Friday, February 10, 2006
I don't mean to get preachy, but...
I'm heading to New Orleans today. We will broadcast from there Friday night.

As you know, I am personally very committed to making sure that what has happened and continues to happen in Louisiana and Mississippi does not get forgotten. In this day and age, with so much information and such short attention spans, it's easy to just move on to other subjects, other stories. Anyway, I'm not going to get all preachy about it, but I think we owe it to those who perished in the Gulf and those who survived to keep the focus on recovery, rebuilding and remembrance. Unless we study the mistakes, unless we hold public officials accountable for their words and actions, we will repeat the same mistakes.

Few politicians have acknowledged specific mistakes. Many have blamed others or issued vague, general mea culpas, but that's always easier, isn't it? OK, so I'm getting preachy. I'll stop. See you in New Orleans.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 10:38 AM ET
I totally agree that until mistakes are noted and admitted they will be repeated.

Thanks for your personal commitment to helping us remember, holding people accountable, and for keeping them honest.
Posted By Anonymous Marian, Franklin, TN : 10:53 AM ET
Don't worry about getting preachy, Anderson. We need accountability for this terrible disaster and every effort should be made to help our fellow Americans in the Gulf region.
Posted By Anonymous David, Burlington Vermont : 10:59 AM ET
thank god someone does keep talking about it (even if it does get preachy). the way the media forgets about people who are affected by things like this sucks, and you're a bastion of humanity in a sea of soundbites.
Posted By Anonymous nicole el paso, TX : 10:59 AM ET
It's okay to get preachy! Someone needs to do something, and if takes getting preachy, more power to you!
Posted By Anonymous Rita Rodriguez, Plainview, TX : 11:01 AM ET
You are 100% correct and, please, get more preachy!

This country must not forget those that have suffer so much!!
Posted By Anonymous Cindy, Minneapolis, MN : 11:01 AM ET
Holding politicians accountable is not being preachy, it's using civil liberties and (in your case) mass communication to voice what many of us feel. Thanks for staying on top of this. We are too easily distracted by the soap opera dramas on the rest of the news, like the Entwistle case and the mishaps of Britney Spears. Thanks for all you do!
Posted By Anonymous Monica, Birmingham, Alabama : 11:01 AM ET
Give 'em hell Anderson. Those folks deserve better treatment!
Posted By Anonymous Jen, Red Lake, Ontario : 11:02 AM ET
Please DO get preachy! Please tell me why whole neighborhoods and streets STILL have no electricity. Are they out of wire? What happened to the Gulf Coast was a catastrophe; that it continues to be a catastrophe is a disgrace.
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia Gilliatt, Harrisonburg, Virginia : 11:04 AM ET
Anderson, you aren't preachy, you're right. You are one of the few reporters I've trusted throughtout this entire disaster because you have been trying all along to establish accountability where there was almost none to be found. These people, our people, are displaced, many still have almost nothing, and I am ashamed to say, several have even been attacked here in the Bay Area. We cannot forget them and reports like yours won't let us. Don't stop, AC.
Posted By Anonymous Cedric Pounds, Oakland, CA : 11:07 AM ET
May the Lord guide and keep you Anderson Cooper.We appreciate you and your work and leadership.We have two choices: sink or swim. Thank you for helping us swim.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine Kerby,Columbus,Mississippi : 11:08 AM ET
It's not preachy, it's what good public affairs programming is supposed to be. I'm glad you're going back there - please never stop reporting this story. And I don't want to be preachy either, but I hope you don't short shrift NO and other important stories in favor of more Entwistle. I'm SO tired of Entwistle...
Posted By Anonymous Jill, Hurley NY : 11:08 AM ET
No matter how officials reacted or didn't react after Katrina hit, the people who lived in N.O. and along the coast have to take responsibility for the consequences of their own decisions: not to evacuate when advised to, not to insure themselves properly and the very basic decision they made to live in a high-risk area.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, San Antonio, TX : 11:09 AM ET

