Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Excellence in Recovery": the aftermath, and Robert Cerasoli

Posted By on Sat, Aug 23, 2008 at 7:32 AM

What a swell party that was. I'm referring not only to the mayor's la-de-da on the 2nd floor of the Ritz-Carlton, but the alternate party at Buffa's on Esplanade, where I repaired later, after partaking of the hospitality and good humor of hosts Stewart Juneau and Bernardo. (Bernardo gave me a hug! He did!)

Michelle Krupa and Frank Donze of The Times-Picayune have their story up right now, and - despite my admiration of their work in the past - they missed the big scoop, which was over at Buffa's, the site of the opening party for the Rising Tide conference.

Among all the bloggers and the rabble, the door opened and in stepped...Inspector General Robert A. Cerasoli.

In the back room of Buffa's honky-tonk bar. On Esplanade. (Sorry, Chris Rose. You could've been there, man.)

Cerasoli. That dude. That dude who is here in town to take names and (presumably, figuratively) bust heads. The city's swells were still at the Ritz-C, enjoying a fine fête, and the man in charge of putting the shiznit that is this city in order was at a convention of...bloggers? It was like Eliot Ness skipping an FBI banquet to attend a Dungeons and Dragons convention.

Let me repeat that for the back of the class: the Inspector General of New Orleans was at a ragtag, raucous, beer-soaked party in the back of a dive bar (Buffa's, I love you, but...) -- because he had caught wind of who, and what, was driving the stories of corruption in the New Orleans media.

Study on that a minute.

The IG was affable, but dead serious. He spent his time chatting up the blogoisie, giving out his phone number and generally making himself available to the public. Seems he thinks that the local blogging community might be on to some chicanery, some jiggery-pokery, some shenanigans, that the mainstream media may be missing.

I asked Cerasoli if he would do an Q&A with Gambit (with lots of questions supplied by the readers), and he said yes. Yes, indeed. In fact, he gave me his cellphone number.

"That City Hall number...doesn't always work," Cerasoli said.

I'll be calling him this week. And -- just from the few minutes I spent with him -- I would not want to be on the wrong side of Robert Cerasoli. He seems to exemplify ...shall we say... excellence in recovery.

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