Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Katrina survivors: Don't forget about us
"Please don't forget about us." That's what someone said to me just a little while ago.

I was watching the fireworks explode over the Mississippi River along with several thousand other residents and visitors in New Orleans. I came here to spend my Fourth of July holiday. I usually have to work whenever I'm in this city, so it's been nice to just spend a couple days walking around, eating great food, talking with people.

I didn't get the name of the lady who said, "Please don't forget about us," but I've heard those words from a lot of other people on previous trips to this region. I know people here feel like many in the country have forgotten about them.

Every time I come to New Orleans, I'm struck by the spirit of its people. I know it's a cliche, but it's true. Shopkeepers, school teachers, young and old, people are commited to bringing New Orleans back. A lot of the city is back, but there sure is a lot of work to be done.

We decided to devote the majority of Wednesday's program to the men and women who've been working so hard here. We are calling it "American Heroes: Giving Back to the Gulf," and I think you will be inspired and moved by some of the stories we're covering. Terrible things have happened here, but the situation would be much worse were it not for the incredible generosity of the American people.

We'll show you where the money that has been donated so far has gone. We'll also introduce you to some of the people who are making a difference here every day -- kids who are spending their summer vacations rebuilding houses with Habitat for Humanity, volunteers working at animal shelters, doctors struggling to care for the needs of a battle-scarred city, police struggling to deal with a growing murder rate while rebuilding the force and their own lives.

We'll also be joined by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, who are performing Wednesday night in New Orleans, with all the proceeds of their concert go to their charity, the Neighbor's Keeper Foundation. They've also given a lot of tickets away to volunteers who've been helping New Orleans and the Gulf Coast rebuild. I'll spend time with Faith and Tim tomorrow in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish. We'll also broadcast live during their benefit concert.

It may not seem like a big deal, but to a city that is struggling to rebuild, a city that often feels forgotten, Wednesday's concert is a big deal. Like the librarian convention that took place here last weekend, it's an econonic boost to the city, and perhaps just as importantly, a sign of normal life slowly ... very slowly ... returning.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 12:22 AM ET
Thanks for spending your 4th of July here.. Thanks for not forgetting us.
Posted By Anonymous William, Gretna, LA : 8:58 AM ET
The CNN website is giving more publistity to how Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are helping New Orleans than Larry King's interview with the President and First Lady tomorrow and not nearly the publistity that Anderson's interview with Angela received. This says a lot about what kind of news is important to CNN and what kind of "news" AC360 is reporting.

Okay so we have Wolf Blitzer for real news and Larry King for interviews and now we have Anderson Cooper for how the rich and famous are helping society.

Why don't you go around the country and report how us working nerds are doing what we can to help the country or our local schools, etc.?

I have a friend, she's a single mother of 2 (her husband left her), she goes to work every morning at a low paying job. She comes home takes her kids to their soccer games, baseball games, etc. She goes to PTA meetings. She is exhausted, but never lets that take away from her time and attention to her children. Why don't you focus your show more on people like her?
Posted By Anonymous Trudi, Roseville, MN : 9:20 AM ET
I always look forward to watching your show, but I am especially looking forward to tonight's show. I have a very special place in my heart for New Orleans and its people, I lived there for a few years, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. The warmth of the people, the beauty and excitement of the city made living there a joy, and the memories I have from that time are ones that I will always treasure.

I am so thankful that you have continued to "shine a light" on all that needs to be done in that city and along the Gulf coast. There are many of us who continue to support the people there with our resources and our prayers, and this gives us an opportunity to see what progress, as slow as it been, is being made.

