Edward Pratt: A little girl’s Christmas letter

Maybe, just maybe, she’s doing something right, Qiana Thomas-Armstead thought when she saw a Christmas letter that her 7-year-old daughter wrote to a terminally ill little girl. “It brought tears to my eyes,” Thomas-Armstead said. “It got me over a tough period I was going through.” Sometimes, it takes our youngest celebrants and their innocence to … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Trio spans many years of friendship

Many years ago, my son struck up a friendship in kindergarten with a boy named Chris who lived in the same subdivision. For the next 24 years, they have been the best of friends. This column is about the in-between years and another friend who made them one of the smartest and most sarcastic trios ever. … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Lack of indictments troubling

Protesters in Times Square carry signs in reaction to a non indictment against a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, Wednesday Dec. 3, 2014 in New York.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

I’m bummed. What does a cop have to do for a grand jury to bring an indictment? Eric Garner’s death in New York City seemed to be a slam-dunk case. In this one, a New York police officer leapt on the back of an unarmed man, then got him in a chokehold to help subdue … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Looting, burning don’t solve problems

The verdict in Ferguson, Missouri, where a grand jury voted not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing an unarmed African-American teenager, was predictable. It is difficult to get an indictment of a law enforcement officer accused of killing someone in the line of duty, even when that officer chases a suspect and shoots … Continue reading →

Ed Pratt: The cold ‘cold case’ at Southern

I was very busy last week, so I didn’t get to write about an injustice that I have written about several times. But I have made time this week. Forty-two years ago last Sunday, on Nov. 16, 1972, two unarmed, innocent Southern University students were shot to death by Baton Rouge law enforcement officers on Southern University’s … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Voting was big deal for me

When I was a teenager there were two places I wanted to go when I reached 18 years old. One was Johnny’s Liquor Store at the corner of Terrace Street and East Boulevard, and the other was the Registrar of Voters Office. Johnny’s was a social and political hub of my community. Doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, bricklayers, … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Bus ride has some senior moments

My wife and I are big Southern University Jaguar football fans. We have traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana, to Jacksonville, Florida, and to some place called Normal, Alabama, to see the team play. For years, we drove or flew to the games. We don’t drive as much these days to games that are more than three hours away. … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Plauche death brings back dark questions

Gary Plauche is one of the big interviews I never got when I was a newspaper reporter. I usually could get interviews that other reporters couldn’t and others wouldn’t attempt. But Mr. Plauche escaped me. I tried to interview his wife, his friends and everyone else close to him as an avenue into … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Chat with grandson brings good news

This past weekend, I got to watch a video of my grandson making some dazzling moves on the football field. He took a kickoff from near his goal and made a couple quick moves before darting and slashing across the field more than 90 yards to a touchdown. I was smiling and laughing as I watched him. … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: High school queen handles royal flip

I am a fan of Lauren Williams, and you should be, too. Lauren Williams fits the adage, “It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.” Last week, the 17-year-old high school senior was all smiles and looking splendid in her beautiful dress as she entered her school’s auditorium. She was Baton Rouge’s Miss McKinley High, … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Spankings helped keep me from trouble

I was 5 years old, and the men at Man King’s (pronounced Main Kang’s) car repair shop had grown weary of me begging them for beer. The shop was two doors down from my house. The men were listening to a baseball game on a transistor radio while they worked on cars under a shed and drank … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Memories from early days in newsroom

It was about this time 12 years ago that I retired from the daily newspaper business. After 26 years of working at four newspapers and holding several positions, I had come to the end. It didn’t hurt that I had an offer of a higher-paying job. A bunch of late nights chasing dead bodies, early morning house … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Grieve for the shootings here at home

Terry Coleman

There was raw emotion on display recently when an unarmed black youth was shot and killed. A portion of the African-American community was shocked and others were outraged. A group got together to express how they felt about the tragedy, to express their sorrow and to alert the public that something has to be done to … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: My little mountain (mis)adventure

This is a tale about doing something stupid, and it’s a story about my recent vacation. So, if you are like me and don’t like vacation stories, feel free to check out right now, and there will be no hard feelings. About a week ago, I tagged along with my wife on a trip to … Continue reading →