Thank god people have you as an advocate....coz we know you'll continue to follow through. We see how much you care. Because of your caring pieces, I've been wondering about the families where the parents don't know where their young children are and if so, what I could do to help. Like many of your viewers I also always have you in my prayers since you go anywhere to help all people!
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Verba, Des Plaines, IL : 11:11 AM ET
Anderson, I think you should get preachy. We should all get preachy. What's happening in New Orleans and the rest of the gulf is unamerican and unforgivable. I've never been to New Orleans and I don't even know anyone from the area, but I can't get it out of my head.

The frustrating part is that I want to do more to help, but I don't know what. I've donated money and I've faxed/emailed my senators and representative several times, which is a total waste of time BTW (I'll continue to do it though). I've signed petitions. I've even emailed FEMA. Anytime anyone brings up Katrina I take the opportunity to state that things are not okay. And I know I'm not alone in doing all these things, yet everything is still a disaster.

It's sad that I have to say this, but I wish Katrina hit in August 2004 rather than last year because I honestly believe things would be different if it occurred before the presidential election. There is nothing else left to think except that our leaders simply don't care. However, we should all care. Today it's the gulf, tomorrow it could be any other city in America. I think this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that these people cannot or will not keep us safe. Ironic considering security is what is considered their strong suit.

So anyway, you keep up your fantastic gulf reporting and I'll keep doing the little things I can and maybe six months from now things will be a little better.

Also, thanks for reading my comment on the air. It's good to see you admitting you have a blogging problem. Remember, that's the first step to recovery. As for the next 11 steps...I have no idea. I think you might need to find God at some point.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 11:11 AM ET
The world needs more people like you who care and are not affraid to be "preachy". You are in a position to get things done and to make sure this is not forgotten becausee a better story has come along.
Posted By Anonymous Judy, Ottawa Ontario, Canada : 11:12 AM ET
I think you may be preaching to the choir on this one Anderson! I say, keep preaching to those in government.
Posted By Anonymous Jen Pountney, Toronto, Ontario : 11:13 AM ET
I am fully in support of your concerns. This disaster has huge ethical ramifications for our country from a business, government and society perspective. Keep up the great work, Anderson. You are not beingn preachy at all. You are a great example of kind of journalism we the people yearn for daily.
Posted By Anonymous Hope Alane O'Shaughnessy, New Salem, Massachusetts : 11:14 AM ET
Thank you for your not letting the world forget about these people. Was in Mississippi (Gulfport) couple of weeks ago. They do feel forgotten, especially the ones still living in tents. Please continue to be PREACHY.
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Lufkin, Texas : 11:17 AM ET
Anderson, Thank you for always coming down here and not letting anyone forget what happened and that peoples lives are still in shambles, people think because it is no longer headline news that it all must be ok now. You make everyone in America and the world to remember that it is not over.
Posted By Anonymous Kourtny Reed, Youngsville, Louisiana : 11:18 AM ET
I think it's great that you're making such an effort to hold people accountable and really enact change so something like this doesn't happen again.

Politicians are known for giving non-answers and it seems that few reporters are willing to push them to give straight answers, perhaps afraid of risking future interview opportunities.

Anyway, keep up the good work. Just don't, you know, get too preachy about it.
Posted By Anonymous Lizzy, Stanford, CA : 11:18 AM ET
I think attention should also be given to those that suffered from hurricane Rita. Rita is the forgotten hurricane. We still need help in southeast Texas. Where is the mention of those that survived Rita and are having to rebuild.
Posted By Anonymous Katie Gaspard Port Arthur, Tx. : 11:18 AM ET
Preach on, Rev. Cooper!

Someone needs to ask the right questions and demand thoughtful responses from the government.

It amazes me when I think back to the dogged determination Special Prosecutor Starr used to unravel Lewinskygate.