I just wanted to add that my daughter and I had the privilege of meeting you at a book signing in Virginia, and I was impressed by your courtesy and thoughtfulness towards the people who attended. My daughter was graduating from high school the next day, and was thrilled that you acknowledged this and wrote a special quote in her book. Thank you for making the experience such a special one for her (she was more excited about the book signing than graduating!)and I hope the "Jeopardy Champion" has been helpful with all of the book signings you have had the past few weeks!
Posted By Anonymous Phyllis Miller, Lancaster, PA : 9:56 AM ET
It is my fear that we haven't yet felt the full force of the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. While we spent several weeks trying to stop the bleeding, both literally and metaphorically, we didn't develop a mid-term plan for evacuees. In Tulsa, we have evacuees that are currently being evicted from the apartments where they have been put up since last year. They are beginning to re-emerge at the homeless shelter where I work. For many, I believe the long range plan is to return to their LA and MS roots and try to rebuild their lives. But what happens in the meantime? Where does the government obligation to help end and how do communities like ours figure this out? We haven't just forgotten the folks in New Orleans.
Posted By Anonymous Hallie, Tulsa, OK : 9:57 AM ET
I'm so glad that you, as well as other CNN reporters, have continued to keep New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast in the news. Since the first day in August when I saw the pictures coming out of Gulfport and Bay St. Louis, as well as New Orleans and St. Bernard Perish I have wanted to travel down to help, unfortunately the price of airfare and gasoline is a little beyond my reach. I'm hoping that the college I will be attending will have a program that allows students to travel with Habitat for Humanity or another organization over spring break. It was great seeing students my age helping out over what is usually assumed to be a drunken, party-filled week. Thanking for showcasing the efforts of those who have been able to help out- every volunteer I have ever seen on your show has been amazing. I look forward to tonight's show and I hope you had a relaxing Fourth of July.
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly Miller, Lancaster, PA : 9:58 AM ET
Everyone who watches your show knows you will not let N.O. be forgotten.. Its great how you and other celeberties are helping those people. But Anderson don't forget Miss. They feel forgotten and have said so. All the media coverage seems to be centered on N.O.
It will be great to have you back live on the air. Repeats are fine but live is a lot better.
Looking forward to tonights show.
Posted By Anonymous Jean, St. Charles, Mo : 9:59 AM ET
Good to see that you are working to keep the attention focused where it needs to be. We'll be watching:)
Posted By Anonymous Tikka, Seattle, WA : 10:01 AM ET
I am looking forward to this evening's program especially to see the housing being built by Habitat for Humanity. In Vancouver (Canada) we just recently had a couple houses built for a local Expo and I found out that afterwards, they were shipped off to New Orleans to be used by Habitat for Humanity.

It makes me proud to know that our community (across the border) continues to care about those affected by the Hurricane and are committed to helping people get their lives back together again.

Best wishes to everyone at tonight´┐Żs Charitable Event. May it bring much needed attention to those still greatly affected by the disaster.

Love from Canada!!
Posted By Anonymous Jenna, Vancouver, BC - Canada : 10:07 AM ET

I find it so very inspiring that you and your team continue to return to New Orleans and the surrounding region to report not only on the progress, but also point out what still needs to be done.

I think the lady who said "Please don't forget about us," can be assured that you and your team will continue to devote time to the Gulf Coast region so that what happened there last year will not be forgotten for a very long time to come.

I am very much looking forward to tonight's show to get a first-hand update and see what is being done to improve life for all the people in the region. And I can't wait to see what Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have to say. That should be an interesting broadcast tonight!
Posted By Anonymous Elke, New York/NY : 10:09 AM ET
Believe me, we have not forgotten you. We Houstonians are reminded of you every day. We have a 33% increase in violent crime, free fire zones that used to be apartments and N.O. people complaining and whining, not contributing or working. Trust me, you are not forgotten.
Posted By Anonymous RHL, Houston, Texas : 10:14 AM ET
Please ask Governor Blanco what is the hold-up on distributing the grant money that has been allocated for homeowners to repair their homes.Everyday this money is being held, people are losing their homes to banks, and homes are going into further dis-repair. The talks that are taking place with the company who is suppose to distribute the funds, should have been done months ago. Over 6.2 billion dollars was approved 4 or 5 months ago, and 4.2 billion was approved over a month ago. Thanks for your help.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Mason,New Orleans, La. : 10:15 AM ET
Hi Anderson,

Thank you for posting a postive blog on New Orleans. It seems the more negative we hear, the more people get discouraged about the whole thing and want everyone to give up on it. I know if this disaster happened in Calgary, I would want to rebuild my home!

