Driving to New Orleans Tuesday for one of our occasional “date” trips out, I theorized to Sarah that Anderson Cooper’s nightly TV show lately emanating from the Crescent City was up to some trick photography.  “No way,” I reasoned, that the high-priced news celeb would brave the South Louisiana humidity night after night to produce a show in the open air along the river front with the Mississippi River in the background.  “AC,” I asserted, “is in some air conditioned studio where the technicians are superimposing his image against the River backdrop where the Algiers Ferry from time to time passes behind Anderson’s head on its way to or from the West Bank.”

We saw the production truck first.

The proof is in the pudding.

Tuesday night after supper, we clamored up the rise from the parking lot behind the old Jackson Brewery to look at the River.  Before I reached the Park, what did my eyes behold?  A CNN satellite truck parked at the edge of the lot.

“Ooh, interesting!” thought I.

So we crossed the lot and entered the grassy Riverfront Park beyond.  Smack in the middle of the pre-dusk sweltering park, lo and behold, there stood silver-haired Anderson Cooper  before TV cameras and lights alongside Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, both apparently listening to President Obama’s Oval Office address on the crisis.

On the steamy New Orleans riverfront, Anderson Cooper prepares to interview Billy Nungesser Tuesday night after the President's address.

Let me tell you, reader: It was nasty out there!  South Louisiana early summer heat and humidity had risen to its disgusting finest!  I marveled, in fact, how recent week after week, Anderson Cooper (and most of the time Billy Nungesser) must have sweated on that outdoor set to bring us the latest on the BP fiasco.

I have always enjoyed AC 360 on CNN, but tonight my respect soared to a new level.

Anderson and Billy went live on air from time to time for the duration of the evening, long after the President’s address and long after dark (AC’s show goes on until 10:00 CST).  I really enjoyed watching Anderson work.  Between shows, during commercials, during interviews, he spoke into his mike in exchange with the production crew in Atlanta about what graphics to show and what to do next, etc etc.  He was a busy show host, obviously well-prepared and professional.

As a Louisianian, I’ve been grateful for AC’s thorough coverage of this event from the beginning.  This week, after watching him in person work in the humid New Orleans elements, I’m more easily convinced that this guy’s in this story for real.  He believes in what he’s reporting.  The pathos that comes through in is work is now substantiated–to me, anyway–by the ethos of his person.

Thanks, AC, for what your reporting means to the Gulf Coast in times like these.