by Kevin Allman
New Orleans bloggers are (rightly) buzzing about last night's report on the WWL news, in which reporter Lee Zurik investigated New Orleans Affordable Homeownership, Inc. and the group's "home remediation program," which offered free gutting services to low-income homeowners impacted by Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal levees. NOAH is a non-profit group that's also an agency of the city of New Orleans, with a $3.5 million budget.
It's a story that's been bulldogged for weeks by local activist and blogger Karen Gadbois, who's been cataloging NOAH's claims and contrasting them with photos of the actual properties the group claims to have remediated.
Zurik interviewed Gadbois at length on camera, giving her full credit for her discoveries, followed it with his own research and interviews, and produced an outstanding piece that indicated we're not soon to hear the last of NOAH's follies.
I dropped out of philosophy in college, so I'm not interested in metadiscussions about whether blogging is journalism, or traditional journalism is just blogging on an expense account, or what makes a reporter a reporter. I just think it's neat when high-quality Old Media and high-quality New Media team up and produce great results*...so kudos to both Karen and Lee. Read her blog, and watch his story.
* And don't miss the contribution of Gambit's David Winkler-Schmit to the tragicomedy:
File this one as either one of the most inept excuses ever, or as sheer genius. When Gambit Weekly called New Orleans Affordable Housing (NOAH) and requested information about a contract they have with the city and records for the work completed, the interim director explained she didnt remember the exact amount of the contract and that some of the records would difficult to locate.
I cant find the key to the office, NOAH interim director Tonya Durden replied....