Did Brian Williams ‘misremember’ his Hurricane Katrina experience, too?

Brian Williams Hurricane Katrina Reporting

After admitting last week that the Army helicopter he flew in while reporting in Iraq wasn’t actually struck by enemy fire, NBC Nightly NewsBrian Williams announced he was taking himself off the broadcast for an undetermined amount of time because he is “presently too much a part of the news.” Unfortunately for Brian, it seems his time away from the anchor table is doing little to quell the growing amount of scrutiny on his reports.

Two stories that now have a great deal of doubt case over them pertain to Brian’s award-winning reports from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — causing NBC News to launch an investigation. Specifically, some are questioning whether Brian saw bodies outside of his hotel room, witnessed a man commit suicide at the Superdome or was threatened by gangs at the Ritz-Carlton, which are all stories he’s repeated a number of times through the years.

The first claim that he watched “a man float by face down” past his hotel room in the French Quarter was brought up last week by some who said that area wasn’t flooded. Although geographer Richard Campanella told the Times-Picayune on Friday that there was indeed floodwater around the hotel, the general manager from that time told Times-Picayune on Sunday that the water wasn’t high enough to float a body.

“There is no physical way the water was deep enough for a body to float in,” now-former general manager Myra deGersdorff said, explaining there was only 6-8 inches of water on the first floor. “I don’t know what Brian Williams saw or didn’t see, but I for sure didn’t see any bodies floating.”

Then there is the story Brian’s told about the Ritz-Carlton getting “overrun with gangs.” However, in 2005, the Times-Picayune reported the group of people outside the hotel didn’t pose any kind of legitimate threat. This week, a man who was staying at the hotel added to The Advocate that his experience was different from Brian’s version.

“Two off-duty police officers were running around keeping the peace,” Richard Rhodes said. “There were scary moments, but criminal gangs? That’s crazy.”

In a memo NBC News President Deborah Turness sent to the staff on Friday, she said they “have a team dedicated to gathering the facts to help us make sense of all that has transpired.” It’s unclear if and/or when Brian will return to the nightly broadcast.

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