Sunday, August 24, 2008

Coming up in this week's Gambit

Posted By on Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 4:12 PM

It's the Best of New Orleans issue. Every alt-weekly does one; here's a selection of best-ofs from other cities. Count me as agnostic about these things (the reason that weeklies do them is that they bring in lots of ads) -- but readers do seem to like them. And people love to participate -- Gambit interns (and staff) nearly went blind and carpal-tunneled entering all the zillions of nominations in hundreds of categories.

Right now I'm thinking about Joe Biden, watching TV, trying to glean some info about what Biden might do for the Gulf Coast. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox are absolutely no help when it comes to policy stories; as usual, it's all about handicapping the choice as a horse race or an Oscar contest. (Cable news: you suck. All of you.)

Anyway, I found this guy, the Wayward Episcopalian, who is an unabashed Biden partisan and has some info I didn't know (this post is from Feb. 2007):

I asked him about rebuilding New Orleans, and am pleased to report that he demonstrated a much better understanding of the issue than any of the other presidential candidates I’ve yet asked (I'm in NH, so get to personally see and meet the candidates). Joe Biden actually understands the ongoing situation and, unlike other candidates, has some policy suggestions about how to deal with those realities.

Biden made it very clear that he understands where things are in New Orleans today, lamenting houses that are “still literally in the streets” in the Lower Ninth Ward (which isn’t quite true, but I would call houses on top of houses and motorboats in yards close enough!). His family has close ties to Hurricane Katrina, giving him a special understanding of the issue’s importance and magnitude. His daughter graduated from Tulane a few years ago, and helped relocate thousands of storm refugees. One son led a National Guard unit in New Orleans for a month after Katrina, and the other son went to Thibodeaux immediately after the storm to help with relief efforts.

The Senator demonstrated an excellent grasp of the Gulf Coast big picture. The problem with recovery, he said, is not a lack of federal funding. The problem is bureaucracy, which he called “a rat’s nest.”

You can read more from the Wayward Episcopalian here. He's stoked. I'll just note that I haven't seen Biden around New Orleans much in the 18 months since the Wayward Episcopalian wrote those words.

(Oh, and I just caught the end of Sunday Morning with Dennis Woltering, which featured an interview with Ian McNulty, Gambit food writer and author of the new memoir A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina. It looks like it repeats at 12:30 pm on WUPL-TV.)

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