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Home > Publications > Quill > SDX Awards: General Column Writing


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Tuesday, July 3, 2007
SDX Awards: General Column Writing

Winner: Chris Rose, The Times-Picayune

by Jim Poyser

It’s amazing how you can be wandering the streets around here in your comfort zone and you walk through a door and you’re in somebody else’s world, and I was picturing that scene in “Animal House” where all the white rube frat boys walk into a blues roadhouse and I wanted to call out “Otis, my man!” but there was no Otis and I was alone.

Jim Amoss, editor of The Times-Picayune, said, “Life in New Orleans 17 months after Katrina often has the feel of a vast group therapy session. Through it all, columnist Chris Rose has been, if not exactly the therapist, at least the moderator of our collective disquiet.”

Rose’s status as moderator, however, changed as “after more then a year writing about the storm, Rose was finally overtaken by it,” , Amoss said. “His harrowing and deeply personal chronicle of his own battle with depression, a disease he didn’t believe in until it almost consumed him, elicited more than 2,000 emails from readers, many telling of their own struggles to survive.”

Judges said that in a category filled with the best column writing in the country, “Chris Rose’s work took the prize with his breath-taking, real-life slices of life. Magnificent portrayal of characters, teaching a moral without pedantics.” His work “leaves the reader contemplating the nuances of life and how each person can make a difference and a mark in the world.”

All the stages fell silent in the minutes preceding the opening of the Superdome doors, silent in that “Star-Spangled Banner” way, and a guy onstage counted backward from 10 like it was New Year’s and the crowd joined in and confetti cannons blasted a storm into the air as the doors swung open and little bits of colored paper — and you know what colors — floated across the expanse and people just stood there — tens of thousands of them — silent with their arms raised in the air like it was the Rapture. And it was.

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