Love him or loathe him, there’s no denying Roger Baylor is passionate about New Albany.
The self-professed “rattler of civic cages” started his blog, “NA Confidential,” in 2004. Since then, he’s posted more than 8,500 entries about the city, its leaders and – as those familiar with his writings can attest – its streets. “The people who agree with me enjoy it. The people who don’t, dislike it,” Baylor said. “… I think it gets recognized as being something that not every town like this has, for better or worse.”
The New Albanian Brewing Company co-owner first became engaged in civic issues about 10 years ago. “I’m a leftist in a place where there’s not many leftists. I made it through the first Bush administration OK, but the election of 2004, it was like four more years of this? I think that’s when I had my epiphany: Maybe instead of sitting around the bar all day drinking pints and complaining about what’s going on a thousand miles away where you have no chance of influencing it, how about just figuring out how does the garbage get picked up? Why do we run streets the way we do? How does it work locally?” Baylor said. “… It makes more sense trying to do it where you actually live.”
Owning a bar proved valuable for talking about a variety of subjects, but Baylor wants to do more than talk. “I just don’t want to be the guy everybody knows as just being the beer expert,” he said.
While he’ll always be revered as a veteran zythologist (the man knows beer), he’s now known for speaking up about what’s occurring in the New Albany – often and loudly – and unapologetically sharing his perspective, even if that means taking to his blog to skewer those involved.
Baylor also has taken plenty of heat himself. “I have people who call me all kinds of non-flattering names, but I would hope that right or wrong, I throw punches, I get knocked down, I get back up and I keep throwing punches. … I hope that somebody would say, ‘He does a good job of standing up for what he believes,’ even if they didn’t agree.”
In the 10 years and nearly five months since he started blogging, Baylor said he has evolved. “In retrospect, I look back and see things I wrote. (I’ve) learned a lot,” thanks, in part, to his wife Diana. “She has periodically challenged me to think outside of my box. She has a long history of advocacy and has really opened my eyes to things I never knew. I think the stupidest thing in the world is when somebody says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I certainly don’t agree with that.”
5 Reasons To Love Southern Indiana
By Roger Baylor
- First and foremost, it’s the best of both worlds. We have less reason to have to travel across the river for things. You’re really close to countryside, and there’s urban living.
- The history is very appealing.
- The quality of life. It’s an affordable place.
- There is so much room for betterment here. The skies the limit. That really makes me feel hopeful for the future.
- Bacon and tomato sandwiches in summer. I think the tomatoes are better here. That’s true.
[Editor’s Note: Roger didn’t list the New Albanian Brewing Company as one of his reasons to love Southern Indiana, so we will. Whether you choose NABC’s Bank Street Brewhouse or Pizzeria & Public House, you can’t go wrong.]