Indy Like a Local: Larra Overton

Who is Larra?

Sports reporter and anchor for Fox59 and CBS 4, as well as a sideline reporter and track and field analyst for ESPN, SEC Network


Q. Can you give a brief summary of your career to this point?

I started working in TV at the Fox affiliate in Louisville, WDRB, the market of my hometown, New Albany, Indiana. I was an associate producer on the morning show and would also contribute to the sports department shooting highlights and, on occasion, putting together packages. My on-air “break” came with the Big Ten Network as a sideline reporter for a few IU and Purdue games. That helped lead to my first full-time anchoring and reporting role at WTWO in Terre Haute. 
After a year there as the weekend sports anchor and reporter, I continued with BTN and moved to Indy to pursue more freelance work with the Pacers and Fox Sports. My career at Fox59 began in 2012 as a fill-in traffic reporter on the morning show. I took on that role full time in 2014, and then in 2016 made the move to our sports department at Fox59 and CBS 4 to return to my first and true love, sports reporting. I have also worked for the Pacers as an in-game emcee and a web reporter, and for the Colts as a studio host and preseason sideline reporter.

Q. What local sports stories have been some of your favorites to cover so far?

Sports are so central to Indy’s culture and pride, and I am grateful to have connected with so many people to tell their stories. Jerry Harkness, former Indiana Pacer and community leader, shared his story with me of being part of Loyola Chicago’s 1963 National Championship team.
I did a story with him when Loyola made their Cinderella run through the NCAA tournament in 2018. What’s most remarkable to me about Jerry is not only the success he and his team had but the social impact of that Ramblers team. Jerry was the team captain and led Loyola in what would become known as “The Game of Change.” Mississippi State defied a law that prevented them from playing largely African-American teams in order to play Loyola in the tournament. A handshake at center court between Jerry and the MSU captain is an iconic image and was a catalyst in using sports to breakdown racial barriers.

Q. You were a track athlete at Indiana University. What lessons did you learn from being a part of that?

Being a student-athlete at Indiana is one of my proudest accomplishments. My experience competing in track and cross-country molded so much of who I am today. My coach, Judy Wilson, instilled perseverance and persistence in each of us that has been crucial to a career in sports media.
One thing about that experience as a middle distance runner is trusting that you may not see the results as quickly as you want, but consistent hard work and sticking to your plan and process will deliver those results – and more – in time, and your success will last longer because of that. You also appreciate more when you do achieve those goals because of what you’ve invested over months or sometimes years.

Q. I’m sure you’ve met a lot of people through your work. What stands out most to you about the residents of Indy?

As an Indy transplant (I moved here in 2010), I was drawn to how genuine people are here. Hoosier Hospitality is so much more than a motto or catch phrase. When I was meeting new people, they were eager to show me around, suggest places to try, and introduce me to what makes this city unique.
When you meet people here and say, ask for a restaurant recommendation, they typically don’t just spout off their favorites. Hoosiers will first ask you what kind of food you like, where you typically like go, etc., to learn more about you and make a suggestion that’s more personal. People are willing to go out of their way to make sure you feel connected to and part of the community. 

Q. Where in Indy do you like to go for a great meal, and why? 

Since I am a Broad Ripple girl, most of my favorites are right in my neighborhood. Delicia is a particular favorite. My go-tos are the Fire and Ice cocktail, the guacamole, and the Serrano scallops. I also love Northside Social’s spicy green beans and whatever their latest fish on the menu is. Their shrimp and grits is one of my favorite “comfort” dishes.
A staple on a casual night for my fiance and I is Fire By the Monon. It has an incredible beer selection, and their fish tacos are my favorite meal; you will NOT walk out hungry! My fiance loves their pulled pork nachos, which is one of their signature dishes.

