Was Ed Blakely there? Oh, mais oui.
Was Jackie Clarkson there? No; she's sent word that she was unable to make it. Of course, us media types got booted by 8:30, so we missed any Cinderella arrivals.
What did the mayor say? Well, before the press availability, an aide came over to tell us ink- and videotape-stained wretches that the mayor had entered through a side door and would not be able to comment on anything that mighta kinda coulda happened in front of the hotel earlier, because he didn't see it. Said the aide: "We have no physical reaction to that."
Naturally, the press corps (actually, Bigad Shaban from WWL) asked anyway. "I saw about 10 or 15 people," said Hizzoner, "and I understand it; last year I was a newsmaker." He went on to say that the party wasn't about him, but about the other "Katrina survivors" who were being honored (there wasn't a dais or a program, nor were they listed on the tribute board above, so I had no idea who they were).
"Who are the other honorees?" I asked him.
"We have an EMS, first responder," said the mayor.
"I'll get you that list later," said an aide, stepping in.
(For the record, they are: Manuel Curry, a 55-year-vet of the NOPD; Carla San Martin, president and CEO of Nosotros magazine; Loretta Harrison of Loretta's Pralines; and Fr. Vien Nguyen of Mary Queen of Vietnam in New Orleans East.)
Gotta run - but later: exclusive pictures of people eating! (I didn't get a bite.) The Rebirth Brass Band with Bernardo! Stewart Juneau and his lovely wife Juli!
Oh, and Chris Rose wasn't part of the press gaggle, but came in at the end; I guess he's not press any more, but an invited guest, no matter what he writes about the mayor. The seas parted as he and Nagin met and did the Manly Hug: Rex and Comus, or perhaps David Gregory and Karl Rove.