Frank Davis, the iconic New Orleans broadcaster and writer whose cooking, fishing and “Naturally N’Awlins” feature reports for WWL Channel 4 made him a local favorite for more than three decades, died Monday night. He was 71.
In May 2013, Frank and his wife Mary Clare revealed to Channel 4 viewers that he was battling a rare autoimmune disease that robbed him of the use of his arms and legs. The disease, CIDP, or Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, caused his own immune system to see his nerves and the insulation around them as foreign invaders, attacking and destroying them.
Frank retired from WWL-TV in 2011, after 30 years on the air, so that he and Mary Clare could move to Texas to be closer to family. Only no one knew how much he would need the love and support.
Despite the diagnosis and life-altering symptoms that struck Frank in just a matter of months, he remained upbeat and positive, with his optimism encouraging even his own doctors and physical therapists.
"Thank God in heaven that I've got that happy personality, that I can see something bad and smile about it,” he told medical reporter Meg Farris for the May 2013 interview. “Believe me, I don't want to smile about it because it bothers me. It's a roller coaster ride. I'm good one day. I'm bad one day.”