I am really glad you spend time there and bring us the real human stories and not just the political fighting that happens behind the scene.
Posted By Anonymous Nicki F., Calgary, Alberta : 10:19 AM ET
Its really relieving to know, that people of New Orleans have not lost their optimism.
Posted By Anonymous Deepti, Stamford, Connecticut. : 10:19 AM ET
The recent government report of millions of dollars being wasted by victims for everything from vacations, pornograpghy, hookers, booze and other illicit, immoral and corrupt endeavors is reason to think twice about giving. The real help may lie in some tough love. Those who need it should only receive the bare life neccessities and the whole process should be scrutinized to the last penny. They need to stop begging and get off their a**es and get to work to rebuild their lives now that the system has been abused.
Posted By Anonymous Sal Secondo, former donor, with eyes wide open. : 10:21 AM ET
I very much respect your continued efforts to keep New Orleans a top story in your coverage. I suspect that a lot of this attention is your personal commitment to this wonderful city. As you said when you spoke about Ms. Jolie - you too "walk the walk, and don't just talk the talk".
Posted By Anonymous Christa Waehler Oklahoma City, OK : 10:23 AM ET
Thank you for continuing to recognize the men and women who are proving to be the real heroes of the Gulf Coast; it's nice to see a reporter with compassion for a change. As a (hopefully) future journalist I can honestly say that you inspire me to want to make a difference. I can't wait to see the show tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Brittany, Atlanta, GA : 10:26 AM ET
Dear Anderson,
We've heard so much about what went wrong during Hurricane Katrina, how FEMA and the government systems failed. Thank you for covering what is going right. It is the ordinary, hard-working men and women who are bringing the gulf coast back, and it is wonderful to see. It is very important, and I look forward to your show tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Suzanne, New York, New York : 10:27 AM ET
I just moved here and the city is still in shambles, but it is definately progressing. Just two months ago, I visited Dillard University and began to cry at all the devestation that affected the wonderful college community. Yet within two months, I visited Dillard again and shed a tear for a different reason, Dillard is coming back! It is so beautiful! I am trying to inform people at home in (San Antonio, Houston, and Prairie Vew) Texas that it is not like 9/11 and it can't be cleaned up in a couple of months, it's more than that. And when people begin to realize the magnitude of the devestation then they will realize that it was not just limited to 9th Ward at all- it was the ENTIRE city. Bourbon Street has tranformed from a place for out-of-towners to party to a place of "A New Orleans Reunion". If you saw the many people that reunited with their friends, fanily, and loved for the first time since Katrina, it is a moving experience. I saw so many people crying, hugging, and rejoicing from just seeing someone that they lost after the storm- trying to catch up on everything and making sure the everyone was okay. Then I understood how bad the people here needed help rebuilding their community. Please, come and help rebuild New Orleans.
Posted By Anonymous Niky Wooding, New Orleans, LA (San Antonio, TX) : 10:29 AM ET
A lot of the country has forgotten about the Gulf Coast. It is horrible really. It seems like with every tragedy we endure, it takes less and less time for us to move on and forget any lessons learned. America should never forget the mistakes that were made with Hurricane Katrina.

I am not from New Orleans, but I did spend a lot of time there and in the surrounding cities after the hurricane hit. Seeing all that pain, death and destruction and seeing how long it took for a response spoke volumes to me. Being there, even for the short time that I was, changed me in a way that I will never be able to explain. I only wish that I could have stayed longer, done more.

Your show gives these people a voice, just as it has given people all over the world who are suffering. Don't ever stop doing what you do. It makes a difference by helping these people who are in need to be heard.
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Kennesaw, Georgia : 10:31 AM ET
I understand why so much attention has been given to New Orleans after Katrina. It's a major port, and an awesome city to visit, not to mention the food. There's a heck of a lot of history there. I know, because I was born and raised there. We lost a business and an apartment to Katrina. My husband lived there during the week and came home on weekends.

By choice, we moved to southern Mississippi over 24 years ago, an hour away from my birth place. Far enough away to still visit and act like tourists, which we loved. As much as I loved the city, I like the peace and security of the rural area we now live in. The key word there is security!

Yet, I am deeply disturbed by how much attention New Orleans IS getting, compared to the total devastion along the Gulf Coast towns and cities. I work with so many people who lost everything. Not just from flooding, but everything that was just wiped away by the storm surge... leaving just a slab, and in rare cases, even the slabs were moved. A lot of lives were lost there too. Some people feel like, to even think about swimming in the gulf again would be like "stepping on hallowed ground" as there are probably lost lives swept away by receeding waters, and the Gulf is now their grave. How else can you explain why some bodies have yet to be recovered?

