As for how long he’ll remain on the air, Robinette says he’s not sure. He has no immediate plans to stop, but at various points he spoke wistfully of retiring and leaving the city, pursuing his love of painting in some distant, less-troubled landscape. He also says he was approached by a delegation of local businessmen (whom he declines to name) about running for mayor next year when Nagin’s term expires, a suggestion he says he quickly dismissed. At times the city and its multitude of problems—staggering violence, dysfunctional politics, economic woes—seem to overwhelm even Robinette’s crusading temperament. And, hanging above it all, is the unrelenting specter that New Orleans remains in peril, unprotected by the incompetence of those Robinette rails against each week. The aftermath of Katrina reopened emotional scars from the war that Robinette thought had finally healed, and he’s not sure he’d be able to endure another big storm. That the city will flood again, Robinette has no doubt. “We’re basically Gulf-front property already,” he says with resignation. “People still don’t realize how close the sea has come.” But as another hurricane season gets under way, Robinette remains at the microphone, fighting a battle he sometimes thinks is already lost. And in the warm and verdant city outside his studio window, the trees are filled with the song of birds.

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Douglas McCollam is a contributing editor to CJR.