Where's such dogged determination to get to the truth about the disaster response in the Gulf Coast?

Lots of elected officials should be charged with lying and gross negligence in the aftermath of Katrina, but I guess if it isn't titillating it's not worth pursuing.

Glad you're pursuing it!
Posted By Anonymous Rachel, Philadelphia, PA : 11:19 AM ET
Good job!!! I am glad you are doing this story. I am not from N.O. but, I love the city and was there on vacation shortly before Kartrina. I work at a college, where several students from that area suffered mutliple losses. I am also a red cross diasater nurse and was appalled by what I seen on TV. I am not making excuses for anybody but FEMA was asleep at the wheel. I thought after 9-11, they would have been better prepared. It was obvious that many other agencies were not prepared as well. Unfortunately, hind sight is 20/20. There is enough blame to go around. What is the death toll? Are there still people missing? Are the levee's being fixed??? Do they have a workable disaster plan in place now that can evacuate the masses????
Posted By Anonymous ginger, colby , kansas : 11:20 AM ET
Good luck on your travels there. I used to work for the Red Cross (I still volunteer) and we would get calls of hundreds of local residents wanting to go down and help with relief. We (as an agency) weren't allowed to go in and our volunteers were getting frustrated. "Officials" wouldn't let people in to help. You are so right...we can't let this happen again. I understand officials wanting to keep volunteers safe but...hello...the victims weren't safe and needed help. Who once said...those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat it?
Posted By Anonymous Laura; Syracuse, NY : 11:21 AM ET
Honestly we don't realize what is going on in Louisiana or Mississippi unless you live near it. Living in Texas, Katrina and Rita hit close to heart. Many people in the state have family in those states and especially students that attend the univerity I attend. I mean, our school is a Church of Christ afflicated private college in which we have Chapel everyday and we have prayed for these families who were affected by the hurricanes. As student leaders and servants of God, we are having students spending their spring break helping in New Orleans and other place around these two states who need help and need to know that there are people who are praying that things will turn around and that hope is around the corner.
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie Jarvis, Abilene, Tx : 11:25 AM ET
Your not being preachy, your showing your consious of the ongoing problems, something our government doesn't seem to be. Keep up the coverage and the pressure on our elected officials to clean up this natural disaster that has become a national disgrace.
Posted By Anonymous Marilyn Chance, The Woodlands, TX : 11:25 AM ET
Good Morning Anderson,

It is ok to get preachy about something you are so passionate about! Plus this is an important issue and if preaching equals awareness Keep on keepin on!
I am so glad you are trying to find out the truth on who should be accountable and trying to get the politicians to be honest and not play the blame game!

Have a safe journey to New Orleans looking forward to tonights show.

Posted By Anonymous Laura, Sarnia, Ontario, Canada : 11:27 AM ET
You Go Anderson - Someone in the choir needs to wake up.
Posted By Anonymous L. A. Parker, Little Rock : 11:28 AM ET
i read a blog the other day from someone that was from new orleans. they said that they were tierd of your coverage of the gulf coast. i on the other hand am glad to watch your continued coverage of it. the country needs to know what is and isn't being done about the terrible situation and the fact that so many people are still with out the most basic needs most americans take for granted like water and electicty. keep up the good work! i'll be glued.
Posted By Anonymous lynne commerce, tx : 11:31 AM ET
The facts with a human face is the most powerful tool the media has. The whole country needs to keep up with the many"Katrina Stories" because they encompass so much about what's right and wrong with this country.
Posted By Anonymous Alex D. Chapman,Jr. Ville Platte,La. : 11:34 AM ET
Anderson, thank you for giving the public what they need, and not what they want in the news today. I am in a mass media and society class currently and it amazes me the junk society is fed, because they want it. So thank you for giving society what they need to hear and see.