Yes the 9th Ward and other areas were badly damaged and many people lost their lives, but so did many along the coastal areas, especially in the Waveland,Bay St. Louis and along the coastal areas just to the east. And let's not forget the town of Pearlington, MS. Total destruction there, yet I hear nothing... NOTHING... about that area, in the news. It's sad to think that our coastal areas hit the hardest have to feel like they've been left out. So many areas are still looking like the day after, just like New Orleans!

Your coverage of the New Orleans area was deeply appreciated, so don't get me wrong about that. We just wish more had been covered about the destruction on the coast. And, so many of our Military and Civilian personnel from Stennis Space Center did so much for the communities, I feel they didn't get enough recognition.

All we hear on the news is New Orleans, New Orleans, New Orleans! Like the lady you talked to who said, "Don't forget us!", we say the same thing... "Please don't forget about us in the coastal areas." Like New Orleans, there's so much yet to be done. Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous Geri DiGiovanni, rural McNeill, MS : 10:32 AM ET
My friend Lori (Pittsburgh) and I (Lehigh Valley) will be driving (18 hrs) to Slidell, LA to participate in Operation Home Delivery with HH July 24th-28th. We are so exicted to be part of the rebuilding effort. My mother is from Slidell, my parents met at LSU (currently in Lancaster Co PA) and we still have family in Slidell. My dad spent 3 wks there in November helping rebuild and when this opportunity came I decided we had to do it. If you are in the area we would love to meet you!
Posted By Anonymous Kari Stanley, Bethlehem, PA : 10:34 AM ET
I remember being shocked after Thanksgiving at the amount of destruction, all the debris I imagined was already being removed.

I have lived in the Northeast my entire life. I can barely remember the last time we were hit by a hurricane. Without these stories, I would have no idea about the Gulf Coast. Please do not let the country forget. Please do not let us complacently move on. Thank you for continuing to cover stories on the Gulf Coast.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Wakefield, RI : 10:36 AM ET
I was recently in Mississippi with our church group - about 300 strong - trying to do what little we can to help the people rebuild. While we were able to accomplish much, much still needs to be done. The destruction is vast and the people helping to rebuild are few. I was surprised to see how many areas were completely deserted and felt like these areas will never be rebuilt until the people come back. A couple of thoughts after coming back: 1) FEMA probably did a decent enough job (after the fact) given the vastness of the destruction, 2) we need to care more about the poor people in this country - it is sinful for us to live in such a wealthy country with so many of us living in abject poverty - we care so little for our poor while caring so much for those overseas - see what our legislators are fighting over in the congress and senate.........what an embarassment and what a shame!
Posted By Anonymous Mike......Mount Airy, MD : 10:36 AM ET
What happened to all the aid that Bush said was coming? Supposedly billions of our tax dollars were marked to help down there. I'm tired of this government doing nothing then we're made to feel guilty for not doing more. Our wonderful leaders sure didn't miss the opportunity to go there right afterwards for photos. Where are they now? Oh yea, in Iraq for photos there! I think we need an amendment to get rid of some of these so called leaders.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Jasper, AR : 10:41 AM ET
It's sad to see that so little has changed in the time since Katrina. God Bless the volunteers and everyone working so hard to restore the city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Bravo! to them and also to
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill - two huge entertainers who are using their celebrity status for the good of the cause.

Unlike countless other big names who merely show up in the Gulf and talk about doing things, Tim and Faith have let their actions speak just as loud as their words. The launch of the Neighbor's Keeper Foundation and the concert tonight proves they haven't forgotten about the folks in the region who are still suffering.
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie, Riegelsville, PA : 10:44 AM ET
Hi Anderson,

I just read in an article today that the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, Joseph Kony, will not be arrested if he agrees to peace talks with President Museveni. You've aired a few stories on your program about this group's violence towards children, and I was wondering if you are going to continue to follow it?
Posted By Anonymous Sydnee Washington, DC : 10:44 AM ET
How can we forget about them? They're raising our crime rate here in Houston with each passing day, they abuse the chairty so many have sent their way, and they just wait for the next handout. We're sorry about the horrible devastation, but we have little sympathy left for Katrina victims after all these abuses of charity and crimes.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Houston TX : 10:45 AM ET
Dear Anderson,

You know, I agree with you on this point completely. I so want to go visit the city that I love and just be near the people, the sounds, the smells of New Orleans.