Q. Do you have a favorite coffee shop or, at the end of the day, a special place for a nightcap?

Indy has an incredible collection of local, unique coffee shops. My most frequent stop is Hubbard & Cravens. Both their brewed and iced coffee are amazing. I rarely even get a fancy drink there because their basics are just so good.
If I am downtown, I love to slide into Kaffeine Coffee Co. and indulge in a massive latte. It’s a hidden gem that has this industrial but chic vibe. Don’t just grab your cup to go! Sit down, sip your beverage, and take in the eclectic atmosphere.
If you are out and about in search of a cocktail, The Ball and Biscuit, Libertine, and Union 50 are my favorite spots to either start the night with a festive beverage or close it out with a nightcap. Each spot has its own unique, chic vibe!

The Ball and Biscuit on Mass Ave

Q. What other local businesses do you admire/support?

I love to represent Indy, especially when I travel, and my “Indy Over Everything” hats and apparel always get noticed. They make uniquely Indianapolis items and are the best quality. Their mantra is that Indy is the heartbeat of America. I love to give their hats as gifts, and the recipients always love to rep them to show the Indy love. Check out their Instagram for the latest goods!

Q. If you’re hosting out-of-town guests, where might you take them for an authentic Indy experience?

If it’s basketball season, take advantage of watching a game inside Hinkle Fieldhouse and Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers slogan of “We Grow Basketball Here” is so much more than a marketing campaign, and watching the Pacers or Butler inside their home venues perfectly illustrates that.
Lately, I have been sending all of my friends with kids visiting from out of town to the Children’s Museum’s Sports Legends Experience. It has gotten rave reviews from my friends with kids of all ages. 

Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University

Q: Is there a certain place(s) you enjoy visiting for fresh air?

As an avid runner, I love taking advantage of the accessibility of the Monon, the Central Canal Towpath, and the downtown Canal. Holliday Park is my favorite slice of nature in the city. It is where I feel centered and most at peace, whether running the trails solo or taking a walk with my fiance, Dan, and our dog enjoying the ruins. Full disclosure, I love it so much that’s where Dan decided to propose!

Q: Which events do you enjoy attending each year?

As a dog-lover, Mutt Strut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an annual highlight! It’s an incredible way to get excited for the month of May in Indy, celebrate one of the city’s iconic landmarks, and raise money for Indy Humane. 
Monumental Marathon is also one of my favorite weekends each year. Even on years I haven’t been able to run the half or full, I have hopped in for a few miles to run with friends or lined the streets to cheer on those participating. The race is so well organized and the course is flat, fast, and qualifier friendly!

Q: What are some hidden gems or some off-the-beaten-path places or events that you would suggest visitors check out?

Again, showing my love for my Broad Ripple neighborhood, the collection of shops and restaurants at 54th and the Monon is so worth a trek to the north side. Gallery Pastry Shop, Civvies, Heritage Clothier and Home, Agrarian, and Locally Grown Gardens are gems that only locals seem to know about but everyone should! If you’re in that area and looking to slide in for a quick brew and bite, Fat Dan’s Deli and Twenty Tap are where I love to refuel after a shopping trek.

Q: Do you have a favorite neighborhood or area of the city you enjoy visiting?

I have loved discovering more about Irvington. The area is so historic and the people there take such great pride in blending the past with the present. Some friends recently visited and stayed in Irvington and loved its walkability. Black Acre Brewing and Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza are staples. 

Black Acre Brewing

Q: Where do you like to take your dog, Tugboat? Or is it simply Tug?

Thank you for asking! He gets asked that a lot! It’s Tugboat, but we call him Tug for short. He’s a pretty proper gent, so full name, Tugboat, most often. We joke that he is the Mayor of Broad Ripple because he loves strolling the strip, making new friends, and seeing everyone out and about. Three Dog Bakery is a frequent stop after we venture along the Monon and the Canal. Their staff is the sweetest, and all of their treats and goodies are Tugboat favorites. We are fortunate to be so close to Broad Ripple Park, so we try to get to the dog park there a few times a month to romp around with his four-legged friends. We recently discovered Indy’s Indoor Bark Park in the Castleton area, which is amazing for getting activity in when outdoor play isn’t an option.

 


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