Do not stop "preaching", it is what gets things noticed.
Posted By Anonymous Ashley, University of Kentucky : 11:36 AM ET

I work at a small College in Ohio. Many of our students were so moved by the devastation of Katrina that they began making immediate plans to spend their spring break helping with recovery efforts. A group of about thirty students are giving up the chance to spend a week on the beach in Florida this March to volunteer their time in Louisiana and Mississippi. I wonder how many politicians and government officials are forgoing vacations to help those still desperately in need?
Posted By Anonymous Christine, Canton, OH : 11:40 AM ET
Thank you for your comittement to the Gulf Coast. I've lived in Louisiana for a long time and our politicians have gotten away with alot because no one has held them accountable. I'm very glad that you and CNN are holding them accountable.
Posted By Anonymous Marla Gaspard, Kenner, LA : 11:40 AM ET
It's very distressing to watch reports from New Orleans and still see almost the same amount of devastation that was present immediately after Katrina. It is critical that what's taking place (and not taking place) there continue to remain in the public's consciousness. What happened there was a travesty. preach brother, preach!
Posted By Anonymous Fay, California : 11:41 AM ET
Well said. In matters of situations like Katrina someone has to be held accountable.
Let us never forgot that some people lost their lives due to neglience, incompetence, slow response etc.
Posted By Anonymous Dan Clark, Philadelphia, PA : 11:50 AM ET
Anderson, Please! Be preachy. I'm so glad that you have taken up this cause, to tell the TRUTH and make others do the same about what did happen and what is happening down here. And, most of all, to make sure we never forget. Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous Carrie, Columbia, MD : 11:50 AM ET
I'm glad to see that someone in the media is working hard to find out what happeded and to hold someone accountable. Placeing blame is easy, keeping goverment accountable is a little more difficult but something that needs to be done. Thank you for your hard work!
Posted By Anonymous Jackie, Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada : 11:52 AM ET
I will gladly hold your soap box anytime you feel like getting on up on it. Safe travels Anderson, see ya tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Liz Venino, Baltimore, Maryland : 11:53 AM ET
Being an advocate for those who can not speak for themselves is not being to preachy. My mom survived hurricane Andrew and she knew what the Gulf Coast was in for. If it is not the insurance companies bulking on claims it is the red tape in the government. I thank God that there is someone who will stand up for these people and put their problems in the governments face. I have a hard time with the fact that the gulf coast still looks a lot like it did after the hurricane. I saw it in Florida after Andrew and I guess I thought lessons would be learned. My prayers and thoughts go out to the survivors and to you Anderson. THANK YOU for "preaching".
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer Lexington Kentucky : 11:56 AM ET

I don't consider your followup on the Gulf Coast situation or your call for accountability preachy in the least. What it is is necessary. When you're on the air you have the advantage of being the voice for so many whose stories need to be heard.

I'll be watching your New Orleans coverage tonight. All the best!
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Southampton, PA : 11:57 AM ET
hmmm, I hope your "personal committment" to focus on this tragedy does more than make people feel remembered. I would hope your focus would remind people to prepare a 72 hour emergency kit. I hope it would teach people to be self-sufficient enough to plan and think for a disaster. I hope it would get families talking, religious and community groups talking. If your personal committment is to reveal the "vague, general mea culpas" then your personal committment, in the end, will not be helpful and/or proactive. I hope those hit by the hurricane will make themselves heard in upcoming city/state elections, but I also hope they can get passed the focus of blame and prepare to live the here and now.
Posted By Anonymous Traci Peterson, Troy, MI : 11:57 AM ET
With the new hurricane season only months away and much more to be done to prepare New Orleans they need people like you. You're their ace in the hole. Thanks for all you do!
Posted By Anonymous Steven, Huntington Beach, California : 12:01 PM ET

On this trip, or some future trip very soon, borrow a helicopter and film the scene while flying over the city., We keep hearing that "little progress has been made," and footage of that sort of neglect may shame a few more in Washington into getting to work. From what little I've seen, there still is a tragic need for
-- bulldozers to clear roads
-- dumpsters to be filled and trash hauled away
-- those missing trailers! If Habitat for Humanity can build homes with volunteer labor in cities such as New York and Philadelphia and then truck them down to the coast, why can't the "market" deliver the thousands of trailers they are being paid for?
-- Hire more locals. They need the work and they want to see the cities restored. Outside contractors want to see the jobs drag on and on; they are making money for working. The unemployed locals have no homes, no work, and thus, no future.

