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They're Trying To Wash Us Away

As the one-year anniversary of Katrina approaches, cable nets are gearing up to mark it in their own unique way, which I know because I got a release telling me so.

I think I would have guessed it anyway, but a shout -ut to the folks who help me try to keep up with a dozen plates all spinning at once, all throwing off news and/or information (there is a difference) like sparks from a Fourth of July pinweel.

For instance, Food Network will look at the rebuilding effort through the eyes of TV Chef Emeril Lagasse, whose New Orleans restaurant is a fixture of that devastated city and familiar to most NATPE convention attendees.*

Then, from one kind of a"bam!" to another. The DIY (Do It Yourself) Network will look at rebuilding efforts, including Habitat for Humanity's efforts to build homes there.

Then, Sundance Channel will examine Al Gore's invention of online hurricane weather prediction…only kidding. In fact, Sundance will re-run a documentary on NBC anchor Brian Williams' five days in the city, coverage that has been much lauded and awarded.

The channel is also telling the heartbreaking story of 83-year-old photographer and Jazz-great chronicler Herman Leondard, who was able to save some of the photos of such luminaries as Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, while thousands more were washed away–"they're trying to wash us away," isn't that what Randy Newman sang so eloquently–as the flood waters ravaged his home studio. Talk about a river running through it.

And while I am on the subject, Terry Lee Ryan, one of the best piano players in New Orleans who has been camping for a while in my neck of the woods, is returning in a couple of weeks to help bring some more of that great music back. If he is playing somewhere and you miss it, don't blame me.

*I remember having to turn down an invitation to eat there once becuase I had to work on the TV Fax. Next to choosing a 5K run with Pier Mapes at the ANA convention at the Homestead over golf with Sam Snead, that was my biggest convention-related miscue.

By John Eggerton