Pratt: The generations’ burden of love

I was with a group of friends recently in the midst of getting a location ready for a cookout. This was an annual event for my high school classmates and me. Essentially, it’s a reason to eat barbecue ribs and chicken, devour as many side dishes as possible, engage in fellowship and find … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Facing challenge of social media world

Earlier this week, I got “straightened out” by some folks at a meeting of a group I lead. For those who don’t know the jargon, “straightened out” means someone corrected me and told me the right thing to do. I head a group that basically serves in an advisory position for another entity. There have been some … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Unfortunate return to the Old South

I joined many Baton Rouge residents the other night to watch public television’s “Frontline” documentary, “Separate and Unequal,” which focused on the St. George community’s effort to form its own city and school system in East Baton Rouge Parish. It makes no difference whether you are pro- or anti-incorporation, we looked like the old racial South. … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Student beats big odds for dreams

I met Darnell Caldwell and her big smile a couple of days ago after discovering she had won a big monetary scholarship. She is a nursing student who has excelled and impressed people who only know that she has a chance to be great at her chosen profession. They don’t know the road that she has … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Seeing a man about his horse

Photo by EDWARD PRATT -- Troy Rhines rides his horse to the barbershop on Thomas H. Delpit Drive.

One recent evening, I was driving south on Thomas H. Delpit Drive in Baton Rouge, just past the venerable Parker and Dunbar barber shop when I had to make a U-turn. There was a horse standing outside the barbershop. I was on my way to a meeting at the time. But I had to go back. … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: A church wedding, 50 years later

My friend Rita is getting married again, sort of, this evening. She’s never been divorced. In fact, she and Linnis have been married for 50 years. The first time, Linnis and Rita Vallery got married in a relative’s backyard. The ‘do-over’ will be in a church. “I am surprised he’s going along with it,” … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Being stepdad has special challenges

On my wedding day, I became a husband and an instant member of a special club: stepfathers. My stepdaughter, Mel, was 8 years old at the time. Folks, being a stepfather isn’t easy. And to soon-to-be stepfathers, you better hitch up your big-boy britches because the ride can be tough. If being a stepfather didn’t … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Funerals now under threat of violence

Hall Davis IV, Hall Davis and Son Funeral Home

Imagine, if you will, funeral workers carrying concealed weapons. The first time Hall Davis IV mentioned that to me, it took some time to sink in. It bounced around in my head for about a month before I initially considered writing about it. What he is talking about is yet another sad commentary on … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Coach made big difference in life

There I was, 16 years old, on the McKinley High School football practice field. It was a warm summer morning heading toward a paint-peeling afternoon. This was the start of the dog days leading up to the 1970-71 football season. I was 5’7” and 135 pounds and trying to make the team as a defensive back. … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Stiff sentences won’t win drug war

In Louisiana, you can criticize our lagging public education system and our underfunded higher education system but, mister, you can’t say anything about the way we load up prisons. We will march your keister off to the slammer, depending on how you look at it, with the best of them. Wait, we are the best of … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: One man’s struggle toward graduation

At the end of every college semester, I join thousands of people watching students with beaming smiles walk across a stage to get a diploma. It is a great sight as you watch them wave to parents, guardians, families and friends. At many historically black colleges and universities, the occasion is kind of … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Sterling coverage missed bigger story

Since last weekend, the national media have been focused on the outlandish and racist comments alleged to have been made in a surreptitiously recorded conversation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Among the 80-year-old’s horrible alleged comments in a rant with a 31-year-old former girlfriend was that he didn’t want basketball great Magic Johnson and other … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Eavesdropping leads to great connection

It was one of my typical two-hour Saturday or Sunday stints at the Books-A-Million store. I usually sit in front of my laptop with notepads, my smartphone and good intentions of getting organized for the week ahead. I usually plow through the 300 to 500 emails a week I get from people selling weekend getaways, great dinners … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Two decades ago, warnings were there