What has happened AFTER Katrina is a national disgrace. Don't let themoff the hook.
Posted By Anonymous JBK,Memphis, TN : 12:09 PM ET
Kudos to the entire 360 crew for continuing to cover this story. So many people believe that once the storm is over and the majority of the television crews have cleared out, then the crisis has ended. This is not the case. Hurricane Katrina's devastation will remain for years and years to come, and the people who have been affected by this disaster will have to cope with its aftermath for decades. As these battered, weary citizens enter the recovery period of this disaster, it is even more important to have someone there on the scene, keeping our leaders in check, and reminding the rest of the country that simply because the storm has passed does not mean that the disaster is over.

Thank you, Anderson and company, for remembering those in need and making sure that those in power do not ever forget.
Posted By Anonymous Annie, Charleston, SC : 12:10 PM ET
Thanks for using your power to hold people accountable. Accountability in this instance is integral to the redevelopment of New Orleans. Being relentless with officials isn't something that you need to apologize for in this situation. It is absolutely mandated.
Keep going!
Posted By Anonymous Ashli, Pittsburgh, PA : 12:23 PM ET
Thank you so much for keeping New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in your broadcasts. It means a lot to us. I can understand how people can become sick of hearing about but don't they think that we are sick of living in it? Those that have chosen to stay, fight and rebuild cannot get away from it unless we take a plane ride somewhere. Every street you turn down there is another reminder of what happened. Trust me, no one ever dreamed that we would be in a position to have to ask for help and we don't like doing it but its necessary. I wanted to remind you though that the other half of Louisiana (the southwestern part) got hit hard by Rita too. Many towns were devastated and still need help. I hope that you keep them in mind as we do.
P.S. There are devasted parts of town but other parts are open and need your business. There are still many places to visit and have a good time so come see us!
Posted By Anonymous Maureen, Metairie, LA : 12:28 PM ET
I visited Biloxi two weeks ago for the first time since Katrina to see how my daughters and friends are getting along and was shocked to see the lack of progress and the real extent of the damage. I appreciate the good work you are doing to keep their story of recovery and rebuilding in the forefront. If America really wants to see what this country is about, its values, ethics and shear determination to perservere in the face of destruction and devastation - Lass sie nach die Gulfcoast kommen (let them come to the Gulfcoast). It is as close to what a war torn country's living conditions are as can be without a war. thanks again,
Posted By Anonymous Mark Evans Sacramento CA : 12:34 PM ET
I am from New Orleans now living in Colorado. Thanks for keeping the news alive and not forgotten. Anyone who has seen what has happened with their own too eyes knows how serious this was and could nevr forget it.
Posted By Anonymous Jeremy Sanders, New Orleans, LA : 12:39 PM ET
Please, Please, Please keep this in the news. I don't care how you have to sensationalize it to get people to SEE. I cannot believe so many legislators in Baton Rouge and D.C. have not been down there to see for themselves. Its SO very much worse than what is shown on t.v. Once they see it, they GET it!! While all the politicians are going around playing "business as usual", "pass the buck", "push the pork", and "fill my deep pockets", real people are continuing to suffer. While billions are being spent to rebuild Iraq, there are people in THIS country, people who pay taxes to THIS government who are literally being left outside in the dark and the cold. It is WAY past time to put the people first and politics last. And tell me, how many days left till Hurricane season?
Posted By Anonymous Lynn, Shreveport, LA : 12:50 PM ET
When is the news media going to acknowledge all the specific mistakes they made in reporting this disaster?

