By: Rick Portier
It happened just as the third story of the day slipped through my sweaty fingers. Governor Bobby the Reformer called a press conference.
know what you're thinking. Big deal. Politicians are always summoning news crews to spout some innanity or another. But this presser was official. Even the out of town crews trundled their giant satellite trucks up the highway and onto the lot at the state's office of ememgency preparedness.
9 cameras, five live/satellite trucks. A couple print guys and a radio reporter or two jockeyed their mics for position on the governor's podium. For something this big, it's important the folks back home see your mic flag and know you were there.
Then he said it. If he'd been in Indianapolis, it would have sounded like, "Gentlemen start your engines." Under the portico of the state building, it was more like, "Katrina's coming back and she's pissed."
Bobby the Reformer was quick to point out, and repeat adnausem that Hurricane Gustav was still many days away, but it was time to start preparing. According to the governor, the state is doing its part. And now is the time for the folks at home to do theirs.
In newsrooms across the boot-shaped state, news directors, stackers, and other house boys salivated on cue. (There's nothing like covering a cat. 3-4-5 hurricane from the confines of the turd factory where it's always sunny and 72 degrees.) Then they removed their station's well thought-out ememgency plan from under the foot of the news director's desk (where it was being used to keep the damn thing from wobbleing everytime the head suit touched the keyboard). Blew off a thick layer of dust and chucked it out the window.
Who needs a plan when there's hype to spout? So from now till the killer storm lands somewhere near New Orleans's doorstep, it'll be all Gustav all the time. And just in time for the third anniversary of Katrina.
But seriously, I remember the lack of preparation around the state three years ago. Things sound a lot more organized this time around. And the station is using all the stuff we learned during our Katrina coverage to fine-tune our plans.
This morning, it's looking like we'll be in evacuation/contraflow mode by Saturday. And we'll all be eating soggy Moon Pies and MRE's soon after that. Cue the clusterf^(#!
Rick Portier is a television news photographer in Baton Rouge. For more of his unique stories and interesting rants see his personal blog at http://turdpolisher.blogspot.com/