Katrina Comes Ashore

I spent the night at Mohegan Sun, preparing to emcee and event for a few thousand teachers. It wasn’t a good night. My body doesn’t know whether it’s “Tuesday or Chestnut Street.”

I caught a few hours, but was up at four… drifting in and out of a light sleep until my wakeup call at 6:30.

This isn’t the hotel’s fault. This is a top notch hotel (more on that later). It was my body saying “Don’t treat me this way.”

Message received.

Up early, I started spinning the dial, looking for Hurricane Katrina coverage. It wasn’t tough to find. Seemingly everyone had a ‘cowboy’ out in the elements, flirting with disaster.

I saw Anderson Cooper, in the pouring rain, gesturing to a crane he said might topple.

Hey, Andy – get away from the crane. This is only television.

All in all I liked the local coverage I saw last night on WWL much better than what the national news showed. Obviously, their was a different purpose to each particular broadcast. I found WWL’s comforting.

Is that OK to say? Comforting was what was needed.

I moved downstairs to prepare for the event. In the featured speaker’s dressing room, a TV was showing CNN. My last contact with the storm this morning was the report that the roof of the Louisiana Superdome had been breeched.

I think the original story was worse than what actually happened. I would think it wasn’t hype but genuine concern from the anchors and reporters. I certainly was concerned.

Yesterday, I had written about what the forecasters might have been thinking. Today, one of those scenarios came true as the storm weakened prior to landfall and then jogged right, giving a more direct hit to Alabama and Mississippi than Louisiana.

New Orleans wasn’t totally laid to waste. There has been plenty of damage, and once we get out of the ‘fog of war’ we’ll find plenty more. The coasts of Alabama and Mississippi really took the brunt of Hurricane Katrina. That was more than expected.

After the fact, I still agree with the decision to empty out New Orleans. Yes, some people will crawl out of the woodwork to say they rode it out and it wasn’t that bad. That’s not the point.

Tonight I’ll drive home wearing my seatbelt, even though I don’t expect to get into an accident.

Blogger’s note: One of my fellow MSU students just started a new job, forecasting in New

Orleans! He sent a mass mailing to the class which I’ll attach after the jump.

Hello to each and everyone of my fellow BMP

classmates. Let me re-introduce myself to all of you.

My name is Mike Janssen. I was the guy with the deep

voice and at the time of the workshop I was preparing

to start my new job at WGNO-TV in New Orleans.

After a week of training on the weather equipment,

Saturday was my FIRST DAY ON AIR. I’ll give you all a

minute to let that soak in……

After a couple hours of cut-ins Saturday morning and

afternoon, my chief took over as I took a little time

to rest and returned Saturday night. I relieved my

chief Saturday night around 11:30, and other than a

small break Sunday mid-morning I was the on air met

during our wall-to-wall coverage until 1:30 Sunday


During the time I was on air Katrina made her jump

from cat. 3, to cat. 4, to cat. 5 with 175 mph winds.

And let’s just say my eyes got a little big when the

pressure dropped to 906 mb.

Just before noon on Sunday my chief was flown to Baton

Rouge and a simulcast was set up with WBRZ, the ABC

affiliate. Once the simulcast was set up we were

forced out of our downtown offices by management due

to the mandatory evac. of New Orleans.

After live shots from the Mississippi River levee in

Baton Rouge from 5 AM to Noon Monday, I’m resting at

WBRZ. Now I’ll prepare for a few hours of sleep on a

conference room couch, I’ll head into the Big Easy at

day break with our news crews to file reports all day.

Of course the stories will only be used on CNN and

network since our transmitter was knocked out during

the storm. We’ve been told by our GM it would be a

week before we’re working and on air in the city


Sorry this was so long. I hope all of you are doing

well. Oh I forgot to mention that it may be a week

until I can return to my apt., that’s if it’s still

there. Rumor is a few of my co-workers lost their


There is no doubt New Orleans and surrounding areas

will never be the same again.

Mike Janssen

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