I’m moving to Shreveport in exactly a week, but before I go, I want to reflect on what it’s been like living in an area made famous by a family of bearded men who make duck calls for a living. When I first announced I was moving to Monroe in 2011, my brother-in-law got really excited, “That’s where the Duck Dynasty people live!” I looked at him funny and told him I didn’t know who he was talking about.
When I got here I noticed Duck Commander bumper stickers on a lot of cars and signs in front of stores reading, “Duck Commander Merchandise sold here!” I still had no idea what they were talking about. Then one day last summer, my work phone rang, it was a woman asking me to go out to Richland Parish and cover the search of a missing man. “Mountain Man is even helping us search!” Mountain man? What in the world. I went to tell the assignment desk and as soon the words “Mountain Man” escaped my lips, everyone in the newsroom started freaking out. I still had no idea what the fuss was about. When I met Mountain Man, he seemed like a really regular redneck guy with a beard who spoke really slow. To find out what the big deal was, I finally broke down and decided to watch the show on A & E. Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard. The show is really funny! I instantly became a fan. It’s cool seeing these people on national tv going to the same stores and areas that I have been to and know so well.
As their popularity grew in 2012, many of my out-of-state friends began asking me if I have ever run into the stars of the reality show. I personally have never run into them randomly. Although I do know a lot of people who have. Whether it’s just passing them on the road, or seeing them at Brookshires or at a ULM football game, or even sporting events where their kids go to school, it’s known to happen in the Monroe-West Monroe area. After all, they are real people.
The more and more episodes I watched, the bigger fan I became. Then in February of this year, I was asked to go help cover a story about the Duck Dynasty clan’s experience at the Super Bowl in New Orleans. I was accompanied by two other super Duck Dynasty fans from the station and as we pulled up to the Duck Commander warehouse, me and one of the other reporters began squealing like children. But as soon as we parked we put our game faces on and acted like it was no big deal to be seeing the people we watch on TV in person. Funny saying that, considering we are also on TV, albeit not national but still the same concept.
I have never really met a real celebrity before, so it was strange acting nonchalant shaking Willie and his older brother Alan’s hand. Alan doesn’t appear on the show, but handles their media relations for the group. We interviewed him then went to the Duck Commander store to get b-roll, all the while chit chatting with the two. Turns out they don’t watch local news, so we teased them about it. It was a fun experience and really the way you see the family acting on the show, is how they really are in real life.
The next day I used bits of the interview to turn a story about how the Robertson family is putting Monroe-West Monroe on the map and really helping out local tourism.
You can watch that here:
You can also watch my interview with Mountain Man here: