Video flashback: Scott Walker, 21-year-old sports anchor

I was going through some old video and stumbled upon some gems. I started my career as a sports anchor at WDAM in Hattiesburg while still in college. These videos prove that I was once a very green 21-year-old.

WDAM: Interviewing former C-USA and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive in 1996.

WDAM: Tennessee / Ole Miss highlights. A young Peyton Manning at QB for the Vols in 1996.

WLBT: Sports Journal promo from 1998. This is awful.

On the road: Tonight’s gubernatorial debate at Louisiana Tech

We’re on the road to the Louisiana Tech campus  in Ruston for tonight’s critical debate. Election Day is only nine days away.

The debate, which begins at 6 p.m., will be televised locally on WDSU and streamed online at and the WDSU mobile app. It will also air on TV stations across the state.
A panel of journalists from across the state will be asking questions. I am the only journalist from New Orleans on the panel. The moderator will be Sherri Talley from KTBS-TV in Shreveport.

The four leading candidates for Louisiana governor will participate — Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and State Rep. John Bel Edwards.

Senator Vitter has declined previous invitations to televised debates except tonight’s and the one Oct. 1, which also aired on WDSU.

I’ll have live reports on WDSU News at 4 and 5 p.m.

WDSU gubernatorial debate airs live Thursday at 6 p.m.

All four of the leading candidates in the race to succeed Gov. Bobby Jindal are expected to take part in the first major debate of the campaign — one which will air live from the studios of WDSU TV.

The Commitment 2015 event will be moderated by WDSU News anchor Scott Walker.

Expected to participate are U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, all Republicans; State Rep. John Bel Edwards and attorney Cary Deaton, who are Democrats; and Rev. Jeremy Odom, who is not affiliated with any party.
Polls have shown Vitter and Edwards leading, with Angelle and Dardenne each trailing by double-digit margins. The two highest-finishing candidates will advance to a runoff unless one candidate can secure in excess of 50 percent of the vote.

That’s highly unlikely, according to analysts, meaning the Oct. 24 “jungle primary” will likely serve as the first in a two-round battle, with the top candidates meeting head-to-head in a Nov. 21 runoff.

The WDSU debate will address a wide range of topics central to the role of the governor. In addition to the live broadcast on WDSU TV, it will be distributed on television stations and websites across Louisiana, including a livestream on and the WDSU mobile app.

Jindal, who is running for president in the waning months of his second term, has become a target of all of the major candidates for governor. His successor will inherit a problematic budget and a higher education system that some have put at crisis levels. (From

Column: It’s a long season, Who Dats

When the 2009 season opened, the Saints were coming off 7-9 and 8-8 campaigns. That was so Saints, right? They followed up 2006’s NFC Championship season (10-6) with back-t0-back stinkers. There was no reason to be overly optimistic. None. But something magical happened. The Saints reeled off 13 straight wins on their way to a 13-3 season and Super Bowl championship.

That magic — the era during which the Saints dominated opponents — is gone. Back then, they scored points in bunches and beat the other team into submission. Today, they have to fight and claw for every yard, every point. There are fewer “stars” on offense and defense. That can be a good thing later. It’s not so good now. During the offseason, the Saints transformed from an old team to a young team, shedding several veterans and adding 25 new players. That’s a lot of new talent to mix into Sean Payton’s formula. My colleague, WDSU sports anchor Fletcher Mackel, says in his latest column the Saints are rebuilding. I disagree. If Drew Brees is gone they’re rebuilding. As long as he’s on the team, which I believe he still is, then the Saints are playing to win. Will it be easy? No. Can it be done? Yes.

The Saints lost to what many consider one of the top teams in the NFC. They didn’t lose to Tampa Bay, which comes to the Superdome this weekend. If that happens, maybe it’s time to get concerned. The Buccaneers looked pathetic in a 42-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The Saints should beat the Bucs, and if they’re serious about this season, they’ll beat them handily.

The defense is young and has several starters out. The offense is trying to find its new identity. A team like this coming together doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen. Will it? Who knows? I do know it’s important to be playing your best football in December and not September. The season is a long one, and this Saints team has a long way to go.

The Saints are coming off a 7-9 season… maybe there’s some magic still to come.







Katrina aftermath: My family’s camp in Mississippi destroyed

This is a story I did one week after Hurricane Katrina while working at WPMI, the NBC affiliate in Mobile. I drove over to my family’s camp in Clermont Harbor, Miss., a place we visited frequently over 25 years. The area near Bay St. Louis was left unrecognizable.

Thornton: Only a few inches separated the Superdome from utter chaos after Katrina

Video: That time when Sharief thought I was Fletcher Mackel

‘Sharknado 3’ viewing party and costume contest — and I’m a judge 


Movie Premiere and Costume Contest


Contact: Will Samuels (504) 872-0731

NEW ORLEANS, LA- July 9, 2015– Will Samuels, co-owner of Lakeview’s Pizza Nola, announced today that the pizzeria will host a viewing party and costume contest for the premiere of the SyFy Channel original movie Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, from 7:00-10pm, at 141 W Harrison.

“The Sharknado films may comprise one of the most important cinematic trilogies of our time,” said Samuels. “At this point, it has become our civic duty as responsible media consumers and as a casual affordably-priced full-service family restaurant to commemorate it accordingly.” Previously, the restaurant has held viewing parties for the first two Sharknado movies, the SyFy epics Ghost Shark and Arachnoquake, and last year’s season premiere of NCIS: New Orleans.

According to SyFy Channel, in Sharknado 3 the entire Eastern seaboard is affected by the “shearing winds of teeth and death” as a Sharknado ravages from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, FL. Once again, Fin (Ian Ziering) and April (Tara Reid) must save the day with the assistance of David Hasselhoff, Bo Derek, Cassie Scerbo, and a host of celebrity cameos (including Mark Cuban as the President, Ann Coulter as the Vice President, and Lou Ferrigno as Secret Service Agent “Banner”) .

 The movie begins at 8pm, preceded at 7pm by a Sharknado costume contest. Celebrity judges include Sharknado experts Scott Walker (news anchor, WDSU-TV), Kevin Allman (Editor, Gambit Weekly), and Allison Kushner (Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, and Sharknado star Ian Ziering’s cousin). Contest prizes include a Sharknado2 screenplay signed by screenwriter Thunder Levin, signed DVDs by the movie’s director, Anthony C. Ferrante, Pizza Nola gift certificates signed by Will Samuels, and other goodies to be determined.

The movie will be projected on a large screen in the pizzeria’s parking lot. Food and drinks will be available for sale from the restaurant, and participants are encouraged to bring blankets and/or folding chairs (no outside food or drinks). The party also will include giveaways and door prizes. The event is free.

Pizza Nola is located at 141 W Harrison Ave in Lakeview and is open daily with dine-in and carryout service as well as delivery to 70124, 70005, UNO and beyond. On Fridays through Sundays, the restaurant offers a full breakfast (including delivery) from Bawk beginning at 7am.

For more information, call Pizza Nola at 504-872-0731, visit the event’s Facebook site at, or visit,, and follow @PizzaNola on Twitter.

That moment when my shoe fell off at the end of the newscast…

My Steve Gleason interview: Parts 1 and 2 together

One-on-one with Steve Gleason (part 2 of 2)

NEW podcast: Scott talks to Jazz trumpeter Jeremy Davenport

One-on-one with Steve Gleason (part 1 of 2)

Breaux Bridge phone book: Dialing up interest since 1949

Fletcher Mackel and Sharief Ishaq join Scott to breakdown the Saints’ two first round picks


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