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Anderson Cooper Gets It

I spend a fair hunk of my time bashing the media elites for not taking the time to get the story correct in New Orleans. Even before Katrina, New Orleans and Mardi Gras were some sort of media enigma. To CNN and Anderson Cooper's credit, they have been down here enough that he is getting the picture.

Unfortunately, I've missed most of his reporting (Dude, its Mardi Gras do you expect me to be watching TV?) but from his blog post, it is obvious he finally gets it.

'Hey Anderson, throw me some beads'
New Orleans has always been a complex city, a gritty gumbo town, not quite here, not quite there. Now, that is especially true.

Reporting here, you spend your days in the lower Ninth Ward, or in Saint Bernard Parish, where there are still miles of mud and acres of ruin, only to come back at night to Bourbon Street, where we stay, and see thousands of revelers, drinking and tossing beads, occasionally baring their breasts.

Bourbon Street is probably what most people think of when they think of Mardi Gras. Crowds of college-age kids, and those still wishing they were, take part in a raunchy, round-the-clock carnival of chaos, reveling amid piles of trash. It's mostly tourists, of course, though locals do occasionally drop by just to see what the visitors are up to.

Bourbon Street, however, is not what Mardi Gras is really about. At heart, Mardi Gras is a family affair.

Sunday night, I rode in a parade with Endymion, one of the major carnival organizations. I was a guest on Dan Aykroyd's float, and I was honored to ride with a half-dozen first responders -- police officers and firefighters -- the real heroes of the storm.

It was an experience I will never forget. Some of you have seen pictures of these parades, but they don't really capture the emotion of the moment. Tens of thousands of people line the parade route. Many haven't seen each other since Hurricane Katrina. They are young and old, black and white, a sea of smiles.


I've come to Mardi Gras before, always for work, but for the first time I realize what it's all about. It's not Bourbon Street, and it's not the beads -- they are plastic and not worth much at all. It's about making a connection, one person to another, the present to the past. Like catching the beads, Mardi Gras is an act of luck, a reach of faith, a fleeting moment, in which everyone, young and old, rich and poor, housed or homeless, can reach out and hope for a better day.

I do believe that man gets it.


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Comments (8)

He's still a self-important... (Below threshold)

He's still a self-important putz.

Hope you had a fantastic Ma... (Below threshold)

Hope you had a fantastic Mardi Gras Paul! It's nice to finally see somebody figure out it's the tourists in the Quarter going crazy, and the locals are uptown hanging out with family and friends while enjoying a few cold beers. It's amazing the word hasn't gotten out before now. On the flip side, hopefully the tourists stay downtown and we can keep the family atmosphere uptown. Love to read y'alls work.

Why would anybody be stupid... (Below threshold)

Why would anybody be stupid enough to live where there is a Mardi Gras? If they were smart, they would live in small, Midwest towns that have a 10 o'clock curfew and a Baptist church on every other corner.


P.S. Laissez le bon temps roule.

Speaking of Katrina...... (Below threshold)

Speaking of Katrina...

Tape: Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina
"Bush declared four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility -- and Bush was worried too."

Is there anything they won't be dishonest about?

Is jp2 a brand of pots, or ... (Below threshold)

Is jp2 a brand of pots, or of kettles?

Ad hominem. Attack the subs... (Below threshold)

Ad hominem. Attack the substance.

I personally have nothing to do with Bush's dishonesty, as much as you would like me to.

Jp2,You took the s... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


You took the statement of Bush that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" out of context. The levees were designed only for a category 3 hurricane, so when Katrina went to category 5 and dead on track to New Orleans, it was obvious to anyone that the levees could fail. What no one in a position of authority, like Bill Clinton, anticipated when there was time to do something about it, was the New Orleans would be hit by such a powerful hurricane. Otherwise, what would be the logic of building levees designed only for a category 3 hurricane?

It was also obvious to state Democrats that the levees could fail when Katrina went to category 5. These Democrats had the primary responsibility to evacuate the city, and by law, they were in charge of rescue efforts until they formally ceded that responsibility to the Federal government. That didn't happen for days after Katrina hit, but if Bush had ignored the law you would be calling for his impeachment. We understand the left-wing game that's going on.

You took the statement of B... (Below threshold)

You took the statement of Bush that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees"

Please provide proper context for Bush's quote. Am I missing part of the quote? Did he say something that makes that statement seem less ignorant before or after he made it?

Again, if I'm quoting out of context please provide the entire quote in context.






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