Ally Giardina

West Side Journal feature writer Alexandra "Ally" Giardina

When I was 10 years old, I had what some might call an epiphany. My fifth-grade class was missing something revolutionary, and I was going to do something about it.
 
I recruited a team of writers on the playground. I banked on my Student Council privileges to help me borrow the coveted school camera. I pleaded for teachers to be sponsors. I rounded up the soft-spoken school librarian and smiling lunch ladies for in-depth feature stories. I started a comment box where my peers could leave opinions through the slats of my locker door. (This did not go well, as you can imagine.) I designed a nifty layout complete with Comic Sans, text bubbles, and fun facts.
 
A newspaper was born.
 
There were three glorious, black-and-white, hot-off-the-teacher’s-lounge-copy-machine issues before my computer teacher informed me in no uncertain terms that I was going to fail her class if I kept skipping it to “conduct important interviews.”
 
Still, when I wasn’t learning about Excel spreadsheets and exploring The Oregon Trail, I was trying to hunt down a story or create one of my own.
 
There’s common advice that to track down your passion you should try to remember what you liked as a child.
 
Although I’ve worn many hats -- an elementary teacher, a business partner, a cubicle dweller, a night-life bartender, a backpacking traveler, the editor-in-chief of a mommy blog -- it’s no surprise that I wound up here, with a leather-bound notebook and a pen behind my ear.
 
What began as a school newspaper, turned into a lifestyle blog, which soon resulted in sending out writing samples to publishers hoping someone, anyone, would bite. Eventually, they did.
 
I found my voice as a writer through the community members that were kind enough to let me into their world. I have since had dozens of articles published in both print magazines and national digital platforms, each one special, informative, a reminder of the connection that words can bring.
 
Born and raised in the Red Stick, I graduated from LSU with a degree in education and will be starting graduate school for counseling in the fall. When I’m not working, I can be found making a mess in my kitchen trying to master recipes, attending local festivals, planning my next adventure or hanging out with my tuxedo cat, Jack.
 
I’m looking forward to exploring my new second home across the river complete with authentic southern charm, a rich history, and sugar cane fields as far as the eye can see.
 
While some of us notice color palettes, pictures, statistics, or problems waiting to be solved when viewing the world through their own lens, to me, life itself has always been a unique story.
 
West Side, I can’t wait to hear yours.

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