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Officers from across the country join forces in New Orleans

Editor's Note: CNN correspondents report back on what they are seeing in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Many New Orleans residents staying put

SPECIAL REPORT

• Rebuilding: Vital signs
• Gallery: Landmarks over time
• Storm & Flood: Making history
• I-Report: Share your photos

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Posted: 5:06 p.m. ET
CNN's Jeff Koinange in New Orleans, Louisiana

We saw a convoy of NYPD vehicles roll through here earlier. You could see people waving at them and clapping.

Law enforcement agencies from New York to California have come to New Orleans to lend a hand. We've seen them all across this city. Security is very tight.

We took a drive this morning through several neighborhoods asking people whether they're going to agree to leave the city. Many of them told us that they don't want to leave.

We asked them whether they fear an outbreak of disease. And they said, "Look, we are New Orleans residents. We've lived here all our lives. We know what it's like."

Many of those people living with pets don't want to leave because they fear that wherever they are taken, their pets might not be allowed.

At the end of the day, a lot of people are adamant about staying in this city, regardless of what condition it is in.

Smell is 'indescribable'

Posted: 1:11 p.m. ET
CNN's Jim Roope in New Orleans, Louisiana

Downtown New Orleans is, for lack of a better word, unrecognizable. The scene outside the convention center, stacks and stacks of garbage, human waste and other debris, tells us just how out-of-control and chaotic the evacuation was.

The smell is also unrecognizable. In fact, it's indescribable. It's nauseating and gives you a headache.

The Superdome is still surrounded by water, deeper in some places than others. But, no matter how much water, the smell is universally foul. (See a video diary of two tourists' experience inside the Superdome -- 3:32)

I caught up with a few officers from the New York Police Department who say they are feeling the same camaraderie they felt during 9/11. All the agencies are working hard together.

One sergeant says the New Orleans Police Department has gotten some bad press. He says these officers are not only brave, but have gone far above and beyond the call. He says he'd stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the NOPD anytime, anywhere.

Bracing for what's next

Posted: 10:45 a.m. ET
CNN's Drew Griffin in New Orleans, Louisiana

We traveled through many New Orleans neighborhoods that were high and dry Wednesday. Some were unscathed but sustained wind damage. Tree limbs were down. We saw the first really big effort to start cleaning up. The city is broken into grids now, and contractors are being assigned blocks to clean.

The Texas National Guard sent a water purification team to the West End.

Many downtown businesses are starting repairs. Workers are just now putting boards up over broken windows of the Saks Fifth Avenue that was looted -- nine days ago.

I think the city is bracing for what's next, and that is bodies. We keep hearing to expect thousands. We're hoping that this is a huge exaggeration, but we have no way of knowing. A lot of people are missing.

One of the most hopeful signs I came across was inside Johnny White's sports bar. It is on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. The sign behind the bar says "never closed." The bar was open and full. The beer only cool, not cold. Johnny's never closed for this hurricane -- the bartender, Joseph Bellomy, says, like New Orleans, it never will. (See the Coast Guard Vice Amiral talk about rescue and recovery efforts in New Orleans -- 4:48)

Katrina exposes hearts and homes

Posted: 9:53 a.m. ET
CNN's Jim Roope in New Orleans, Louisiana

As I drove into New Orleans Wednesday, the first thing I noticed was the destruction. Huge steel billboards bent to the ground, trees snapped off from various parts of the trunks, some completely uprooted that have caved in houses and businesses.

Apartment houses look like doll houses. The sides are ripped from the complexes exposing the apartments and their contents just like when a child opens their doll house. It looks like some one put the contents in a blender and then poured them out inside the exposed building.

Talking with those who had been finally airlifted from their flooded neighborhoods, many had no idea just how bad it is. Without electricity or batteries they've not heard how devastated the city is or how toxic the water. After being told how bad things really are they simply say, "Oh my God."

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