Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré stood in the red-dawn morning of another day saving lives and crushing civil disorder in post-Katrina New Orleans. The man cut an outsized figure, instantly iconic – “that John Wayne dude," in the words of the city's mayor.
Back then, in 2005, I had been granted a 3:30 a.m. interview with him as a chopper began turning its rotors nearby. I had to ask: “You gonna run for president or what?”
The general shrugged that nonsense off. But there was a sense not just among reporters but in all New Orleans that the person credited with pulling the Crescent City out of the muck was destined for more than a quiet retirement tending collards in his prolific backyard garden.
Honoré retired from the Army last year and is now an educational consultant focusing on emergency preparedness. On Monday, he brushed off as “a serious rumor” the notion that he’s ready to take on scandal-plagued Sen. David Vitter (R) for his seat next year.
On the other hand, Honoré announced Saturday that he’s moving back to Louisiana from his comfy Georgia ranch. “I’ll be on the streets with you ... to once again claim this city as one of the greatest cities in America,” he said in a New Orleans speech marking the fourth anniversary of hurricane Katrina.