Last night I saw a bloated vessel filled with crap dock in Mobile, Ala. — but enough about CNN. The story, of course, was the arrival of the Carnival cruise ship Triumph, which had an engine failure that stranded it in the Gulf of Mexico and turned it into the Good Ship Lollipoop for a few days.
But for CNN's Martin Savidge, the lack of communication aboard the ship was equivalent to the lack of communication on the ground in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures ...
SAVIDGE: blah blah blah Hurricane Katrina blah blah I assume it's something very similar.
PASSENGER: Yeah, but let's put that in perspective. I mean, Katrina was a major devastation. We're on a friggin' cruise ship, and we're just havin' a good time, so ... Two different things. Two different things.
CNN has mostly moved on to the Russian meteor story, but if you still want tales from the S.S. Hurricane Katrina, CNN.com still offers "Video: 'Everyone will need psychological help'", "Parisa Safarzadeh shares her account of the hellish trip on the Carnival Triumph" and the popular "Passenger video: Sewage on walls."
UPDATE: It seems that one of the charter buses bringing passengers from Mobile to New Orleans broke down on I-10, and those on board had to wait nearly an hour for a replacement bus, which must have been like Superstorm Sandy.
Crowds swarmed Decatur Street on Saturday afternoon, gathering at the would-be entrance to Jackson Square — dubbed this week as "CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square." The network has taken over most of the park with four stages for sports, news and talk shows as the network home to Super Bowl XLVII. Across the street past Washington Artillery Park, the network's assembly of trailers, equipment and newsrooms. Tourists snapped photos past security to catch a glimpse of the CBS sports desk. Hare Krishnas followed a faux second line of San Francisco 49ers fans. Others wandered with Hand Grenades or Mardi Gras beads, and the street deadlocked traffic with pedestrians.
But inside the gates, dozens of CBS crewmembers worked silently as stages broadcast just feet from Andrew Jackson's statue.
Two TV cameras focused on Scott Pelley, anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, framing him against St. Louis Cathedral. His team on-set and plugged in from New York, where the show typically is broadcast, makes final adjustments down to the second before cameras roll. "There's a person in Los Angeles, probably a computer, ready to cut me off when it comes to that last second," Pelley says with a foot propped on a red steel utility box. Minutes later the show begins.
The headlines: a report from Mali, day five of the Alabama hostage, online hackers, and three stories from New Orleans — catching up with Russell Honore ("the man who faced down Katrina") inside the Superdome, a profile of Trombone Shorty by Michelle Miller, and a look at the Loyola streetcar line and economic boosts to the city ("they don't need a football game to tell them what they already know," reporter Jim Axelrod says).
"Beautiful piece," Pelley tells Axelrod. "Well written, nicely shot."
The broadcast wraps, and a "Krewe of CBS Sports" second-line emerges from Cafe du Monde outside the gates.
Gambit's Kevin Allman stopped by WWL-TV's New Orleans Tonight yesterday to talk with Sheba Turk and Tamica Lee about some of the big events leading up to the Super Bowl, while Noah Bonaparte Pais did the same thing today on the WWL Eyewitness Morning News.
While many of the big parties are either invite-only or sold out, there's a four-day festival in Woldenberg Park that starts tonight, with dozens of local bands, food booths and other fun — and admission is free. Alex Woodward breaks down the schedule here.
The decision was CNN's, Carville said: "I was told that they wanted the contributors to be more available — essentially, closer to Washington," he said. "I'm not always available, I don't live there."
Carville and Matalin, his wife, live in New Orleans, La. Matalin did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Carville said both respected the network's decision and enjoyed their time as contributors there.
"I'm completely cool with it," he said.
Carville and Matalin, who worked for CNN for more than a decade, moved to New Orleans several years ago and have been very involved in the city's social and philanthropic life since then, most recently as co-chairs of the Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee. Carville also told Politico: "I've got enough acts, I'm not out soliciting other TV gigs," he said. "At some level it makes sense for CNN to move in another direction, and it makes sense for me."
And you can read that one of two ways...
If The Times-Picayune was anticipating a negative piece about the paper's cutbacks on tonight's 60 Minutes — and it seemed like it was — it really had nothing to fear. Morley Safer's report — most of which was taped months ago — was a breezy, evenhanded look at the "digital transition" at the new NOLA Media Group.
It focused on New Orleans tradition both real and manufactured (beignets! Camellia Grill! conventioneer second-lines on Royal Street!) and made only general reference to the woes of the newspaper industry as a whole (no hard facts or figures), as well as glossing over last summer's protests against the paper's cutback. Mayor Mitch Landrieu, The New York Times' David Carr and T-P editor Jim Amoss were featured prominently, along with former T-P advisory board member Anne Milling (Milling stepped down quietly months ago), former columnist Lolis Eric Elie and Archbishop Gregory Aymond.
Safer made mention of the digital divide separating New Orleans' poor and disenfranchised communities, but they had no voice in the story. Also missing: the voices of the leaders of the protest against the paper's cutback, as well as former employees and groups like DashThirtyDash, the Times-Picayune Employee Assistance Fund.
What did you think of 60 Minutes' report?
60 Minutes airs in the New Orleans market on WWL-TV on Sunday nights at 6 p.m.
Read Gambit's coverage of The Times-Picayune here.
EDITED TO ADD: CBS News has now posted a preview of the segment:
From WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge:
A Louisiana mother has a warning for other parents after her teenage son had a bad reaction from smoking what she's calling a new synthetic drug.
Mary Hughes is on a mission to protect other kids.
It all started this past weekend with a little plastic bag of a product called "Blue Brees." The Denham Springs mom said her 16-year-old son got it as a present and smoked it, which led to a scary night.
"His eyes were basically real droopy," Hughes said. "His speech was very slurred. He had no emotion. He barely could stand and absolutely no emotion, so 'Zombieland' was really correct. He was a zombie."
Hughes admits her daughter, who is of age, bought the product at a store called Zombieland.
Last night on WWL-TV, Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos' weekly commentary was on the proposed hike in sewerage and water rates that's coming before the New Orleans City Council this week.
GTFO, you senile bitch!
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