I even considered taking what I heard was a tour of the most destroyed areas of the city just to help out financially. Although I don't know that I could actually get on that bus.

Thank you for being there and showing them your heart. And to all the young, old, celebrities, my hat is off to you.

Posted By Anonymous Anna Lambert, Horn Lake, MS : 10:46 AM ET
I think some of these people are just afraid they are not getting the "attention" they did right after the hurricane. I live in north Mississippi. There are many hurricane victims that relocated here and I think many of them are trying to milk this thing for more than it is worth. I was in a grocery storte and witnessed a woman who was irrate because the store would not take her foodstamps for beer that she was purchasing with her groceries. She then went into a screaming rant about how she was a victim of Katrina and that she was going to sue. It is just not her though. It is many many individuals. These p[eople need to stop whining and looking for handouts and start looking for jobs. There are TONS of employment opprotunities in this area in the form of new steel mills and other industrial plants.
Posted By Anonymous Danny, Columbus,Mississippi : 1:36 PM ET
As a business owner in New Orleans, I cannot begin to express my appreciation and thanks to Anderson for all of the work he is doing in NO.We were one of the first businesses to reopen in the French Quarter (Oct. 1) and it has been an daily struggle but very rewarding. I did go to one of the book signings and it was clear how much the people of this area are so thankful for all that CNN is doing for us. We celebrated my daughter's birthday at Arnauds Saturday night and it seemed like old times in the city. I look forward to being part of the rebuilding of this great city.
Posted By Anonymous Barbara, LaPlace, LA : 1:38 PM ET
Those who talk of "Katrina Fatigue" and claim to be sick of hearing about the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast should hang their collective heads and be ashamed. Every three years, the organization I work for, the American College of Surgeons, has held their annual convention in New Orleans. We're coming back to the Crescent City in October of 2007. God bless everyone who has given their time, money and efforts to help resurrect a great American city. We must continue to do this until the entire Gulf Coast is alive and well again.
Posted By Anonymous Wendy, Chicago : 1:44 PM ET
I have to agree with the 2 Texas responses. I live in Dallas and we didn't get as many evacuees as Houston but we are suffering also. I have a neighbor and co-worker that is a Katrina "victim". FEMA was payng for her housing until July 1st. In that time she and her husband have bought 2 new vehicles so they now have a total of 4 vehicles. Both work, they have a house in New Orleans that they are renting out to cleanup workers and they are building a new house here in Dallas. But let me tell you they are the first in line for the hand outs. She has gotten gas assistance from the State of Texas, clothing and she is still on food stamps. Now she is waiting for 2 $200 Target gift card for her and her husband. And last week when the gift card hadn't arrived from the county she was complaining because she wanted to buy a new gas grill for the holiday. I think there are alot of people who could use help like that and they aren't from Katrina. Its people like this that make some of us upset with your news reports. I know that there are hundreds if not thousands of people that still need help, but working daily with the evacuees and seeing that some don't want to work and just want the freebies it makes us in the local government sick.
Posted By Anonymous Leslie O'Brien Dallas Texas : 1:47 PM ET
Hi Anderson, It's nice to hear that you were there on the 4th and that you're keeping tabs on hopefully, the eventual restoration of the city for its displaced people. It's like the words to Arlo Guthrie's City of New Orleans: "Good 'mornin America how are you? Don't you know me, I'm your (honorary) native son?..."
Posted By Anonymous Carol B. Frederick, MD : 1:56 PM ET
I have been watching you broadcast the news since the early days.

I must say what a difference you make in the news today and in the lives of all Americans by your caring.

