Long-time, former Advocate journalist Anne Price dies

A corpse on the lawn, a good play in town, the end of World War II, The Beatles’ arrival in New Orleans, an art show at Baton Rouge Gallery — The Advocate’s readers owe a lot to the reporting of the slender woman from Birch Tree, Mo.

Anne Price, 91, died Wednesday.

A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Price arrived at the newspaper in 1943 to take the job of wire editor. During the war, women held the top jobs in the Morning Advocate’s newsroom.

Price sometimes oversaw makeup of the front page and inside pages when she wasn’t covering the police.

One night, Price made up the sports section.

“I don’t think anybody knew the difference,” she said.

A few people knew all the hats Price wore, but many people knew her only from her work at the Capitol or covering the arts, reviewing plays or, in the early days, covering the cops.

“We went out to this bungalow once,” she said, “and there was a man lying face down on the lawn. The coroner came, took his foot and moved part of the body and said, ‘Yep, dead all right.’ I’ll never forget it.”

When The Beatles landed in New Orleans in the mid-1960s, Price got son Ted to help her cover the visit. “He got more out of them that I did,” she said. “We shared a byline.”

Anne and her husband, the late Ed Price, were a familiar couple at LSU plays. Ed Price, then the paper’s managing editor, wore suit and tie. Anne wore a nice dress and shoes she might have worn in the composing room.

Anne and Ed Price introduced arts coverage when she got her husband to put a play notice on the front page.

“I just put it in,” she said.

The deputy director of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, Kathy Scherer, called Anne Price “Baton Rouge’s longtime voice for the arts,” and praised her graciousness.

Keith Dixon agreed. The managing artistic director for Theatre Baton Rouge, called her “a champion for the arts” who was passionate about the Baton Rouge arts community and served on the theater’s board in the 1980s.

“She loved the arts in Baton Rouge,” he said. “She will be missed by the theatrical community.”

At the Capitol, she campaigned for music and art education in the schools.

She helped raise money for an art gallery at Southern University as a member of the Frank Hayden Memorial committee.

The conductor and music director of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Timothy Muffitt, said Anne Price was a frequent — and knowledgeable — presence at symphony events.

“I was always struck by her depth and breadth of knowledge and her curiosity,” he said. “With us, she was writing about music, and she had a great deal of knowledge about it. But she also had a wonderful curiosity about what we did ... . She wrote in such a way that stimulated you to want to learn more.”

Price also managed the Louisiana News Bureau, where she and a staff digested bills in the Legislature for the bureau’s clients.

Price was president of the Capitol Correspondents Association and hosted Gridiron Show script-writing sessions at her house.

In all, her career at The Advocate spanned 70 years.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, 825 Government St., Baton Rouge.

Anne Price is survived by her five sons, Edwin W. “Ted” Price III and wife Cheryl, Geoff Price and wife Keren, John Price and wife Paulia, Evan Price, Richard Price and wife Georgine; daughter Carolyn Price Neyland and husband Mark; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Robin Miller, Beth Colvin and Judy Bergeron contributed to this report.