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Marrou In His Own Shoes

By Susan Marx

Chris Marrou, San Antonio’s beloved, former TV 5 anchorman and reporter, retired from network news in 2009 but he’s very much alive bringing order to a court in Bexar County and writing and developing books and scripts for television and film. During his 36 year career at KENS5 he produced the Eyewitness Nightly Newsreel, a montage of the day’s top news stories cut to Marrou’s commentary, and Marrou in Your Shoes – a comedic series of segments where Marrou tried his hand at various unskilled jobs - proving that even the simplest seeming things are complicated.

A man of enormous wit, common sense and profound talent, Marrou is living life now in his own shoes. It’s not surprising to find Chris writing but his move into the legal arena is something new. “I’ve always been interested in law,” Marrou said. “My brother Andre ran for president on the libertarian ticket in 1992.” It was about then that his good friend, the late veteran sportscaster Dan Cook, retired and Chris started thinking about trying something other than the news.

An idea came to him in 2003 when he travelled the length of highway 281. “It’s something I’d always wanted to do. Highway 281 goes up the geographic center of the United States. I drove down to Brownsville, turned around and drove all the way to Canada and back,” Marrou said. “It took about two weeks. By the time I got home I had decided to pursue a law degree.”

Marrou passed the bar in 2007 and started the law firm of Ramirez, Marrou and Martinez de Vara with two colleagues from St. Mary’s University. It turns out Martinez is from the city of Von Ormy. He wanted to keep it from being absorbed into San Antonio. “That’s difficult to do the way the laws are in Texas,” Marrou said, “but he figured it out. Then the city elected Martinez mayor and he appointed me a judge.”

Most of Marrou’s work as a municipal judge involves traffic tickets and city ordinance violations. “I always thought I’d be a hanging judge but I find myself trying to help folks out of trouble. These aren’t big offenses - most often committed by young people who just weren’t thinking and can’t afford to pay. But sometimes you need a good swat on the nose with a newspaper to learn a lesson.” Anyone would be lucky to go to court and find Marrou sitting on the bench. He has an innate sense of fairness that engenders trust.

In 2013 Chris published two books with a libertarian bent. The first, Supreme Arrogance, examines the worst decisions of Chief Justice Warren’s era. “I got the idea for that book while I was taking a required constitutional law class. Instead of studying the constitution and deciding things that way, the Supreme Court justices try to sway things to their own opinion. They look at the constitution to prove their argument. It’s like [how] a drunk uses a lamppost – more for support than illumination,” Marrou said.

His most recent book is American’s Ten Biggest Mistakes, which documents the erosion of the states’ rights and the growth of an out-of-control federal government. “In my opinion, members of Congress should be selected like a jury because you’d get truly disinterested parties and a fairly good cross-section of the U.S. Then when they’ve served their term, they go home and live under those laws while we select another jury,” Marrou said.

Based on his move from network news to lawyer and judge, one might think Chris has political ambitions. Nothing could be farther from the truth. “I do things that I like to do,” he said, peppering the conversation with humor and colorful anecdotal asides. “I think of myself as a person with interests a mile wide and an inch deep,” Marrou said. “It can be very disorienting to be pulled in so many directions. I think I stayed at KENS5 for so long because I would keep saying to my wife Kathy, ‘I’m going to do this thing or that thing,’ and she’d say, ‘No you’re not,’ and she was right.”

These days Marrou divides his time between San Antonio and Santa Fe, where he and Kathy have purchased a second home. When in Santa Fe, Chris spends time with his wife and twin daughters and a growing slate of writing projects. He gets up early every day and writes for several hours. “It’s like I have this creative drip,” Marrou said. There’s just enough to sustain me for the day.” The size of Marrou’s creativity is debatable. He has half a dozen scripts in various stages of work and no shortage of new ideas.

It’s nice to know that even though we don’t get to invite him into our homes each evening for a refreshing take on the news, Marrou is as creative and vital as ever. It’s as though he has returned to where he started and is discovering the place for the first time.