Four little words – A Wee Blether

“I love that magazine!”

During the six years I’ve been editor of 225, I’ve heard that compliment too many times to count.

“I love 225!” readers like to say. “I read it cover to cover.”

That gushing affirmation has come from working stiffs, professionals, moms, dads, students, tourists, artists, musicians, grandparents, grandchildren, athletes, dreamers, teachers, conservatives, liberals and all manner of people who simply care about this community.

Some aren’t merely avid readers, they are rabid fans who greedily grab fresh copies from the racks, or fuss at us if the rack’s empty.

Fans tell others about what they’ve seen and read within these pages. They’re the lifeblood of 225, and it’s because of them that 225 continues to grow and expand while many publications die slow deaths.

All of which is to say I’ve been privileged to be part of 225 and to have participated in the most promising cultural boom I’ve seen in almost 20 years living in Baton Rouge. But most of all, I’m honored to have helped share your stories. Sometimes personal, often painful and occasionally adversarial, your stories help readers know and understand their community.

I’ll miss being part of that process. I’ve decided to move on and tackle new challenges. Next month, Editor Jeff Roedel’s column will take up residence in this space.

But first, I have two parting messages for 225 fans: thank you, and guess what? (We’ll get to “guess what” in a moment.)

Thank you for your curiosity and enthusiasm, which move and energize this staff. You keep us honest, you make 225 relevant.

It’s really only now that I really grasp the meaning of readers’ affection for this magazine.

On one level, it means good writing, photography and design matter. Some marvelously creative, endlessly energetic and scrupulously conscientious people, both on staff and as contributors, are responsible for 225. Their industry and integrity are why you enjoy reading it. Because of them, every pleasant surprise you’ve stumbled upon, every inspiring person you’ve read about, every tear you’ve shed and every laugh you’ve laughed with 225 has given you an opportunity to know your community a little better.

You have the magazine’s staff and contributors to thank for it, and you’ll be happy to know they aren’t going anywhere.

But on another level, it’s about much more.

In the early months after we launched 225, back in late 2005, I used to interpret “I love that magazine!” as mere confirmation that 225 was on the right track, that we were doing good work.

I now realize that sentiment isn’t about this publication, because 225 is simply a mirror reflecting the stories and faces of your fellow residents, revealing their innovation, effort and passion.

That’s all this magazine has ever been about: celebrating the people who shape this community and who make life here interesting.

Regardless how much you may complain about traffic, crime or those close-minded fools who impede progress, the truth is you love Baton Rouge for the flawed place that it is, and you crave the better place you know it can become.

If you love 225, then guess what? You love Baton Rouge.

And so do I.