By car and plane, the Facing South/Institute team is now making its way to New Orleans for some first-hand coverage of developments in the post-hurricane Gulf. If NOLA's much-discussed city-wide WiFi service (which has caused BellSouth to rescind a donation to the city) holds up, you should see regular dispatches from us here and at Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch.

First stop tonight: a meeting with long-time New Orleans activist Darryl Malek-Wiley, who is connected to the Louisiana Environmental Action Network and the Southern office of the Sierra Club. He'll give us a run-down on post-hurricane pollution problems, the Old Gentilly Landfill, and other key issues.

Darryl knows the Gulf's environment like the back of his hand; in 1992 I was on a "toxic bus tour" that he guided, showing the assault that petrochemical companies have waged along the corridor known as "Cancer Alley" for its public health threats to surrounding communities (mostly poor/working-class and African-American).

Thanks to the readers who have written with their tips (including the kind soul who suggested "the best bar in the city, hands down" -- hint: it's nowhere near the French Quarter). Keep it coming (in the comments below or by emailing me here).