What a week. Every day saw me roaming the highways and byways for nearly the entire shift. This means that I didn't have to hang around the pod-people, but also meant a little more work than ususal. Tuesday and Thursday found me in New Orleans, and I spent Wednesday in a Public Service Commission meeting (YAWN).
Tuesday found cub reporter Scott Satchfield and I on location of an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The blue crew is restoring a church on Carondelet St., so we're going to feature that for the last couple days of sweeps. I was actually looking forward to going, because I watch the show and have always wanted to see what the production is like. For those wondering, Ty wasn't there that day, but Michael and Paige were. The first story airs tonight, and the second on Tuesday.
The other trip to New Orleans is the real focus of this story. After getting to work on Thurday, I find out that I'm paired up with Scott again and headed south. We've scored a one-on-one interview with this Royal Hershey Highness, Ray Nagin. Others may have done this, but it's the first for the Baton Rouge stations, so I'm a little pumped. I even brought a second camera to hopefully up the production value.
We arrive at City Hall and I haul out all the gear I've got to make it in one trip. Doing my best pack-mule impression, I exit the elevator on the second floor to find a press conference in progress. That's not us, we've got a one-on-one, so we head for the receptionist's desk, to be met by an exuberant field producer for Fox News Channel. It turns out that our one-on-one was actually going to be shared time with FNC.
It only gets worse from here, folks.
The young producer, who is ecstatic with our arrival, fills us in on the latest developments. The interview has been moved to another location at a time to be determined after the currently running press conference ends, which is now several minutes past one o'clock. Nothing to do but lay down the extra hundred pounds of gear that I'm carrying and have a seat. At least the company is good and we all have a few laughs.
The conversation eventually turns to the crazy amount of gear each group brought up in the vain hope of actually using it. The other crew relates a story about their equipment cart, that while functional, is not quite shipshape. It has a busted wheel, so when it rolls down the hall, it wobbles and shakes, threatening to throw everything from it. It also has a lean, not unlike the three-wheel motion found in many '64 Impalas.
"So, what you're saying," I begin, looking them straight in the eyes, "is that your cart isn't 'Fair and Balanced'?"
It got a good laugh from all involved, except for the 'talent', who seemed to take it a bit more seriously than the others. While it could have degenerated into a shouting match, she tried to lord her 'Network' status over our lowly 'Local' heads, it was neither the time nor the place for such. As it was, I couldn't think of anything better to say!
Soon they scurried after the mayor who would give them a sound bite at the Extreme Makeover site. We, on the other hand, were not to be lead by the mayor's leash and were assigned to pick up another story. Several hundred suspects could possibly go free due to a shortage of public defenders. Ah, the life of a local news shooter.
Before leaving N.O., I discovered that the 'all-powerful' Network crew had suffered the same fate as their local counterparts.
As a good friend says, 'It's just the same circus, different city.'