Despite his sometimes controversial reputation (and what community icon doesn’t have one?), to really know Louis Black, is to love him. Louis, the editor of The Austin Chronicle and co-founder of SXSW, was nothing short of my mentor for the years I worked at the festival. I learned so much from watching him work, and was always awed by the way he ran his weekly newspaper (for which I contributed a few music reviews and features over the years). David Carr checks in with Louis during SXSW, for this terrific profile in The New York Times:
“We have a critical mass of culture, of government, of people who like to read, that makes this a good place to have a newspaper like ours.” A cop walks by and high-fives Mr. Black, which is not the general relationship between most newspapers and local law enforcement, but The Chronicle’s footprint is so deep here — millions and millions of dollars are flowing into the city this week — that people generally think that what’s good for The Chronicle is good for the community and vice versa.
It was getting on toward 11 p.m., which is high noon during the days of the festival, and Mr. Black dropped me at a club. I watched him walk down the street and he couldn’t get three steps without someone stopping him to say hello or tell him thanks. Imagine that: a newspaper man being one of the most popular guys in town.