Garland Robinette in December 2008 by Blake Nelson Boyd.
Garland Charles Robinette|
August 21, 1943,
Boutte, Louisiana, U.S.
|Education||New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts|
|Known for||Radio Host, Television news anchor, visual artist|
Robinette was a news anchor and investigative reporter on New Orleans TV station WWL-TV Channel 4 for twenty years (December 24, 1970 until August 8, 1990). After leaving the TV station, Robinette served as head of public relations for Freeport-McMoRan in New Orleans before starting his own firm. He returned to the media in 2005 on WWL (AM) as a fill-in for David Tyree, a popular host stricken with cancer. The position became permanent when Tyree succumbed several weeks after Hurricane Katrina.
Robinette came to national attention with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As the storm made landfall radio station WWL was the only broadcast media in New Orleans able to continue operating during the disaster. Robinette was broadcasting from a hastily thrown together set-up in a closet of the WWL studios after the high rise building windows blew out. In the days between the time when the hurricane hit New Orleans and when outside help arrived, Robinette's broadcasts were an important information source for those able to hear radio broadcasts in the Greater New Orleans area. On September 2, 2005, Robinette conducted the famous interview with Mayor Ray Nagin where the mayor urged those in the Federal Government who had been promising but not delivering aid to "get off your asses".
Robinette is one of the interview subjects in When the Levees Broke, the 2006 Spike Lee documentary about the effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. He also appears alongside Angela Hill, his former coanchor and ex-wife, in Hexing A Hurricane, a documentary about the first six months in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Garland Robinette retired from WWL radio in July 2017 after a 12-year run, to focus on painting.
- Robinette, a native of the Louisiana bayou country and Hahnville High School alum, is a U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War.
- In 1988, Robinette was caught attempting to enter the Republican National Convention, which was held in the Louisiana Superdome, with a concealed firearm in his briefcase.
- Robinette is also an artist—known particularly for his portraits. He studied at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and created the official poster for the 2011 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
- On his radio show on 25 October 2006, Robinette advocated the use of nuclear weapons in an attempt to end the Iraq war.
- On his radio show on 28 May 2008, Robinette vigorously defended his position that, just like a janitor, the President of the United States needs no experience and can rely on experts and training in this position.
- When they were husband and wife for 9 years (1978-1987), Robinette and Angela Hill were paired. (Hill retired from the anchor desk in April 2013.)
- His last name means, roughly, "little bright fame," ironic considering that he became very famous after Hurricane Katrina.
- Sometimes mistakenly called "Robin Garlanett", and jokingly refers to himself by using this moniker at times.
- Robinette and Hill were collectively referred to as "Garangela the two-headed monster" by local talk show wag, Dennis Williams during his tenure (1982–1987) on WSMB-AM and later WNOE-AM both rival radio stations at the time to WWL-AM.
- Robinette humorously refers to Democrats as "Dema-don'ts" & Republicans as "Republican'ts" and both as "Fear Clubs". He uses both these terms in the same sentence during a live CNN Anderson Cooper broadcast on 6/15/10 in making a point about the BP Gulf Oil Spill.
- On 2010 October 22 Robinette's Think Tank became the first media outlet to mention lieutenant governor candidate Caroline Fayard as a potential Democrat alternative to Republican governor Bobby Jindal should Jindal seek reelection in 2011.
- A frequent guest on Robinette's program is the Shreveport demographer and political pundit Elliott Stonecipher.
- "'I need reinforcements'". Daily Star. 5 September 2005. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
- McCollam, Douglas (July 17, 2009). "A Man in Full: Four years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans broadcaster Garland Robinette is still fighting mad". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
Robinette’s performance during and after the storm has become a piece of Katrina legend. . . . At a time when cable television and even electricity were scarce, Robinette’s raspy voice was often all people had to steady them through the crisis. His interview with Mayor Ray Nagin a few days after the storm, in which the mayor aimed a profanity-laced stream of invective at the federal government’s failure to respond, went viral on the Internet and is considered, in retrospect, the turning point in getting the city help.
- "'Garland decides it's time to paint, retires from radio'". 7 July 2017.
- Cf. Louisiana state elections, 2010#Lieutenant Governor.