This news just broke my heart. Mary Foster was one of those old-school reporters who always got the story right, worked her tail off, and attacked both her job and her life as a great adventure. I adored her. She was a pro's pro. Tough as nails, fun as a gaggle of monkeys with laughing gas, energetic as a Tasmanian devil on amphetamines.
I first met her in the summer after my freshman year at Georgetown University. She was hosting a nightly sports talk show on the radio, and I read in the paper that once a week for a month that summer she would allow somebody to "guest host" her show. I wrote in, saying that I was about to begin as Sports Editor of the Georgetown HOYA newspaper, that I was a lifelong Saints fan and sports fanatic overall, and that I would love to do her show. She picked me. It was the first time I had ever been on air. She lined up Butch van Breda Kolff, former coach of the New Orleans Jazz, the University of New Orleans Privateers, and the Los Angeles Lakers, for me to interview. It went great. She made me feel so at home, in every way. She kidded me on air as if she had known me all my life; she helped me handle all the transitions from one story to the next; and so on. She was terrific. Then, afterwards, she surprised me by taking me to dinner at Mr. B's restaurant (a fantastic part of the extended family of Brennan's family restaurants) with her and her producer -- and then surprised me further by having legendary Times-Picayune/States-Item sports columnist Pete Finney join us! I idolized Finney!
Anyway, as I worked my way through the ranks of New Orleans journalism in subsequent years, I always loved running into Mary. And for years as I moved around the country, I loved seeing her byline on AP stories from New Orleans. She was indefatigable. One of a kind. And full of heart.
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