In Memoriam: Ronnie Virgets
This week, newsrooms across New Orleans mourn the loss of Ronnie Virgets, who died Monday, May 20 at the age of 77.
Virgets was a journalist, an author, a commentator, a storyteller, and a New Orleans icon. His trademark smile and raspy voice would herald a crowd.
His writing was clever, clear and convincing. His style was uniquely Virgets-esque. His ability to put a reader in the center of a scene through his colorful chronicling was spellbinding. Virgets was gifted and motivated by his passion for journalism and the opportunity to weave a story like it was his own soliloquy. And though he never needed accolades to either validate or inspire his creativity, he earned a slew of them. An Emmy, an Edward R. Murrow nomination, two Eclipse honors and our Press Club of New Orleans Lifetime Achievement Award all graced his shelves.
But one of the best recognitions bestowed upon him came from his friends at the New Orleans Fairgrounds who hung a portrait of Virgets in the racetrack’s Press Box Hall of Fame. Virgets was somewhat of a railbird, and though he at times walked with kings he was most comfortable mingling with the masses.
We will deeply miss our accomplished, literary YAT. He once called New Orleans “the storytelling capital of North America.” This week the spotlight dimmed on one of our city’s most treasured storytellers. On behalf of every journalist, the Press Club of New Orleans sends its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Virgets. The heavens just welcomed a one-of-a-kind sensation.
(Written by PCNO board member Greg Buisson on behalf of the board.)