Star Correspondents Bolt Tampa For NOLA, As Isaac Approaches

By Alex Weprin 

Two TV news correspondents who made their marks covering Hurricane Katrina seven years ago are returning to New Orleans as another hurricane approaches.

Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith and CNN’s Anderson Cooper will be covering Hurricane Isaac as it hits in or near New Orleans later this week, skipping Tampa and the Republican National Convention. CNN is also sending Soledad O’Brien to New Orleans.

While both Smith and Cooper were known commodities prior to Katrina, the Hurricane coverage propelled the to household name status.

At a Turner Broadcasting dinner held in New Orleans’ French Quarter during the 2008 NCTA trade show, Cooper told the assembled guests (including me) about how important Katrina was to him.

“We try to come every couple of months, just to keep the story alive,” Cooper told us at the time. “For all of us who covered it, the images are still very fresh in our minds.”

In 2010, Smith told the AP’s David Bauder about the experience: “The emotions, the activism that sort of sprung was natural and for the time, reflectively, I think it was probably right,” he said.

O’Brien also established herself in the aftermath of Katrina, including a now-infamous interview in which FEMA director Michael Brown appeared to not have as much information about the situation as O’Brien did.