Bless the USA.....and reporters like Anderson Cooper!
Posted By Anonymous Paige, Virginia : 2:02 PM ET
"A lot of the city is back, but there sure is a lot of work to be done." Who are we kidding? A very small fraction of the city is back, with vast stretches of wasteland, punctuated only here and there by a pioneer trying to rebuild a house or business. The streets are full of cars resting where they were drowned. Many houses remain ungutted. Rats and looters roam the streets. There is low water pressure, inadequate for firefighting. The sewer and water pipes are riddled with leaks. The electricity is completely unreliable. Who knows how and when the LRA grant money will be available? People are still hassling with insurors. Health care providers are in very short supply, and there is essentially no mental health care available in a city where everyone's mental health has been degraded by trauma. The pumps aren't working, thank heaven for the drought. AND RAY NAGIN STILL HAS NOT ENDORSED A PLAN FOR REDEVELOPMENT.

Anyone want to buy a gutted house in the immediate vicinity of the breach in the London Avenue Canal floodwall?
Posted By Anonymous M. Miller New Orleans LA and Las Vegas NV : 2:02 PM ET
Mr. Cooper:
Unfortunately, the country has a short attention span. Just look at New York, in just five short years many people have forgotten about 9/11 (except when it suits our esteemed Administration's purposes). New Yorkers cannot forget it. When you walk down the street and you see your neighborhood Fire Dept. with the photos of 10 men and know that children and families are forever devastated you cannot forget. We are just know getting workers back on the former Deutsche Bank building to continue the search for remains. We know that the Dept. of Homeland Security has forgotten us with their cuts to our funding. So if your program and the "celebrity" of Mr. McGraw and Ms. Hill can bring some attention to Louisiana, Mississippi and the other gulf states, our neighbors to the south - good for you AND them!
Keep keeping on!
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie H., Brooklyn NY : 2:08 PM ET
Mississippi?? Anyone??

People still living in tents.
People JUST NOW getting back to their houses to rake out the muck. Not rebuild...just rake out the muck. Rebuilding later.

No benefit concernts by Mrs Hill-McGraw there...and SHE IS FROM Mississippi. Oh well. Not as "romantic" as New Orleans I suppose.

I'm glad they are doing something with their celebrity, and who knows, maybe money from the concert will help here as well. I'm glad NO gets coverage..but the situation is still bad in Mississippi, and in Lower Louisiana. Don't forget them either!!

Waveland? Bay St Louis? Gulfport? Biloxi?

Oh I forgot, we are taking care of our own since the beginning. Guess we don't need the help.
Posted By Anonymous Vicki, Pearl MS : 2:16 PM ET
My sentiments exactly, Mike from Houston. Florida has picked up from several hurricanes with less attention. It's time for the Big Easy to pick themselves up, dust off, and move on. Self-pity stinks.
Posted By Anonymous John, Hartford, CT : 2:26 PM ET
It's nice that you're not forgetting about New Orleans. Now, how about the MS Gulf Coast? Why don't you make a visit to Biloxi or Pass Christian? New Orleans doesn't begin to know what forgotten is.
Posted By Anonymous Beverly Fayard, Pass Christian, MS : 2:35 PM ET
Nearly 5 years post-9/11, and the search for human remains goes on in lower Manhattan.The focus and detail of locating mere bone fragments in gravel at the Deutsche Bank building starkly contrasts with recovery efforts--can we even call them that?--in New Orleans.

