Karen Swensen / Eyewitness News
Email: kswensen@wwltv.com | Twitter: @karenswensen

If you were to take a snapshot of WWL-TV in the last 30 years, chances are Dennis Woltering would be in it, somewhere in the thick of the mix inconspicuously calling more attention to the team than himself.

He's that kind of guy, one probably more comfortable being the backbone than the face of Channel 4, though he's been both for a long, long time.

It was 1977 when he came to Channel 4, and although Dennis' hair was a bit darker then and his name a bit shorter, his presence has remained unchanged -- confident from the start.

The young reporter who earned his stripes in Fargo had traded life in the chilly north for an adventure in the steamy south where the people were warm and the news town was hot.

From the police strike of the 70's to the World's Fair of the 80's, Dennis has covered the good, the bad and the unforgettable - including the 1982 Pan Am Flight 759 plane crash in Kenner.

With Dennis, there was an urgency to his stories and a determination to chase them wherever they led -- whether it was Colombia on the heels of the cocaine cartel or communist Cuba on the coattails of the Pope or a Mississippi River wharf in search of gutter punks. Dennis always delivered; it's what earned him the newsroom nickname 'bulldog.'

And nowhere was that dogged tenacity better served than in the political pen, whether it was a debate or an election or a one-on-one interview, Dennis dug deep.

Over the years he covered the rise of leaders and the fall of felons Edwin Edwards, Ray Nagin, Bill Jefferson and Aaron Broussard -- who, sometimes, were one and the same.

He's seen this city at its worst in the days after Hurricane Katrina -- the death, the despair -- but he's also seen it at its best in the years after Katrina -- the rebirth, the redemption.

There is no one more fun to celebrate life's happy moments with than Dennis, especially behind the scenes. This is that side of him, the one on the dance floor, the life of the party, the adult with the innocent grin who's guilty of bringing out the kid in all of us. You don't see it as often as we do, but you do see it.

Rex may be the King of Carnival, but Dennis is the prince of the party - or princess if you've seen him on Mardi Gras sometimes.

Whether it's with Zulu on St. Charles Avenue or the Krewe du Vieux, Dennis is there and if you know him and how much he loves this city with all its grit and grace, you know there's nowhere else he'd rather be except in the arms of his beautiful granddaughters, daughters and wife.

And so as we celebrate the career of a legendary journalist, the one who has not only been the backbone and face of WWL-TV, but its heart and soul, too. We know he will be in great hands.

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