The year was 1984 and New Orleans was going global as the World’s Fair dominated the landscape on the riverfront. Our United States Football League (USFL) team, the Breakers, gave hope of a winning professional football team in the city. And the local funk band the Radiators released the album Live at the Dream Palace. While these were all important happenings that year, another event caught the eye of locals. On July 8, 1984 the public television station WLAE, founded by Archbishop Philip Hannan and owned and operated by The Archdiocese of New Orleans, was launched. Promising content that was “Wholesome, Local, Alternative and Educational”, the first program on the schedule was the Daily Mass. Fast forward thirty years later…the World’s Fair was a financial disaster, the Breakers and USFL folded, the Radiators eventually broke up, but WLAE has survived and thrived.
In 2014, WLAE is an award winning multi-platform media outlet producing and airing the highest quality public television programming. Over the last thirty years there have been many highlights including the coverage of the Visit of Pope John Paul II, producing the long running local medical series Health Call, the creation of the post Katrina series Road to Recovery, the national PBS documentary film Fats Domino: Walkin’ Back to New Orleans and the Emmy Award winning series Go Coast: Louisiana. Through it all, WLAE has remained true to our founding mission and continues to serve the viewers of Southeast Louisiana with television that educates, informs and inspires.
There are many people who had a hand in getting WLAE to our “30 Year Anniversary” celebration. The names are too many to mention, but a heartfelt thank you to all involved for your hard work, creativity, passion and dedication. Congratulations to everyone in the WLAE family for helping us reach this milestone. What’s in store for the next thirty years? Only time will tell, but I hope that you all will keep watching. Happy Viewing!