It's being done the right way in New York, why not NOLA? (would be an interesting followup story)
Posted By Anonymous Susan, New York City : 2:39 PM ET
Hi Anderson:
These specials of yours live from the Gulf Coast have and continue to be so very important to the rebuilding of the area as well as to the healing of all the victims and families involved. You have never let any one of them down with your promises, thanks to you and all the wonderful volunteers, we may yet see New Orleans and area "back in business" My best also to all of the celebrities that have joined in to further help this cause.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Scarboro, Ontario, Canada : 2:46 PM ET
Thanks to all those who keep the Gulf Coast stories alive. Weren't for you all, then who will share them? People are very optimistic, although the threat of upcoming hurricanes is very real. The generosity of the people all around the world is greatly appreciated. Thanks is not enough.
My birthday this June was bittersweet. It was a joyous moment because after ten, depressing, arduous months, my family and I are back in our renovated house. Finally, we have a place to call home again. That was such a great present because we moved in my birthday. But in the same time, it seems my birthday was empty as well. My other relatives and friends had forgotten it. There were no gatherings. No phone calls. No greeting cards. I understand since their lives are still catching up to the post-Katrina. Stress. Their houses are still being built, constant calls to contractors, insurance settlements...etc. I really, really miss pre-Katrina when I see my relatives on a daily basis. Now we are so close, but yet so far away. It will never be the same, and living normally everyday is quite a challenge.
Stories are such precious treasures. Sometimes it is the only thing people have. And thanks again for shedding the light to stories that are quicly receding away.
Posted By Anonymous Maria Christina Bucalan, New Orleans, LA : 3:53 PM ET
Tim and Faith's concert tonight is in New Orleans, but their foundation which will benefit from the proceeds of the concert knows no borders. Of course they care about Mississippi too, remember how Faith took semi's full of needed items to Mississippi days after the they've gone and started a foundation specifically to help with disaster relief, and not just in New Orleans. If you want to help then go here to find out how:
Posted By Anonymous Amanda, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada : 4:12 PM ET
Last week, I went to St. Bernard Parish to work with Habitat For Humanity, gutting houses that had been drowned by storm surge and the levee break. The New Orleanians I talked with all said the same thing: don't forget us. We still need help. Seeing the damage up close made the scope of this disaster real in a way TV does not. It will take all us Americans to fix New Orleans and it will take years. I was honored to be there, honored to sweat, honored to meet the 85 year old great-great grandma who was leaving her house and life behind to start over in Florida with one of her daughters. Thank you 360 for coming out to Cougar Street last week and telling the story of one of the wonderful volunteers who put his own life on hold to help. Many of the folks I worked with last week plan to return to St. Bernard, myself among them.
Posted By Anonymous Shannon, Charlottesville, VA : 4:17 PM ET
I am from New Orleans... I would like to respond to the multitudes of people who think that we are mired in self pity and should just move on. For all of those who have been hit by a massive hurricane and were able to move on quickly - congratulations. I am happy for you. We move on more EVERYDAY! Our homes had water in them for WEEKS! When you live through that - when you don't know whether you have a job,home,life to go back to... then you can tell us to stop whining and get on with it. Everyone of us that has come back and done what we can typ pick up the pieces of life as we know it now do not deserve the attitude that we get from you. It is completely uncalled for. Why don't you come down here and see the people that you are tearing down with your "uplifting" comments. Stop talking about us - and pray it never happens to you.
Posted By Anonymous Ann, Jefferson, La : 4:31 PM ET
Hi, Anderson.
Nice to see that you are going to live on TV again.
It's good to see you follow up on your promise to be there for the people of New Orleans. I was wandering, how are the people in northeast faring since all the rain caused a lot of flooding. I saw last week a restaurant falling into the river or a lake. Is there as much damage as there seems on tv. Just curious if there coverage from 360 on that area. They must be feeling the same kind of lost as the folks in LA & MS.
I have not been able to read your book yet (I'm still in line at the public library) but am eagerly antisipating getting my hands on it.
Good Luck in all that you do. You inspire me.
Posted By Anonymous Sandra, Dublin,GA : 4:36 PM ET
Thank you for the reminders of why we need to continue to help the communities and the people affected by Katrina. Yes, we should help others around the world, but we also need to take care of our own. :)
Posted By Anonymous Genevieve M, El Paso, TX : 5:15 PM ET
New Orleans is my hometown. I grew up in the 9th ward, went to public schools, including F.T. Nicholas (same as Anderson's dad). However, I've lived in Algiers for the past thirteen years. My family lived in Arabi, La., and Chalmette, La. Although my family's home in Arabi has now been demolished, my daughter and her new husband have just moved out of their trailer and into a one bedroom home. (More like a beach house). They don't want to leave Chalmette. Naturally, after their ordeal with Katrina they decided to photograph everything they own now...They evacuated with just three days worth of clothing, so you can imagine their feelings.
Thanks for keeping New Orleans, Chalmette, Mississippi alive with your news coverage, and for keeping our mayor accountable! Glad to hear you were able to take some time to enjoy the fireworks!
Posted By Anonymous Emily Castagnetta, New Orleans, LA : 6:34 PM ET
Are not people magnificent? We spend so much of our time casting stones at "sinners." All we need to do is look around in every city,even virtual communities, and we can be filled inspiration and joy at the innate goodness of mankind. How sad to spend life searching for only the sordid.
Posted By Anonymous Angie, Laredo, TX : 8:53 PM ET
I am one of the evacuee that live in Houston now. I am sad to say that some of the evacuees do milk the system and charities but NOT all of them. My family didn't request for any FEMA assistance or any charity gift cards. We know we can survive and so, we sucked it up and moved on. We want to leave the assistance to those really need it.
Posted By Anonymous Carol, Houston TX : 3:28 AM ET
To all of you who cast stones, come here and live a week or two. Ride by your favorite restaurant, stop by your childhood library, stop by your colleague's house for some tea? Can you? Great, well many New Orleanians can't as well as many other Gulf Coast residents can't either.

