Wade McIntyre: Louisiana making national news

Wade McIntyre

Reading USA Today every day can get old fast, but reading it sporadically can be quite enlightening.

USA Today is liberal-minded, at the opposite end of the spectrum from the venerable but increasingly comical right wing Wall Street Journal recently purchased by Rupert Murdock.

A copy of everyman USA Today will set you back a buck, but pick up a stuffy banker’s hat Wall Street Journal, and it’ll cost you two bucks.

In its own way, each newspaper is worth the price from time to time. When I’m on vacation, I like to read USA Today one day, and the Wall Street Journal the next. But if I’m looking for honest reporting, I’ll take USA Today.

Everyone in Louisiana owes USA Today a debt of gratitude for its steady and proactive coverage of the New Orleans recovery from Hurricane Katrina. The paper devoted many front pages to the city’s plight and recovery, and has personalized the city’s comeback through the eyes of people who are doing the work.

It seems like I always find something on New Orleans and Louisiana in the paper. When I see these stories, I know the rest of America sees them as well.

The Dec. 4 issue featured an article titled “10 great places to savor winter’s flavor.” Cochon restaurant in New Orleans was one of the 10 picks.

In the story, I learned Cochon serves a variety of oyster dishes. In addition to the pork meals you’d expect given the restaurant’s name, Cochon makes dishes like oyster meat pies, and an oyster BLT. I’ll be ordering the BLT on whole wheat for my next lunch in the Crescent City.

One of my favorite USA Today features is Across the USA, which features daily 50-plus-word news items from every state.

These snippets can be tragic, perplexing, humorous and revealing.

In the Dec. 4 New Mexico brief, state legislative Finance Committee members received word that revenues will sink $53 million lower in 2010 than expected, due to the use of stimulus money for schools and health care.

Back east in Virginia, that state’s two candidates for governor spent a combined $40.4 million on their campaigns this year.

In Cheyenne, Wyo., the governor and first lady are opening the Governor’s Residence to the public during the holidays and serving hot chocolate and gingerbread.

Police in Council Bluffs, Iowa released the name of a man found dead on the floor of a house for chronically homeless people after he was involved in a fight. The cause of  53-year-old Phillip Johnson’s death was undetermined.

The ACLU filed a federal suit against San Diego police and city officials that alleges city workers raided and destroyed property belonging to the homeless. The suit seeks a return of possessions lost and an injunction to stop further raids.

A jewelry store owner in Tarboro, N.C., was stampeded by a herd of deer while opening her downtown jewelry store. She suffered bruises and received a hoof print on her leg.

The biggest surprise of all, at least down here in Ascension Parish: Ascension’s Town of Sorrento made a rare Across the USA appearance for its council’s introduction of two ordinances that will restrict sexually oriented businesses. One ordinance determines where these type businesses can locate, the other sets licensing requirements.

How about that? Sorrento in the national news.

Wade McIntyre writes for the Weekly Citizen of Gonzales, La.