On March 17, 2020, New Orleans lost popular radio host and local celebrity Brian Held Jr. Together with co-hosts David “D-Squared” Ducorbier, and Sean “Skungy” Scrontino, they brought The Week in Geek Radio Show to life every Sunday night at 7 PM, sharing the latest news and gossip of pop-culture, interviewing actors, artists, cosplayers, and giving a voice to the “geeks” of New Orleans. Not only was Brian a radio show host, but could be found nearly everywhere when there was something geeky going down in New Orleans, either representing The Week in Geek or the popular Star Wars cosplay group, The 501st Legion, hosting panels and events, and often times doing all at once.
On March 22, David and Skungy hosted The Week in Geek without Brian by their side. To memorialize him, they gave Brian’s friends and loved ones the chance to call in and share their favorite memories of Brian. For an hour that Sunday night, cosplayers, gamers, LARPers (Live Action Roleplayers), authors, conventions goers, and friends called in, and instead of tears, there was laughter about their times with Brian.
“Brian was a person who would come and regale anyone who would listen with stories and jokes,” says Hillary DuPont, a mutual friend of ours who I spoke with after hearing about Brian’s passing. “He always had time to talk and share his experiences. He was a big influence on why I am a cosplayer. When I got engaged I told him and he was super excited. I asked him to marry my husband and me and he happily agreed. I made sure to see him at every local con I could go to. He was like an older brother to me. I will miss him dearly.”
I remember when I first started trying to make it as a journalist five years ago. The guys at The Week in Geek Radio Show, Brian, David, and Skungy, were a huge source of support. I have social anxiety, so going to fan conventions can be difficult. At nearly every convention I went to, The Week in Geek table had become a place of support. Whenever I was nervous about interviewing someone, these guys were there to give me advice, encouragement, or we’d just chat about the fandoms we loved most. I have some footage from one of the earlier conventions I’d visited and I somehow let the camera keep rolling after I’d spoken with Brian. For the next five minutes, while the camera was pointed at our feet, it recorded Brian giving me advice about how to interview people, good ways to get their attention, the kinds of questions to ask, all to help me on my journey. I ran into Brian so many times after that at conventions and movie premieres. We even coincidently bought seats right next to each other for “Avengers: Endgame so we got to enjoy the movie with friends.
Brian was larger than life. He was always happy to see you, take a selfie with you, and to support you. Geeks everywhere have lost a powerful voice. New Orleans radio has lost a great host. The New Orleans geek community has lost a dear friend.