Last man typing: New Orleans’ last traveling typewriter repairman

NEW ORLEANS - Harry Ballard used to work here.

Now Harry heads down the hall with his tool kit and half-a-lifetime of memories.

Harry navigates up and down six floors of a big, downtown  New Orleans law firm.  This place happens to be one of Harry's old stops on the road.

WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood is there with Harry.

Wild Bill says to Harry, "you're like the Maytag repairman, loveable, but lonely. "

Harry says, "I used to be busy every day.  It's a different world now."

That's why Harry Ballard is back.

And he's back for one final visit here at the law firm.

With no work to do around the firm, Harry Ballard is a tour guide to the past, to what used to be.

Harry Ballard is Louisiana's last traveling typewriter repairman.

Harry says to Wild Bill, "you were in and out of all walks of life from those that worked in delivery rooms to funeral homes."

Wild Bill says, "you touched the typewriters that touched a lot of lives!"

As computers push out typewriters.

Harry Ballard opens his heart.

And Harry Ballard opens his garage to repairing typewriters, "there's something about the sound, with each key stroke kind of hypnotic."

Harry opens his heart and his garage to the kind of typewriters, to machines really ready for the museum.

As Harry opens one up and looks deep inside, "this is a mechanical monster, lot going on inside this typewriter."

Wild Bill asks, "what is your prognosis on this patient?"

Harry says, "it's got a lot of good years left, it's had a good life up to this point."

Harry Ballard buys them beat-up and abandoned on Ebay.

Harry says, "it's just something about typewriters."

Wild Bill notices, "you have a relationship with a typewriter."

Harry's repair-shop-relationships all result in divorce.

After he fixes them, Harry sells them.

In a good year, Harry will sell, well, maybe, one typewriter.

"It's a connection to that past, " Harry Ballard says about typewriters.

Wild Bill says, "you can't really warm up to a computer keyboard like a typewriter keyboard."

"It's magic, "Harry believes.

Back at the law firm, Harry Ballard discovers hope.

In a quite corner, an escapee from the junkyard.

One typewriter.

Harry Ballard has a job after all.

Rescued from retirement.

One typewriter.

One man.

No longer even in the neighborhood of - The End.

(If you have a typewriter that needs Harry's TLC, call him at 504-242-7543)