Friday, January 12, 2007
The pride of New Orleans
Anderson is heading back from New Orleans, but we thought we'd show you a great interview he did last night with Herbert Gettridge, an 83 year-old Lower Ninth Ward resident literally rebuilding his home by himself.
Posted By David Doss, "360" Executive Producer: 1:06 PM ET
  43 Comments
David~
God bless Herbert Gettridge. What an inspiring interview! Herbert is not scared of anything! Although he is separated from his wife until he rebuilds, he has courage and determination. I wish him the best. I especially thought it was SO cute that when Hebert was through with his interview with Anderson, he just walked away still hooked up to the mic! While laughing, Anderson had to stop Herbert and unhook him~PRICELESS!!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 1:47 PM ET
Yeah, that's real pride...only the oldest can teach us that. Anderson didn't have to amplify that interview at all. We all sat back and were humbled. Great work you all, really great.
Posted By Anonymous Christina Williams, Hemet, Ca : 2:05 PM ET
AC360:
Herbert Gettridge is a gem. He is an example of the true spirit of New Orleans. He is not afraid of anything and I believe it...not even exiting off the news broadcast on the Lower Ninth Ward with Anderson Cooper.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 2:15 PM ET
What a true New Orleanian...never give up Herbert.
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie Stock, Denver, CO (NOLA evacuee) : 2:46 PM ET
Hi David and AC: Many thanks for showing again this touching interview with Mr.Gettridge. He is quite an inspiration to all with his determination and willpower to rebuilt and also move on. I'm sure there are many other individuals like him in New Orleans that believe it is still worth living there. Good luck to all!
Posted By Anonymous Josee (Montreal, Quebec) : 2:53 PM ET
WOW ANDERSON, You found ONE decent person in NO, from the coverage there I thought there wasn't even one. You truly shocked me! Hopefully his wife is enjoying Madison.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 2:56 PM ET
I thought Mr.Gettridge was so sweet. He is truly an inspiration. Obviously nothing, including mother nature and the government can get him down. I hope that someone in the community will help him fix his house. He mentioned that he still needed cabinets for his kitchen. I hope a cabinet company can make a donation for him.
Anderson was wonderful with him.
Posted By Anonymous Jess, Paris, KY : 2:59 PM ET
Hi David, boy what an amazing old man Herbert Gettridge is. He's not afraid of nothin', he made it through WW11, he made it through the Germans, he made it through the Japanese, he sure as hell was going to make it through Katrina! The only thing he almost didn't make it through was the microphone he was wired up to for that interview. I got a real kick out of that Anderson.
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 3:40 PM ET
The strength of this man, the absolute courage, to go about repairing his home for his family amid the ruins of a city that so many have simply given up on, is just incredible. After watching yesterday's excellent show, I lit a candle for Mr. Gettridge and the citizens of New Orleans, and prayed for a brighter, safer future for all of them. Thanks for giving a voice to the ongoing struggle; it's appreciated more than words can say.
Posted By Anonymous C. Williams, Las Cruces NM : 4:27 PM ET
God bless Mr.Gettridge for his determination. His strength is an inspiration to us all. I hope he will have more assistance in rebuilding his home.
I pray for his success and for the day when he can enjoy his home with his wife again.
Posted By Anonymous Vee, San Diego, CA : 4:47 PM ET
Thanks! He gives us hope that New Orleans will comeback. Hope is all we have sometimes. I know others in New Orleans with his spirit, they work silently and are focused on their goals and are not effected by the disaster around them. I beleive.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer Dallas, Texas via New Orleans : 5:07 PM ET
Mr. Cooper,
Your interview, your conversation with Mr. Gettridge was amazing. This is what the U.S. is all about. However, it should not be so hard for him to make his home a home again. What an amazing person. Thank you for putting a face to the plight of our brothers and sisters in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. During your interview Mr. Gettridge talked about some things he needs. I wanted to know if there is a way other citizens can help him?
Thank you so much. My heart was so full.
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie H., Brooklyn NY : 5:09 PM ET
That interview with Mr. Gettridge was classic! What a wonderful man. The president of the National Baptist Laymen that he mentioned helped him out, is a member of my church. I'll have to tell him about the cabinets!
Posted By Anonymous Keisha R. Kansas City, MO : 5:15 PM ET
Herbert is an amazing man. He is a symbol of what NOLA and the entire Gulf Coast is, just people trying to put their lives back together the best way they know how.
Posted By Anonymous Kelli, San Francisco, CA : 5:19 PM ET
Thank you so much for interviewing Herbert. He's an inspiration to all of us with his perserverance, patience, and gratitude.

YOU were such an inspiration to animal lovers all over the world when you drew attention to the plight of the abandoned animals after Katrina. Would you consider interviewing some of the animal organizations that continue to help the surviving animals and that are working to prevent future tragedies? Ones that come to mind are Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), Humane Society of Louisiana, Louisiana SPCA, United Animal Nations, Noah's Wish, Best Friends, and MuttShack.

