Mar 29, 2024 - News

Margaret Orr retires as WDSU's chief meteorologist

Photo shows WDSU chief meteorologist Margaret Orr with her dog Bleu sitting in front of her flower garden.

Margaret Orr plans to spend her retirement dealing with the weeds in her New Orleans garden. Bleu, her 15-year-old border collie, is always at her side. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Margaret Orr signs off New Orleans' airwaves today after 45 years.

Why it matters: WDSU's chief meteorologist has been a fixture in the city's media landscape for decades, and she will be missed.

The big picture: Orr's praises have been rolling in all week, including a key to the city and a congressional proclamation from U.S. Rep. Troy Carter.

Driving the news: Orr is retiring to spend more time with her grandkids and working in her flower beds, she tells Axios during a walk through her Lakeview garden.

  • She's looking forward to digging in the dirt and not having to worry about camera-ready hair.
  • "A gardener's work is never done," she says, pulling out a weed and deadheading a flower. Bleu, her 15-year-old border collie, sticks next to her.
  • She's an avid swimmer and plans to train for a beginner's triathlon too.
Photo shows Margaret Orr smiling at a red strawberry she picked from her garden.
Margaret Orr picked her first strawberry of the year last week from her garden. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Zoom out: The redheaded "Orracle of New Orleans" has become part of the cultural fabric of city.

  • Her fan club founded the Krewe of Barkus, and more of her fans started a tribute subkrewe called the "The Weathergirls" for krewedelusion.
  • Muses had a Margaret Orr float, and she rode as the honorary Muse this year.

Orr talked with Axios about her career earlier this month.

On-air moment she would do-over: "Once it's done, it's done. Learn from anything that didn't go well and move on."

Why New Orleans? "Frankly, this is my home. I want to keep everyone safe."

  • She's covered 31 hurricanes, including Katrina and Ida.

Advice for working moms: "It's hard. Have faith in yourself. Don't give up. Keep going."

  • She says she used to fall asleep in the carpool line after working the morning shift and a school staffer would wake her up to get her three children.

Favorite treat: Bittersweet Confections' chocolate cake.

  • "I'm very big on chocolate," she says, taking a sip of her iced coffee from Acorn with Ghiradelli chocolate syrup.
Photo shows Margaret Orr picking a red strawberry while kids toys hang out in her garden.
Margaret Orr, decked out in a spring dress and sparkly sneakers, picks her first strawberry of the year while balancing her mocha coffee and cell phone in her other hand. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Favorite restaurant: Rosedale is a favorite. The fish tacos at Station 6. Mais Arepas. Acorn Cafe. Taqueria Corona. Flour Moon Bagels. Peche. Lally's praline parfait at Commander's.

  • "I like different things for different events."

General life advice: "Never be somebody else. Be yourself. Always try to improve but always be yourself."

The intrigue: WDSU has not announced who will be Orr's successor as chief meteorologist.

What's next: Her final broadcast is 6pm today on WDSU.

  • She plans to continue sharing the daily forecast on Facebook, X and Instagram, where she has 100,000 followers.
  • "While I want to leave, it's hard to leave. I want to keep people safe. That's been my purpose all these years."

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