When will they admit how wrong they were about body counts, how poorly they did in explaining what should have happened (according to official disaster plans) or why the the city of New Orleans fell apart but Mississippi went to work, how they largely gave the LA govenor and NO mayor a pass, how they misreported the racial makeup of Katrina's victims, how they allowed instant urban myths to spread rapidly around the county, etc?
Posted By Anonymous Mick Wright, Memphis Tenn. : 6:36 PM ET
Preach, Brother Anderson, preach. My parents live at Long Beach, Mississippi, outside of Gulfport. Their house was not listed as being in a flood zone (I'm a loan officer; I look at flood zones every day as part of my job, and they were not in a danger zone according to the government flood maps.) Because of this, they decided to stay. They attempted for two years previous to Katrina to get supplimentary insurance for potential flood/water damage, knowing that if the roof developed a hole they would need it, and were refused time and time again. They are 2 miles from the beach and had 6 feet of water in their house. They did have a 72 hour disaster kit prepared. The first person they saw who was not a resident of the area was my uncle, who drove down from Huntsville, AL with a load of supplies. This was 5 days after the storm. My parents were some of the lucky ones -- they had family outside the region who could send supplies and support; so many did not have this advantage. For months now, it has been about neighbor helping neighbor, and sometimes neighbor helping stranger. What happened in NO was horrific, and should not be forgotten, but the rest of the Gulf Coast needs to be remembered as well. As of Thanksgiving, there were still large chunks of the coast, from Pascagoula to Bay St. Louis, that had piles of ruined insulation and appliances stacked to the sky, and the smell of burning was still strong, (yes, they had to burn a lot of the waste. It's the only way they can deal with it -- no landfill could hold all of this.) While those of us outside the region waited and prayed on news of our loved ones, you, Mr. Cooper, told the truth without flinching, and you have continued to do this. For that we are grateful -- please continue!
Posted By Anonymous Ayn McLaurin Atlanta, GA : 6:40 PM ET
Anderson, In watching you tonight in New Orleans, I can honestly say I had no idea it was still so bad there. Those poor people, with nowhere to go, where to live to rebuild! What can we do?? I would be happy to open my home to a family, I live in Minnesota though, how could that help?? Somehow there must be a solution, WE LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES!!! If we aren't willing or able to help each other out, then what makes America so great? HOW CAN WE HELP?!
Posted By Anonymous Stacy Yundak- Backus, MN : 10:53 PM ET
Anderson, Out of sight, Out of mind should NEVER be allowed to happen to the Gulf Coast. Americans seems to have a short attention span when it comes to catastrophe because it didn't happen in "their backyard". That is unacceptable. This nightmare needs to be brought to the forefront of national news everyday until the area has come back into it's own and you may be the only person in a position to do that so PREACH ON.
Posted By Anonymous Derek Johnson, Hamilton, Ohio : 11:14 PM ET
The coverage is appreciated, but don't focus only on New Orleans ... the national news media has told only half the story by focusing solely on New Orleans. Mississippi's coastline was swept clean, leaving tens of thousands homeless. The Miss. coast lost practically every historic structure ... mile after mile of old homes, churches, parks, all in rubble. Their story deserves to be told too.
Posted By Anonymous David, Charleston : 12:18 AM ET
I'ts good to see theres still interest in the mindful stories of those that were effected by Katrina. My family is going thru more hell from current events than the loss of everything and the initial storm itself! For some, the worst of all of this is here right now. It's nice to know some folks are still paying attention.
Posted By Anonymous dean long jr st bernard parish in memphis : 12:48 AM ET
yeah,you're pretty much my hero. after college, i aspire to do things to make the world better -like you going back to NO every so often to make sure we never make these mistakes again.
Posted By Anonymous stephanie, tucson, arizona : 10:08 AM ET
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