Piece Comment

Review of New Orleans' Friendly Bar

It's a challenging task at this point to say something new about New Orleanians and their efforts to rebuild their city and their lives. The idea of focusing on one neighborhood bar seems like a promising approach. Maybe we'll meet an interesting character or two, or hear one unpredictable story, or zero in on a telling detail that reveals something poignant or upbeat. Or maybe we'll get a documentary approach that lets us listen in and feel what it's like to hang out in Friendly Bar. Unfortunately, this piece offers none of the above. It contains a factual surprise or two (housing prices have gone up in some parts of the city), but the reporter uses the prism of the bar mainly to tell us what we already know: that every person in New Orleans and every aspect of life there remains changed by Katrina, that everybody has a Katrina story, that people face tough decisions about their future. The writing and production are fine, but it feels like an opportunity missed.