DeRidder native awarded Pulitzer Prize - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

DeRidder native awarded Pulitzer Prize

Reported by Britney Glaser

September 11, 2006

September 11th will now hold a special meaning for one DeRidder native. Irwin Thompson, a DeRidder High School graduate with the class of 1979 can remember his days on the high school's yearbook staff.  Now, Thompson works as a senior staff photographer with the Dallas Morning News. Thompson has taken his love for photography around the world and recently clinched the top award for excellence in photography. Thompson visited his alma mater today, where he spoke to hundreds of students about achieving his dream and winning the Pulitzer Prize.  

When Hurricane Katrina was making her way toward the Louisiana coast, Thompson was given the assignment of photographing the storm.  He never knew just how challenging this assignment would be.  "It was incredibly surreal.  You couldn't believe that it was happening in the United States," recalled Thompson. "I was taking pictures...and you don't ask people their names until after you get the pictures, but the people were so overwhelmed by what they were going through, that really...they didn't even see me."

Thompson's images have been able to tell the world the true story of struggle and recovery for New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, and his work has rewarded him with the top honor, a Pulitzer Prize.  Thompson said, "It hasn't soaked in yet.  It's mind boggling. That's something I never really thought of.  As a photojournalist you do your job, and if you work hard those things will come to you...I still don't believe it."

DeRidder Mayor Ron Roberts took notice of Thompson's huge accomplishment and decided to give him a historical honor in the city.  September 11th in DeRidder is now known as "Irwin Thompson Day."  "I'm still saying 'wow,' said Thompson, " because you know the mayor and his staff have worked hard on 'Irwin Thompson Day' and I've been smiling all day and I'll be smiling on my way back to Dallas today.  It's just an incredible feeling."

Much like the images of Hurricane Katrina that won't be forgotten, neither will Thompson's story. With a key to the city and a day named in his honor, his story in DeRidder will live on.

Thompson told the students at DeRidder High School, "Chase your dreams. If you can believe it, you can achieve it, so just go for it."

Thompson's photos are on display at the DeRidder City Hall.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Cold weather delays contribute to postponement of Karey trial

    Cold weather delays contribute to postponement of Karey trial

    Thursday, January 18 2018 10:04 PM EST2018-01-19 03:04:25 GMT
    Woodrow Karey and Pastor Ronald Harris (Source: KPLC)Woodrow Karey and Pastor Ronald Harris (Source: KPLC)

    It's coming up on five years since the killing of a local pastor in front of his congregation. Woodrow Karey is charged with manslaughter  in the death of Ronald Harris, pastor of Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center. Karey's trial was set for this week but has been postponed. The trial is now set for April 2. Preliminary jury selection was just starting in the trial of Woodrow Karey when a winter storm blew through Southwest Louisiana early this week, costing the court a ...

    More >>

    It's coming up on five years since the killing of a local pastor in front of his congregation. Woodrow Karey is charged with manslaughter  in the death of Ronald Harris, pastor of Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center. Karey's trial was set for this week but has been postponed. The trial is now set for April 2. Preliminary jury selection was just starting in the trial of Woodrow Karey when a winter storm blew through Southwest Louisiana early this week, costing the court a ...

    More >>
  • Beauregard Waterworks District 2, East Allen Waterworks district, and Elton under precautionary boil advisory

    Beauregard Waterworks District 2, East Allen Waterworks district, and Elton under precautionary boil advisory

    Thursday, January 18 2018 9:46 PM EST2018-01-19 02:46:08 GMT
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)

    Fields, Starks and Merryville are without water following a system failure in the Fields area, officials with Waterworks District 2 said. Once water is restored, a precautionary boil advisory will be in place. The advisory will be lifted once water samples have been tested by the Department of Health and Hospitals and found safe to drink. Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    Fields, Starks and Merryville are without water following a system failure in the Fields area, officials with Waterworks District 2 said. Once water is restored, a precautionary boil advisory will be in place. The advisory will be lifted once water samples have been tested by the Department of Health and Hospitals and found safe to drink. Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>
  • Paycheck boost could come next month for most Americans

    Paycheck boost could come next month for most Americans

    Thursday, January 18 2018 8:00 PM EST2018-01-19 01:00:37 GMT
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)

    More money could be coming to your wallet thanks to the federal tax overhaul congress passed a month ago.  Last week the United States Treasury Department announced it's adjusted the amount the Internal Revenue Service will take out of paychecks to account for the new tax law. Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson said around 90% of Americans will see a boost in their paychecks. "The reason for it is that it's a combination of new tax brackets and tax rates that are being appl...

    More >>

    More money could be coming to your wallet thanks to the federal tax overhaul congress passed a month ago.  Last week the United States Treasury Department announced it's adjusted the amount the Internal Revenue Service will take out of paychecks to account for the new tax law. Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson said around 90% of Americans will see a boost in their paychecks. "The reason for it is that it's a combination of new tax brackets and tax rates that are being appl...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly