Nov. 7, 2000. Friends and colleagues were hunched around a TV, watching election returns. I don't remember what the voice behind me said -- only that as the evening wore on, its jokes got funnier.
Finally, around the time the count dead-ended into Florida, I turned around to tell the smirking smart-ass that he was the wittiest person in Atlanta. He introduced himself as Andy.
A week or two later, Andisheh Nouraee called to see if he could shoot a few photos for Creative Loafing. Are you kidding? You can shoot for us, but you're a writer! It turns out he was a very good writer – the secret nerd who thinks about things like sentence structure and verb selection before sending copy to his editor.
So Andy became our weekend man-about-town. His Scene & Herd column was the funniest regular column ever written in Atlanta (I'm biased, but you know I'm right). Just as importantly, he managed to use a genre that can easily devolve into insipid PR babble as the platform for insightful, if sometimes cynical, commentary on the city's evolving culture.
Then came 9/11. We're a local paper, but we figured our readers might want a CL twist on the War on Terror. And there was Andy.
Contrary to a couple of touching letters we've received in response to his Don't Panic column, he's not a "proud Muslim woman." In fact, Andy is a Maryland native whose folks emigrated from Iran and who has a degree in Middle Eastern studies. Perfect! Don't Panic: Your war questions answered has since won a Green Eyeshade Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and is now run in at least four alternative weeklies.
Andy eventually got burned out on Scene & Herd. I'm sure many of you miss his column. I do. Since he bagged it, I've wanted more Andisheh in the paper. Hell, now that you think about, you must realize that more-Andisheh CL is what you've been missing in life. Right?
There was only one solution: to buy him.
So I'm pleased to announce that Andisheh Nouraee now is a senior writer for Creative Loafing. He'll continue to write Don't Panic. But you also can expect cover stories with his byline. And he's taking a lead role in developing two new features: our Fresh Loaf news blog, which you should check out at CLFreshLoaf.com, and a print complement to Fresh Loaf that we'll be rolling out in a couple of weeks in the Fallout section.
That means, bug off, Atlanta Peach. Pay him what you owe him. But Andy's ours now!
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