Former Associated Press correspondent Guy Coates, who reported on the Gulf Coast hurricane and civil rights, fought off a shooting in a New Orleans sniper shooting incident, recording political turmoil in his native Louisiana for 40 years. He was 80 years old.
His wife Jonica said on Wednesday he died at their Baton Rouge home due to nature.
A graduate of Northeast Louisiana University in his hometown of Monroe, Coates stinted at Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times. The Age of Shreveport; KNOE-Monroe Television; Shreveport KSLA-TV. He joined the New Orleans AP in 1968. There, the assignments can be mediocre — hours at the broadcast rewrite desk — or dangerous.
“He and I died almost together near a mid-air collision during the 1971 campaign,” former fourth-term governor Edwin Edwards said in a statement released Wednesday through his biographer Leo Honeycut. Said in. “We laughed at it, but much later,” he added, recalling a close call during the governor’s first campaign shortly after takeoff from Nakitosh, Louisiana.
When the storm devastated the Mississippi coast in 1969, Coates survived the landing of Hurricane Camille, with storm surges and wind speeds estimated at over 170 mph (274 km). It was one of the few dangerous storms he covered.
And Coates, who was anxious to reach payphones before mobile phones, ran through the wide open streets of downtown New Orleans in 1973, trapping snipers at the then Howard Johnson Hotel. I did.
Police officers offered to give him a cover. “When they sent a stream of lead into the sky, like something in the western part of Grade B, I bolted it across the canyon floor,” he later told the first-person AP. I remembered it.
By the time he permanently moved to the AP’s office in the State Capitol of Baton Rouge in 1973, he sometimes covered the government. Jimmie Davis and John McKaysen.
The four governors, Edwards, Dave Treen, Buddy Roemer, and Mike Foster, were to be covered by a state capitol report when high school student Edwards began his first term in four terms. This is because a treaty has been put in place to calm down and write a new state constitution.
In a new book about the convention, Louisiana political writer Jeremy Alford described Coates as “the man who cut his teeth during the golden grizzly era of American journalism.” When he was a Cub reporter, many of his colleagues hid a pint (or two pints) of whiskey in their desk and / or pocket. “
Coates and his wife Jonica loved to travel, but Coates did not lose his North Louisiana droll, nor the common touch of gaining the trust and respect of politicians on both sides of the political division. He hunted ducks with Republican Foster. And when Edwards, a lifelong Democrat, married his second wife, Candy Piko, at the Governor’s residence in 1994, Coates and AP photographer Bill Haver were the only journalists at hand.
“He always stood in front of the most difficult questions at press conferences, but he was one of the few who could sweat me to answer, but both sides of the question, Edwards said. It turns out that it is usually fair to report. “
“He was very sensitive and focused on the most substantive issues,” former Senator Randy Ewing said Wednesday. “Our people in the legislature knew that his only agenda was to report facts on those issues.”
Coates’ weekly AP analysis of state government issues was a must read for many at the Capitol. So was a glimpse of his occasional personal life in Louisiana — for example, the funeral of the Evangeline parish for his father-in-law. Or, in recollection of his 1955 expedition to Shreveport at the age of 15, he drove a 1931 Model A and met a young Elvis Presley at Louisiana Hayride. The four of us who traveled … were proud to meet him on Hayride before he became anyone. ”
In addition to his wife, Coates has one son, three daughters, and four grandchildren. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no funeral is planned.
Baton Rouge Associated Press correspondent Melinda Desrat contributed to this report.
Louisiana’s longtime AP reporter Guy Coates dies in 80 politics The Associated Press Edwin Edwards sniper in Louisiana
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