The destruction in my city is unimaginable...every time I drive to s different area and see more empty homes, I wonder where the people are. Residents of the 9th ward only got FEMA trailers last month.

The concert held last night was for the Gulf Coast recovery, not the New Orleans recovery. How many homes were destroyed in Louisiana? How many homes were destroed in Mississippi? Do you know? "In Louisiana it was 122,000 houses and 82,000 rental homes destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Mississippi had 61,386 units with major to severe damage." So that maybe why New Orleans is getting more coverage. Many of those homes in New Orleans sat in flood waters for three weeks and parts of the ninth ward still had water in November.

Numbers don't lie. If the person from Dallas is furious about her neighbors, then report them. Be a good citizen and let the authorities know what this family is doing.

Finally, thank you to all who have helped and continue to help. Anderson, I was at your signing in Metairie on Monday. I liked the way you admonished us as well for taking time off on a work day, most of took personal time to get a book signed by you. It was the least we could do for someone who has continued to keep the story of Katrina alive.

Source of the housing numbers -Louisiana damage tops the list -
State will use data to make case for aid
Times-Picayune, The (New Orleans, LA)
March 11, 2006
Posted By Anonymous Ruth Brewington, Metairie, LA : 9:28 AM ET
Why is it that when something happens outside of the US, we are the first to help. Katrina hit almost 1 year ago and look at the mess those people are still living and dealing with. We need more people like Tim and Faith. I have become so leary of charity's. The only one I'll donate to is Neighbers Keeper. Carol, Charleston, S.C.
Posted By Anonymous Carol, Charleston, S.C. : 10:15 AM ET
I guess Rita is still a 4 letter word. That is, if anyone remembers it. Yes, I am glad that Katrina is still in the news, but don't forget about SW LA and SE TX. We had parishes that were leveled, also. Storm surge miles inland. We even had some areas that flooded after the people were going back after the storm to check out their properties. I guess since we had very few deaths it is not good media. The storm turned toward us Wednesday (Sept 21) night but we still had over 90% evacuation of the area. We had to get ourselves and the evacuees that we were housing from Katrina out. We have had great organizations that have not forgotten us and are helping us rebuild, but please don't let the media or the U.S. totally forget us. This area is also looking at years and years before we are back to normal.
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Lake Charles, LA : 10:29 AM ET
Thanks for teaching all of us
how to help others
rebuild , restore and
find a normal life.
Posted By Anonymous splash, H2o, TX : 3:05 PM ET
It is distrubing to be to hear commetns from people saying to cut off relief money and if they just did some work their homes would be rebuild. I would like to ask each one of them if they have been to New Orealns or the Gulf Coast?
I spent my vaction down in Biloxi doing recovery work.I would have loved to have spent more time but it is all the time I could get off work. It is not fixed it is not better and people are working to get there lives back together.

When you walk down almost any street you see peices of people lives. There are dolls in trees, peices from candyland on the street, and family photos in piles on the sidewalk.

It is easy to blame the people of New Orealns and the Gulf Coast becasue it separates them from us. It makes us feel better becasue blameing them means that we could do better, it wouldn't happen to us. Blaming people is getting us no where. It is not the people of the Gulf Coast fault, it is no ones fault, but it should be all of our problem. Get out and get something done.

I would like to applude Anderson Copper for not forgeting about about the Gulf Coast and not letting us forgot, because the people of New Olreans and the Gulf Coast will never forget.
Posted By Anonymous K.H. Butte, MT : 3:20 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.