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Beloved television broadcaster Donna Britt passes

Staff report

Donna Britt, a local television personality for nearly four decades, died Jan. 21. She was 62.

She was well-known throughout the Baton Rouge region as an on-air personality for WAFB-TV. Her career began in 1981, and she retired in 2018. 

Britt courageously battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS and Lou Gherig’s disease.

A native of Biloxi, Miss., she attended both LSU and Southern Mississippi to study band directing. 

Donna Britt was the honorary chair for the 2018 Dancing for a Cause fundraiser at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. She was a beloved broadcaster who worked for WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge for nearly 38 years.

Britt’s broadcasting career began as a disc jockey at WYNK. She started at WAFB as a weekend reporter, eventually moving up to full-time reporter and ultimately an anchor.

During her tenure, she and George Sells anchored nightly newscasts as the station rose to the top of local viewership ratings. 

She retired from the station and anchored her last newscast nearly one year after publicly announcing her diagnosis. She signed off on June 13, 2018.

Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and Gov. John Bel Edwards were among the elected officials to comment on her passing.

“She was a true master of her craft and a brave fighter in her courageous battle against ALS. She will be missed by the countless Louisianans she reached and informed,” Gov. Edwards said.

Britt is survived by husband Mark Ballard, son Louis Ballard, and daughter and son-in-law Anne and Alec Yonika.

Her husband serves as the Capitol Bureau Chief for The Advocate newspaper.

Britt frequently volunteered and contributed to charitable causes throughout the area. Notably, she was the honorary chair for the 2018 Dancing for a Cause fundraiser in Gonzales.