Sept. 4, 2005 8:25 a.m.
On the road out with cameraman Tom Jackman behind the wheel of his new Ford van. His van has been at considerable risk both first during the storm, then with the violence in the city.
His father was a Ford engineer. At one point, backing up the van with our boat attached to the back hitch he looked out the big double-side view on the right and almost said to himself, "I love these mirrors."
At gas stations he fills up and I get the window. There are a lot of bugs in Louisiana. I work the big squeegee. I take my time and go with the sponge, then the wiper, going about halfway down the water with each pull. Then we get back in the car and start driving.
"Nice job on the window," he says.
We are on the road out now and it is a blue sky. We've got gas and we are about to get coffee. After hearing nothing but weather or damage reports for more than a week a classic rock station came on the air. You can get thirsty for music after a while. My right foot was working the drums...if I had long hair I would have been whipping it around. The song went:
Bad company, I can't deny...
Bad company until the day I die.
Sept. 3, 2005 3:18 pm
New Orleans, La.
Fat guy in a chair, in line for four days, waiting on a highway. His wife stands behind him in line, hands on the back of his chair. Two white people in a line of about 1000 blacks.
His feet are bloated. He has a small piece of cardboard under his bare, bloated feet so they don't burn on the highway. It's the bloated feet that got me. I stopped and looked at them. I thought about giving him my Tilley hat. I had already given my spare hat to FOX engineer Pat Butler. I decided not to give him my hat. I gave him my sunscreen.
I wanted to give him water but how could I give him water, a white guy in a crowd of blacks? I did not give him my water.
Sept. 2, 2005 9:28 a.m.
New Orleans, La.
The goal today is to get as close as possible to the convention center. That seems to be the worst spot. Hopefully we can find some dry land with the center in the background. If we get too close we could lose the boat.
We were able to power the videophone off the boat battery by splicing the inverter cable. A local guy I hired, Sean, cut the tips with a wire cutter from his shorts' pocket, put the tips of the wire in his mouth, pulled and spat. The black wire cover shot out of his mouth like a seed. I looked down on him from the roof of somebody's house, lying on my stomach, holding the boat with one hand. I could never strip a wire like that. It's like lighting a cigarette. Some people can do it, some people can't.
I was on the second floor roof of a nice house. It was flat, so we set up the videophone on the roof and ran the cables down to the boat battery. I could look in the guy's bedroom on the second floor. Just the tips of the fence around the yard poked up out of the water, which was anywhere from six to 15 feet deep. The tops of street signs just showed above the water level. A basketball net was visible, the pole hidden by water.
We took the boat back through a cemetery, which was also underwater. We drove the boat through a hallway cavern in a large mausoleum. I looked at some of the names on the wall, which were still above water. One of the guys was born the same year as I was. It smelled bad. Sean warned me to look out for coffins, which would foul the propeller.
[Editor's note: Join Team FOX coverage of aftermath rescue efforts and recovery in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.]
• E-mail Harrigan
You and Shepard Smith gave us both dramatic and as real coverage as possible. I do believe you both were instrumental in shocking the government into action and saving lives. God Bless you and continue the great reporting.
You report the news like a "real" person. Our entire family eagerly awaits your next report, albeit "on air" or via blog. Keep up the good work.
the Thomas family in Arkansas
Just a short note to tell you how appreciated your coverage of Katrina has been to me. From the first images (almost comical) of you trying to stand in the wind to the fire burning in downtown New Orleans. You come off as the average guy, but your work proves that you are far from average. All the best, Bill
Thanks for the great coverage of the hurricane. We especially enjoy your blogs for the other half of the story. Stay safe.
Stan & Mary Ann
I want you to know that I have watched you in Afghanistan, Africa, Mexico, Iraq, and other places I can't name right now. Now, I see you in Mississippi and Louisiana. You are always looking at events on a higher level then most reporters. You see things that others never seem to notice. I pray that the work you did in Africa and In Mexico garnered some action. It must be frustrating to report on such despicable situations, and be unable to do anything about it. Keep up the great work, and know that you are very highly regarded in Roseville, California. God's speed.
Nancy K. and Family
I just want to say that I think you and Shepard Smith are undoubtedly the reason those poor folks on the 10 freeway overpass ever got any attention and finally got rescued at all. I am a 54 years old Black American female. I watch cable TV news everyday and often find myself wondering if the reporters at FOX are able to really be fair and balanced and not slanted to the right. After watching you and Shepard Smith tell it straight about those folks stranded and ignored on the freeway overpass, I know that FOX reporters can indeed, be fair. You and Shepard said it like it is regarding the rescue efforts when you reported that, " It was not fair or equal." Good going !!
Steve: Don't you ever get to cover safe stories? Every time I've seen you in the last 4 years you've been ducking bullets, dodging explosions, running from insurgents, or wading through flood waters as rain pelted you without mercy. We worry about your safety, and want to thank you for your fearlessness in covering so many stories to bring them to us without seemingly a care about your own safety. God speed and use the lice shampoo now—just to be safe.
A Concerned Mother
My husband and I have followed your brave and courageous coverage since the beginning of Katrina. We can't imagine what you have gone through to bring us, and the world, this devastating story. Your honest and so often heart-wrenching reporting gave us so much to digest, discuss- often through our tears and anger- about how this city and its people have suffered. We thank you for all you have done and God Bless You!
Theresa, New York
Harrigan, you are the MAN! I always "un-mute" and listen to your reports. Never know if you are going to be riding around with Mexican police or in a flat boat in the flooded waters of New Orleans. You are loved by all of us that want to know what's really going on.
God bless you my friend.
Amazing reporting Steve. You and Shephard Smith are the only two reporters on any channels who are reporting the real situation in the gulf. I am sure the people of the area appreciate your efforts to enlighten us all on their plight
What happened to the black gentleman carrying the wet Pomeranian through the water? You showed him all day long going back into the broadcast. I have a beloved Pom of my own and have thought about the man and his dog all day...Thanks, Jennifer
You've got guts brother!
What will we do if we have a storm hit the east coast in two weeks? I hope the government is preparing for this because there is a great possibility that we may have another storm soon.
Really enjoying your blog, or whatever they call the written reports I've found on the FOX News web site. Good stuff. Keep it up, and God bless.
Awesome job telling the story -- Yourself, Shep, Jeff and Phil, Rick and others have done an awesome job of capturing the reality. My five-year old asks me every night, where do you sleep when all this is going on?? I tell him you all are safe, but really, people do worry about your safety. Can you tell us also, how are you able to find gas to travel around and are you worried about car-jackers?? Just a curious mom! Stay safe, and great job!