If Baton Rouge’s black community thinks violence is crippling its young adults, just wait until the next generation grows up. Thousands of elementary schoolchildren who see violence as normal as lacing up their Air Jordan shoes are gathering like angry storm clouds here. These are children who revere their neighborhood drug dealer but don’t know the … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: The time I ran away from home

I was happy to see a potentially sad story end in happiness Wednesday when a 10-year-old Baton Rouge girl ran away from home, only to be found a few hours later and returned to her household. I write this column not to make light of a possible tragedy but to illuminate the fact that I also ran … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Edwards race a blast from the past

Did you hear? Edwin Edwards is running for Congress. That’s a joke. I know you’ve heard about it. But, before I get to that: About 18 months ago, my wife and I had just walked out of Cracker Barrel restaurant in Gonzales and were heading to our car when a familiar face was headed our way. … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Neighbors made mark upon childhood

A few weeks ago, I visited the location of the first place I knew as home, 908 Howard St., an area now called Old South Baton Rouge. I had to locate my former residence by landmarks because the three-room, shotgun house is gone, along with the row of six identical houses. I … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Cancer survivor stays on her feet

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Thousands of people start the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K run/walk at LSU's Old Front Nine Saturday, March 2, 2013.

Seventy-eight-year old Dorothy Betts walked past me Sunday as I was standing on the downtown levee honing my photograph-taking skills with my fancy schmancy camera. She called me by name, which always gives me the “willies” when I don’t know someone. She said she recognized me from the photograph with my column, which she added, “I read … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Cupcake lady faces another blow

Kasie Coleman has had cancer twice. She has had key organs removed because of cancer, and she once thought her life was running headlong into a swift end. She battled back from all of that with faith and the idea that things would get better. Coleman even had the grit to start her own business in north … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Sam brings sea change to football

So, finally, it seems the once unthinkable is going to happen — an openly gay athlete will be strapping on pads and a helmet on Sundays to play in the hallowed National Football League. University of Missouri football player Michael Sam announced recently he is a happy gay man who wants to play professional football. (I … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: A missed chance to do some good

I don’t know how many times over the years I have heard folks say, “I can’t wait until I get home. I’m going to sit back and relax and watch TV, or read or do whatever. I’ll just be glad not to have to go to work.” Well, lo and behold, I didn’t see a lot of … Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Reaction to Sherman rant was overblown

Just when I was getting tired of hearing Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning shouting “Omaha, Omaha,” there was Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman screaming at me. To say the least, it was a little unsettling. He was boasting about the play he had just pulled off to send his team to the Super Bowl while simultaneously … Continue reading →

Ed Pratt: Library noisy for good reasons

There I was early on a Thursday evening in Baton Rouge’s Carver Branch Library sitting with my laptop in front of me. I was attached to my iPhone and earphones (Because I’m cool like that.) I was composing my notes for a presentation before heading to a meeting. Sometimes, … Continue reading →

Ed Pratt: Athletes might need English, speech classes

Barely minutes after 20-year-old quarterback Jameis Winston guided the Florida State Seminoles to the BCS college football national championship, a commentator stuck a microphone in front of him. Within seconds, America cringed. Social media was abuzz with criticism and jokes about his broken English and challenged speaking … Continue reading →

Ed Pratt: Words can hurt, have consequence

Okay, folks, one more time: Words can hurt and anger. If you are in a powerful position, be careful what you say and how you say it. The latest to feel the wrath of dribbling out hurtful words is Phil Robertson, one of the stars of the monstrously popular TV reality show “Duck Dynasty.” In a … Continue reading →

Ed Pratt: Single mom proves you can defy odds

Years ago, Shatina Drye saw herself barreling headlong into negative statistics that say chances of success are limited for families headed by low-income, single, African-American mothers. The single mother of three boys has defeated the odds and wants people to know about it. The graduating senior at Southern University wrote an essay about it called “Can … Continue reading →

Ed Pratt: Eating season a challenge

We all know the four tough health seasons of the year. There is the flu season. We have the cold season. There is the allergy season. And, the beast that it is, we have the fat season. Fat season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, is a brutal time for folks such as myself who are trying … Continue reading →