123 years of The St. Bernard VoiceJan 11th, 2013 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: Top Story
Today marks the 123 consecutive year The St. Bernard Voice has chronicled the life and times of St. Bernard Parish and its colorful residents. From government meetings to house fires, and everything in between, Grandson of founder William F. Roy and current Editor Emeritus E.M. Roy Jr. says the paper has shifted and changed with the parish over the last century.
“The masthead on some of the early paper’s said Stockyard Landing, LA because the town wasn’t named Arabi until the post office was built,” Roy explained. In 1890, The St. Bernard Voice was founded by William F. Roy and has been published weekly ever since—only missing five issues after Hurricane Katrina. A one man newsroom, William F. Roy acted as owner, publisher, editor, reporter, typesetter and pressman.
Until his death in 1948, he was still setting type by hand and was the paper’s sole editorial writer.
Although dedicated to his craft, William F. Roy did have quite a sense of humor, especially around April Fool’s Day. E.M. Roy particularly remembers his grandfather’s penchant for printing April Fool’s stories
on the front page. In the early 1900’s Roy published an April Fool’s story about Pancho Villa landing
at Jackson Barracks that caused local and national officials to descend to St. Bernard in hopes of catching
the infamous Mexican Revolutionary general.
“Daily newspapers, the police, and federal officials came down here looking for Pancho Villa,” explained
E.M. “They weren’t too happy when they discovered it was a joke.”
Upon William F. Roy’s death, his son E.M. Roy Sr. took over. He had worked with the elder Roy since an early age and has learned the tricks of the trade of a small newspaper. Both Roys were active community
members and both served as President of the Louisiana Press Association. E.M. Roy Jr. continued the one man newsroom family tradition in 1975.
Much like the rest of St. Bernard Parish, The Voice was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2008, Roy
made the decision to sell his family’s paper to long-time colleagues and fellow newspapermen Dale Benoit and Norris Babin, current President of the Louisiana Press Association.
“It’s been a privilege to continue the legacy of the Roy family in keeping the residents of St. Bernard Parish
informed of happenings in their parish,” said Benoit. “Our tenure as owners came at a very dark moment
in St. Bernard following Hurricane Katrina. It’s been an inspiration to read weekly how much has been
accomplished in re-building St. Bernard.”