Tommy: A candid conversation with Carl Arredondo

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
February 26, 2019 - 8:47 am

“It’s not what you achieve in life; it’s what you overcome.”

That quote is attributed to “Pudge” a.k.a. Major League Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk.  He could have been talking about Carl Arredondo.

I first met Carl at a Zephyr’s game when my daughter was 2.  Soon after announcing his retirement I quickly received a text from my 22-year-old daughter, five hours away at college, asking, “Carl Arredondo’s retiring? WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?!?!?!”  I wanted to share those anecdotes because they speak to how long Carl’s been here in New Orleans and how loved he is by so many generations.

In case you haven’t heard by now Carl is retiring from Channel 4 on March 1st.  He wanted to go out while he was still at the top of his game.  He is at the top but a lot of people may not realize what he’s overcome to stay there.

Carl has a degenerative eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa.  As I understand it, the disease is progressive.  It slowly and sadly narrows the field of vision. Carl told me his vision is currently the equivalent of looking through cardboard tubes.  His peripheral vision is disappearing rapidly, and those tubes will continue to narrow.  To connect the dots, Carl is at the top of his game while he’s also legally blind.  That is quite an achievement. 

More impressive to me, however, is the way he’s overcoming the bad hand he’s been dealt.  He’s turned deuces into aces and, in the process, has demonstrated his strength and courage that should serve as an inspiration to us all.

Carl is fully aware of the forecast for the future of his vision. He’s learning, while blindfolded, to use a probing cane.  He cheerfully talks about his future and the work he can do for Lighthouse Louisiana.  He’s already on the board of that organization, and his face lights up when he talks about helping those with vision problems navigate their way through life. 

It would be impossible for anyone to be more optimistic and hopeful than is Carl now.  I am astounded by this man’s courage, tenacity and heart.  He is fully aware of his own personal forecast and he knows that night may eventually fall. But he doesn’t plod along. He doesn’t take it one day at a time.  He soars with enthusiasm and is excited about his future. 

“It’s not what you achieve in life; it’s what you overcome.”

Carl Arredondo is doing both with grace, courage and kindness.  God bless him.

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