Thanks for all you did to save both human and animal lives. My husband and I even wrote about your extraordinary attention to the situation in our book RESCUED: Saving Animals from Disaster. Many of the hundreds of volunteers we interviewed said they went to the Gulf Coast to help reunite people and pets and rescue the animals after seeing your programs.
Posted By Anonymous Linda Anderson, Minneapolis, Minnesota : 5:38 PM ET
HI David,
What a touching interview!! Mr Getteridge is truly inspiring. I think we all have a lot to learn from him. Great job, Anderson!
Posted By Anonymous Heather Edmonton, AB Canada : 6:07 PM ET
What a truly inspiring story and human being!! having the strenght to return to a place that was once so happy, full of life and hopeful for the future can be hard. seeing someone stand-up in the face of adversity all alone in a dark suburb is amazing. What an ending to the interview!! absolutely priceless. I guess it just shows that the error is human and that everyone has a sense of humour(Anderson and Mr.Gettridge) Congrats AC for your in depth touching and interactive journalism and Mr. Gettridge for your amazing mental strength, stay strong out there!!
Posted By Anonymous Jean-Marc, Calgary, Alberta,Canada : 6:19 PM ET
I hope I'm as cool and as tough as Herb Gettridge when I turn 83.
Posted By Anonymous Fay, Vacaville, CA : 6:21 PM ET
There's a guy that I wish more New Orleans people were like. Rather than waiting for the government to hand him everything, he took the matters into his own hands to rebuild his life and save his future.

It is sad that he will risk it all again to live in / near New Orleans again, but it is his determination to prosper that many... MANY... New Orleans people need to learn from.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel Grape, Pittsburgh PA : 7:16 PM ET
Mr. Gettridge is the rule, not the exception, for the citizens rebuilding their lives after the flood. They are doing it all on their own with courage and a beautiful spirit. They are my heroes! People commenting from elsewhere don't have a clue as to what these people, these Americans, have endured.
Posted By Anonymous J.Harris Hammond, LA : 7:23 PM ET
Mr. Gettridge epitomizes many of the pioneers trying to save New Orleans. It's unbelievable what he is able to do at the ripe age of 83. While many in the national media concentrate on the negative aspect of our city, it is a relief to see a story we New Orleanians can take pride in and know there is justice after all. What appears on the surface is not necessarily reflective of what is going on in New Orleans. There are plenty of stories like Mr Gettridge's. If you look really hard and go beyond the surface you can see how beautiful it is here. If you stay on the surface, the debris is stacked higher than a CBD building. Thanks for a beautiful story!
Posted By Anonymous Louie Bonnecarre, New Orleans La. : 7:24 PM ET
Mr. Gettridge reminds me of my dad and his buddies at the Veterans of Foregin War organization. They are truly the Greatest Generation and put to shame men half their age who have abandoned New Orleans because it's just too hard to work, have faith and be self-reliant. I nominate Herbert Gettridge for mayor of New Orleans. He truly leads by example. Thanks for showing viewers someone who exemplifies old-fashioned American values.
Posted By Anonymous DH - Lake Barrington, IL : 7:26 PM ET
Anderson.....this was one of the best interviews I have seen on 360 in a long while....Mr. Gettridge was a great guest and it was wonderful to see that he still has love for his home and his city, New Orleans. He was also a very friendly, entertaining man to watch and too cute at the end when he walked away still "wired up"........thank you from continuing to bring us stories about real people with real issues.......it seems that you and CNN are the only news outlet that keep New Orleans fresh in minds and conscience so thank you everyone at AC360!
Posted By Anonymous Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 8:44 PM ET
Aderson's interview with Herbert Gettridge mentions Common Ground Relief, Common Ground Relief.

This grassroots organization has been on the front line of relief and rebuilding in the lower ninth ward. They have been one of the few organizations to address the needs of the families who want to move back.

What readers should know, Common Ground has gutted over 1000 homes, supported over 10,000 volunteers. Anderson should do a story about common Ground when ever he returns.

Another group that help to create common Ground is Veterans For Peace. They left Crawford Texas Sept 1st 05 and headed into the disaster zone after spending a month in a ditch with Cindy Sheehan protesting the war.

