THE ICON: Hap Glaudi
THE LEGACY: “I Speak As I Please”: That was the name Hap Glaudi chose for his sports column in his more than 20 years years writing for The New Orleans Item. Later, he would use that same title for his editorial segments on WWL-TV and WWL radio. There was a good reason he used it for so long: because he meant it. Being a rare sports journalist with an opinion at the time, Glaudi spoke as he pleased in his pull-no-punches commentary from the 1940s through the 1980s. Perhaps more significantly, though, “I Speak As I Please” also applied to his unapologetic, tell-tale 9th Ward accent, which endeared him to listeners through the New Orleans area. He was undeniably knowledgeable about sports, and that was important. But even more important was the fact that he was just Hap: a folksy, genuine, meet-you-at-the-corner-bar New Orleans character. When WWL-TV parted ways with him in 1978, outraged viewers picketed the station in protest. Because Hap wasn’t just some talking head. He was one of theirs.
THE ARTIST: Michael McManus
THE INSPIRATION: “If you’re wondering why Hap endured in a medium he found uncomfortable, it’s simply because he never tried to be anything he wasn’t. He remained a newsman with opinions, with insight, with a common touch, with a special feel for his city.” — The Times-Picayune’s Peter Finney, in a 1989 column