The above headline reflects both our news load tonight and this day New Orleanians (and a whole lot of other folks) know so well -- of partying, celebration, marching, music, beads, doubloons and occasional acts of general debauchery. I've been watching the coverage all day and I wish I could be there. It's as great an American spectacle as there is. Originally, our plan was to broadcast a night or two from New Orleans this week, as Harry Connick, Jr. was kind enough to extend an invitation to my wife and me to ride on his float (a huge Mardi Gras honor), but because of scheduling I had to turn it down. To mark Fat Tuesday in absentia, tonight we'll ask Wynton Marsalis, from here in New York, to "play us off the air" with his glorious horn -- as a musical tribute to his hometown and the struggle they are still facing.
At the top of the broadcast tonight: any number of important stories -- chief among them, in no particular order, today's twin Supreme Court cases, the closing arguments in the Libby case, the unfolding damage control effort at Walter Reed, and the unfolding saga and resulting reforms from the JetBlue meltdown. We'll also continue our series Trading Places -- featuring another story that we learned about from a viewer e-mail. And a preview of tomorrow night's segment: We'll take on the high-interest topic of long-term care insurance -- one that has been under discussion in our house.
About last night's effort: While we were battling some technical gremlins that might have been obvious to sharp-eyed viewers, I thought it was a good dissection of the changing U.S.-led war effort in Iraq -- one that deserves a close watch. It was a luxury to have Jane Arraf on duty there (for a time, she was the only credentialed Western reporter in the bad old Saddam days), to say nothing of the ability to turn to Richard Engel to my immediate left and ask him about the situation.
Viewer warning: There will be no mention of Britney Spears' baldness or rehab in tonight's broadcast, nor will there be any mention of Anna Nicole's "body possession" hearing.
Despite that, we sure hope you'll join us for our Fat Tuesday night effort.
Read more from Brian Williams 2007
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