly respected and we will all miss her tremendously! I will also miss the lunches and ensuing great conversation and discussion with Marty and BPT Managing Editor Amanda Simmons.
On behalf of both myself and our BPT Staff/Family, I just want to say what a pleasure it was to be associated with Marty Carlson as an integral part of our BPT team. Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to Eric and other members of Marty’s family and friends.
Randy Brown is Publisher of the
Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at