What Rob Couhig Really Thinks About New Orleans

Jun 23, 2008 by

HumidCity is once more proud to bring you Missives From Matt McBride. This episode is in response to a rather obnoxious column that includes a revelation concerning what a certain former Mayoral candidate (and then Nagin supporter) truly thinks of our efforts to bring our city back. -Loki

Source Article Here

“Will America’s breadbasket be fixed faster than America’s party town, brought to its knees by water-overwhelmed levees in August 2005?

Rob Couhig, 59, thinks it will, partly because of Midwestern self-reliance. He thinks they’re not about to sit around, wringing their hands, waiting for the government to bail them out, which, he says, sadly, was what his beloved home town did – and still does.

A no-nonsense corporate lawyer in an open-collar white shirt, Couhig is a commissioner on the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and is thought by some to be one of the smartest men in town.”

“Talk-show host Robinette, a Cajun who devoted countless on-air hours to the danger of flooding before and after it happened, says that the city’s high ground, which was spared the flooding, exactly matched the boundaries of the original city. “If the engineers of 200 years ago knew those areas, you shouldn’t build there.”

This came in response to me asking if it is wise to rebuild the entire city.

To the same question, lawyer Couhig gave me an answer as long as a Ryan Howard home run, but didn’t directly answer.

“You’re saying ‘no,’ aren’t you?” I asked.

Couhig didn’t reply, but he smiled. I guess there are some things that you don’t want to be quoted as passing through your lips.”

The columnist gets things wrong too, assumedly from his chat with Garland Robinette:

“One who believes this to be true is 65-year-old Garland Robinette, a former TV anchor and now popular talk-show host on WWL-AM, which earned its bones by remaining on the air with emergency information after the TV stations drowned and the local paper couldn’t get delivered.”

In fact, the T-P stayed on line the whole time and was publishing within a couple of days. WWL-TV stayed on air continuously. Both won the most prestigious prizes in their respective fields for those feats; the T-P got a Pulitzer in 2006 and WWL-TV got a Columbia-DuPont prize in 2007.

Rob Couhig can be emailed at: [email protected]

Garland Robinette can be emailed at: [email protected]

You can email the column’s author, Stu Bykofsky at [email protected] or call 215-854-5977, which is his direct line.

This column came out of a columnists conference held last week in New Orleans. Lt. Gov. Landrieu and Mayor Nagin spoke to the assembled ink-stained wretches. The organization that put it on, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, has high hopes for lots of columns to come out of the conference:


Since New Orleans’ attempt to recover from being virtually destroyed by Hurricane Katrina is one of the most dramatic stories of our generation, we’re expecting some great columns to come out of the conference.

“We plan on collecting these columns (with permission, of course) and assembling them in an attractive book. Current plans call for proceeds from the sale of the book to go to help the recovery effort, which still needs help almost three years after the storm and flood.

If the rest of the columns are like this one, it’ll be a pretty thin book.

Matt McBride

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