This morning, we begin a rare experiment in the fast-moving world of daily television journalism: the chance to immerse ourselves in a story for a week and bring you a different chapter every night. If it works -- and we think it will -- we'll have helped illustrate the true effects of this year's hurricane season on the Gulf Coast.
Here's how it will work: each morning, two small caravans of producers, photographers and engineers will pull into a different town. A forgotten town. Or one that was never paid enough attention to be forgotten in the first place.
We'll ask the questions so many of YOU have asked: how's the relief effort? What's the pace of rebuilding there? Were promises made to victims of the storm, and more importantly, were promises kept? Have people moved back, and if so, how much of their lives have been forever changed by this year's punishment from Mother Nature? What do their reactions (or those of our country's) say about ourselves?
At the end of the day, we'll show you what we found. Then we'll load up the gear, hop in the car, and head to the next days's destination. No disrespect to Charles Kuralt, but we'll literally BE "on the road."
If there's one thing I've learned since standing outside the New Orleans Hyatt Regency as Katrina hit, it's that EVERYONE'S "Katrina" experience is different. It depended on whether you were rich or poor, urban or rural, old or young -- even overweight or thin.
Try as we might to tell everyone's story (and we've tried), it's near-impossible to show all the facets of a phenomenon that struck over such a wide area. Our team, headed by ace producers Al Henkel and Mark Hudspeth, will do our best. And because we'll be focusing on the coastline WEST of New Orleans, we'll also tell the story of Hurricane Rita -- and how its devastation was compounded by the chaos from Katrina just weeks before.
We're excited to take you on this journey. With the immediacy of this blog, we hope to be your eyes and ears as we bring you with us.
As the Blues Brothers might have said: it's 100 miles to Port Arthur, Texas. It's dark. And we're wearing sunglasses. We'll see you on the road.