Friday, August 29, 2014

Hurricanes and Other Foul Winds

It's a good year when Louisianians make it through the week when August ends and September begins without any trauma or turmoil. Usually it's a hurricane or tropical storm that causes the trouble:

  • On today's date two years ago, Hurricane Isaac made landfall on the Louisiana coast.
  • A year earlier, on September 3, 2011, my sister and I cut our Appalachian vacation short and drove straight home to beat Tropical Storm Lee's arrival here.
  • In 2008 Hurricane Gustav arrived here on September 1st, Labor Day. 
  • The one everybody remembers, of course, was Hurricane Katrina. Katrina made landfall in Louisiana exactly nine years ago today.

Rain is predicted for every day of the Labor Day weekend, but no damaging winds are expected to accompany it. Thank goodness and knock on wood.

This year a different kind of ill wind has blown into our area and continues to grab the headlines. News broke on Wednesday that Scott Rogers, a prominent local TV personality, had been found shot to death in his upscale home as a result of an apparent murder/attempted suicide. The alleged shooter remains in the hospital in critical condition from a gunshot wound as doctors apparently fight to keep him alive so that he can eventually be indicted for Rogers' murder. Go figure.

Rogers' TV show, Around Town, came on too early in the morning for me to watch on a regular basis, but I've certainly seen him on television often enough through the years to know he was on Baton Rouge's hypothetical "Who's Who?" list. I would have described him as pleasant, mild-mannered and...perky, maybe. I might even have added slightly effeminate, notwithstanding the fact that the average Louisiana good-ole-boy would apply that adjective to every male who has a British accent and isn't James Bond. Comments at the end of early online news articles have given me the impression that Rogers enjoyed an impeccable reputation in Baton Rouge and was highly regarded for his kindness in general and for his efforts in regard to the promotion of non-profit fundraising events.

As if the killing/botched suicide weren't shocking enough, the ongoing news story is being peeled like an onion, and the layers now include allegations of a child molestation trial in Rogers' native England and a long history of molesting other young men over a period of many years, two of whom followed him here from England, one of whom is his alleged murderer, business partner and son-in-law. According to news reports, a 10-year-old adopted son and a 2-year-old foster son were removed from Rogers' custody about two weeks ago.

I'm sensitive enough--human enough--to realize that this story is tragic on many levels, and I do feel sympathy for those whose lives were affected, positively or negatively, by a relationship with Rogers and/or by his death. But I'm also honest enough to admit that the avid crime-novel reader in me finds this whole story fascinating. I doubt that I'm alone in that. This wouldn't be the first time that the concept of a double life--a charismatic character with a dark side--has kept readers turning pages late into the night.

You can read about Scott Rogers here and here. If this story doesn't turn into a book or a made-for-TV movie, I'll eat my hat.

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