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Friedreich’s Ataxia (1984)

Louisiana: The State We're In



Genre: Newsmagazine

Place Covered: Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1984-09-28

Duration: 00:10:53

Subjects: Health | CAJUNS | Genetic disorders | Friedreich's ataxia


  • Courtney, Beth Host
  • Ekings, Robyn Reporter
  • Esposito, Carla Interviewee
  • Drake, Denise Interviewee
  • Wilensky, Michael Interviewee
  • Keats, Bronya Interviewee
  • LeBlanc, Bette Interviewee
  • Drake, Mata Interviewee


This segment from the September 28, 1984, episode of the series “Louisiana: The State We’re In” features Robyn Ekings’ report on Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare genetic disorder of the nervous system that disproportionately impacts Cajun families in south Louisiana. Ekings reports that researchers at Tulane University Medical Center and the LSU Medical Center are attempting to trace the disease through the family trees of the known victims. She interviews: Carla Esposito and Denise Drake, two women with Friedreich’s Ataxia; Dr. Michael Wilensky, neurologist; Dr. Bronya Keats, geneticist; Bette LeBlanc, victim’s mother; and Mata Drake, victim’s mother. Host: Beth Courtney