This is the ninth part in a series of images and interviews about how life has changed (or not) during the COVID-19 quarantine. The purpose is to show how we’re all in this together and we’re not all that dissimilar.
Jenn Tormo is the editor of 225 Magazine in Baton Rouge. They’re known for their amazing coverage of local eateries, arts, and community leaders. She heads up a small team of dedicated journalists to bring the bright side of our amazing region.
Q. How has the stay-home order changed how you manage your crew?
A. We’re mostly a positive source of information for people. People look to us to figure out what new restaurants and venues are opening. So when this first began, we started to think of ways to give people what they look to us for, but at the same time shift our coverage to tell these stories of what’s happening. The heart of what we do has always been journalism and storytelling. Our May issue is all about restaurants and how they’re fighting to save their businesses. We’re seeing restaurants collaborate together in really creative ways, seeing them open their own delivery services, encouraging each other and the public to continue support local restaurants. We’re seeing them feed healthcare workers. So with this story, we definitely want to show the positives coming from the crisis, but balance it with the reality that it’s about survival and these small businesses working to save themselves.
We did a story on how the arts community has come up with creative ways to share work in a more digital and format. Right now, we’re working on features about nurses and doctors and everything they are seeing on the front lines. We are really stepping up to show how the community pulls together in times of crisis, which isn’t totally new to us since the flood in 2016.
Now we have the strange added challenge of doing all this from home, remotely. The coronavirus is one of the biggest stories news outlets will ever cover.
Q. You’re a newlywed! Congrats! How has being quarantined together worked in your new marriage?
A. We got married on January 25 and honeymooned in Italy and Spain. When we got home just a few weeks later, we saw stories of cases of coronavirus in Italy and Spain. And we are seeing our friends have to cancel weddings. We are grateful we were able to have our big celebration right before the gates closed, so to speak. I never would have imagined our second month of marriage would be in quarantine together.
We’ve turned this time into a chance to make “my” place into “our” place. We’ve been reorganizing and rearranging and really make this place ours. We’ve been cooking together a lot, and finding happiness in the small things.
One night, our dating anniversary, was a few weeks into quarantine. To make it special, we got dressed up and my husband cooked a really nice Italian dinner that was reminiscent of our honeymoon, and he made a video card of all these little moments from our honeymoon. It was really sweet, and one of the happiest moments during our quarantine and our new marriage.
Q. That’s a great segue into my next question. What is your silver lining?
A. I feel grateful for still having my job, even though I’m unable to go out and do the things I’ve been able to do before. I also discovered that even though I wasn’t inspired, I was still creating just on a smaller scale. For example, I may be going to a concert or restaurant or consuming someone else’s creativity; now, it’s more of we have been creating at home by cooking and plating meals, decorating our apartment.
Thank you, Jenn, for all you do to shine a light on the amazing place that Baton Rouge is to live.