BACK IN THE BIG EASY
We'll originate the broadcast from the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans tonight. Ann Curry and Martin Savidge are here with me and both will offer reports on the status of this place: Martin on the overall picture and Ann on the children of this city. During our afternoon conference call, which I joined by speaker cell phone while sitting on a sewer drain along the side of the road (watching as two sizable rats emerged from beneath the foundation of the house across the street), we tried to rank today's news budget in some kind of discernible order: there is the weather, which continues to carry some urgency in the Eastern United States, there is a new Associated Press story (a piece of enterprise reporting on their part) about post-Katrina spending in this area, there's a breast cancer story of interest, and the sordid and sad story involving NASA in a strange way. Additionally, Mitt Romney has pre-announced (the political equivalent of pre-boarding) and we at NBC are in the news today, with the departure of the only leader of this company many of us have ever known during our tenure. Our CEO Bob Wright has handed the baton to Jeff Zucker, who has been a friend since I first arrived at NBC. Our new CEO is the first to come from a news division background. We'll note this transition tonight as well.
LONG NIGHT IN NEW ORLEANS
At 2 o'clock this morning, I was in the kitchen of Engine 29 in New Orleans. The truth is, I was happy there. I was a volunteer fireman long enough for it to have seeped into my blood, and we met some great guys who I plan to visit when we come back for return trips.
We talked about our common experiences in the fire academy, practicing search and rescue, and exciting topics (to us, at least) like positive and negative ventilation and using breathing apparatus. I won't even get into the operation of the pump panel or the proper use of a fog nozzle on a booster line. As you may be able to tell, it was actually tough to leave them as dawn arrived, but it was great to be able to drive through the streets with a deputy chief, in the cab I was never allowed to sit in as an ordinary firefighter. As we will attempt to point out in the story we shot last night for air in tonight's broadcast, these firefighters have been serving, quietly and with great bravery and distinction, while living in trailers. I am in awe of all of them.
We hope you will watch Nightly News from New Orleans tonight. We'll see you back in New York tomorrow night.
Read more from Brian Williams 2007
Reporting Katrina: A Boy's Nightmare
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