WVUE chief meteorologist David Bernard is leaving local television.
Bernard is working towards earning his master’s degree in social work at Tulane University.
“I don’t like to disappoint people,” said Bernard. “I feel like I am disappointing people and letting people down by making this decision. But the one thing that makes me feel okay about it, I guess, is because I do think I am striving to do something for the greater good still, just like we do here at Fox 8, and I am staying here to help the community but just in a different way.”
The New Orleans Fox affiliate said Bernard started scaling back on his work at the station in August. He said there were many reasons for the career change, but a diagnosis of toxoplasmosis, a disease that results from an infection linked to a parasite, was a deciding factor.
“At the end of 2019, I started getting sick. I felt like I had the flu. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. This went on for a couple of months. I was having horrible neuropathy, my face was burning, I mean, just all these symptoms,” he said.
He said he spent much of 2020 in pain.
“You know, there were times when I couldn’t even stand up. And when we got to Hurricane Zeta at the end of 2020, by the end of the storm my feet were so bad I could barely walk out to the car,” he said. “It caused an enormous amount of stress for me. And it really wasn’t until last year and 2021 that most of my symptoms started to go away. And we were able to rule out any significant other health causes for this.”
The station has named Bruce Katz to take over for Bernard as chief meteorologist.
“That’s one thing that does make me feel a little bit better about this is that the bench is really deep at FOX 8 and that extends to the weather office as well,” said Bernard. “Bruce doesn’t need me. I mean, Bruce has been in the market most of his life. He’s from here. He was a chief meteorologist across town for years. So, he knows what it’s like to lead a department. I’m not worried about that at all.”