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WWL-TV's 'Mr. Everything' signs off to move to executive post with WYES

Dominic, quite simply, could never have been born anywhere else. He is a walking, talking Dominic-ipedia of New Orleans knowledge.

NEW ORLEANS — Editor's Note:  Dominic Massa, an executive producer of special projects and productions at WWL-TV will leave the station at the end of the day Friday to take a new post as the Chief Operating Officer at WYES-TV, a public TV station where he has already produced many documentaries on local culture. 

Dominic Massa started at WWL-TV at what seemed to be the tender age of 16 or 17.  

He was producing shows while still a student at Loyola and was quickly one of the best producers the station had.  

Dominic could do so many things that it was hard to figure out what to give him next. Producing? Of course. Writing? As clean and crisp as anyone at the station. Logistics? No problem. Personnel? He could pick them. Historian? Ah, now that’s where Dominic’s talents really shone.  

In the style of several of his mentors – Phil Johnson, Errol Laborde, Bill Capo and a host of others – Dominic wrote the kind of copy that pushed along the story at just the right pace – never too slow or mundane, never too fast and hectic. Just the right pace. Just the right phrasing.   

You watched a Dominic-written and produced documentary on WYES and you felt educated and you wanted even more. Sort of like dinner at Commander’s Palace, where you enjoyed it so much that you can’t wait to go back. Dominic can now be called a veteran, but even in his early 20s he had a grasp of knowledge of New Orleans history that far outpaced many others far more advanced in years. 

And there were the local obituaries. Dominic has (unfortunately) had reason to write so many the past few years - Tom Benson, Edwin Edwards, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Leah Chase and Blaine Kern, just to name a few. I recommend that anyone wanting to know about New Orleans and its history just take a look at his homage to any of the aforementioned individuals.  

A product of Catholic education from Jesuit High and Loyola University, Dominic rarely strayed far from New Orleans, though why should he? After all, the city and its treasures, tragedies, traditions and tumult could rival any other in the U.S., make that the world, for richness, color and all things both good and bad. 

Truthfully, where can you dine more elegantly or casually all while eating food perhaps matched but rarely topped anywhere? Where could you find the biggest of national celebrities and people with lesser names but just as talented?  

Where can you talk about the tragedy of hurricanes or the rebirth that comes after they’ve passed, or regale in the stories of an annual tradition of Mardi Gras that includes pageantry, ribaldry, stuffiness and the same collection of societal ills that plagued the region and the country?  

Dominic found the mirth, pathos and lessons in them all.   

Dominic knows the backgrounds of the city and region’s most prominent citizens and what they meant to the area. A prominent businessman who plied his trade in the early 1900s and later served as Rex or a bawdy performer from the 50s and 60s who went on to entertain for decades. They were all possible grist in Dominic’s mill of words.  

Dominic, quite simply, could never have been born anywhere else. He is a walking, talking Dominic-ipedia of New Orleans knowledge.   

If you cut him, he probably would bleed purple, green and gold.  

But Dominic’s talents go deeper than just writing, producing and coordinating everything from election night coverage (Don’t think that’s hard? Just try it), to Super Bowl coverage, Mardi Gras coverage, debates and so much more.  

He is a friend. Talking to him was like talking to a neighborhood bartender, someone who would let you complain, whine or tell him your problems and would come back with a deadpan reply, wink or body gyration that let you know both that he understood and that it couldn’t be all that bad.  

I doubt many have a bad word to say about Dominic. He rarely took his game face off. He was never too big to do any job and he could do them all. Someone called in sick? Dominic would video edit the entire show. A producer is ill? He could produce the show in no time at all. A big decision needed to be made – he could do that too.  

Those who have watched WWL-TV over the years remember the names – Pela, Metcalf, Elder, Robinette, Hill, Kotb, Henderson, Roberts, Johnson, Early, Swensen, Woltering, Capo, Paulsen, Hoss.  

Dominic Massa belongs right there on that list. Perhaps the general public wouldn’t recognize his name, but anyone who has worked at WWL-TV for the last three decades would and would also agree that it belongs with the others. 

WYES has made the best hire it will ever make.   

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