Readers of this blog who want to know more should go to New Orleans Voices For Peace to get the whole story.
Posted By Anonymous Gordon Soderberg, Slidell : 8:53 PM ET
Hey Anderson:
Watched your show last night. What a revelation! However, nothing about New Orleans fiasco surprises us anymore. It only dismays everyone. This is a huge, ugly stain on the U.S. flag, one which I'm sure you won't abandon. I'm passionate about this country, so keep on doin' what you're doin'.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Lou, Toronto, Canada : 9:09 PM ET
Hi David,
I might be too late to give a comment on this post, but I just have a quick thought on the subject. I could be wrong, but wasn't Mr. Gettridge the man featured with Comic Relief. Where are the donations that were collected. Did no one from that benefit give Mr. Gettridge any help? Oh well..I'd love to see ac360 have a site listed where we could help Mr.Gettridge and Mr. Rumsey. It might only make a dent in what is needed, but it's a dent we should make. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif : 10:09 PM ET
The Reporting on Jan. 11th 2007 was fantastic. Finally, someone is telling the truth. Not negative, not positive; Just as it is. Mr. Gettridge owns property outright without a mortgage. I am glad he is following his heart. Another side of the New Orleans situation is about people who heavily mortgaged their New Orleans homes and the maximum government help is $150,000. Many of us cannot afford the gap or difference between this help and the actual costs of buying out our mortgage or relocating. We want to come back but the risk is tremendously great. The only other option is foreclosure and bankruptcy, the banks and we are sitting on our hands on this. No one is doing anything. I never hear about this being talked about openly. I never hear this, as a reason, as to why there are so few numbers of closings of government buy outs of properties. Someone like you can find this out. Believe me! We have tried.
In an effort to defend being "heavily mortgaged". We paid $21,000 a year for private elementary schools because we had to.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth Ray, NewOrleans/Baton Rouge, LA : 11:42 PM ET
Anderson, Thank you for your interview. My heart breaks for Mr. Gettridge and all New Orleans' citizens struggling to make sense out of a senseless tragedy. Your continued coverage allows us to still feel and know that there are people out there who care.
Posted By Anonymous Dana (Dallas, TX-born/raised in New Orleans) : 11:44 PM ET
Your interview with Mr.Gettridge has pierced through my ears to my heart.After seeing that I would really like To know how to send him a few $.I can't afford to offer much,but well wishes only go so far & being in Minnesota limits my options of ways I can help. please reply soon.
Posted By Anonymous pete palma. st.paul,mn. : 2:29 AM ET
I enjoy watching Anderson Cooper. My wife and I are working in New Orleans we see a lot of what Anderson has been reporting on.
Posted By Anonymous Rickey Marise Bald Knob : 6:54 AM ET
The interview with Mr.Herbert Gettridge was moving while I watched it live. However, when I reviewed it when it was posted, it touched me more. It is a distaste in my mouth that he has labeled Katrina up there with WWII. That should not be happening in America. I do wish that the clip posted showed the laughter after the interview. It showed that even through these hard times people can still laugh. I continue to pray that God will bless Mr. Gettridge and his wife and all the people of New Orleans.
Posted By Anonymous Kristen, Jeffersonville, IN : 1:25 PM ET
Anderson and co. thanks again for continuing to cover New Orleans and including inspiring stories like this.

Mr. Gettridge represents the very best of New Orleanians, but on our three trips back there since the storm, we have met many more great, honest folks like him. (Previous poster, that was meant for you!)

And thanks also for covering the Crime March on Thursday, that was also a hopeful and uplifting story in its own way.
Posted By Anonymous Bob Burler, New York, NY : 2:58 PM ET
thanks Anderson and CNN for not forgetting Katrina and all that they are still going through..
Posted By Anonymous allie,cleveland, ohio : 4:05 PM ET
New Orleans can be rebuilt but it won't be the same like it was a long time ago before Katrina hurricane wiped it out. I'm certain.
Posted By Anonymous Federico Cimbaro, Buenos Aires, Argentina : 4:58 PM ET
What are the similiarities of Iraq and New Orleans? They are there. You get flashes and pieces. Someone just needs to connect the dots sort of speak.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Edelbrock, University Place, Washington State : 7:37 PM ET
How can America pacify itself when there are people like Mr. Gettridge still struggling with their day-to-day, and still separated from their families? As the Katrina catastrophe declined in interest into an everyday struggle, most news organizations, along with their conscience, have hopped onto the next hot topic. This show, however, has frequently kept this region fresh in my mind. Great job!
Posted By Anonymous Sarah Blanc, Palm Beach Gardens, Fl : 2:24 AM ET
If this doesn't give the people of New Orleans inspiration nothing will.

Mayor Nagin needs to take notes from Mr. Gettridge he's truely amazing.

This is a man who won't let anything or anyone get in the way of his dreams.
Posted By Anonymous maurice, new brighton, mn : 5:12 AM ET
Great video. This man is a true example of what the American work ethic used to be. You also showed another side of Katrina that most people don't know about, and that is the separation of couples. I have a friend who lived and worked in NO before the storm. Now she lives in Texas but her husband still lives and works in NO. That's nearly a year and a half of being separated from her husband. Another man-made disaster as a result of the lack of effort on behalf of the goverment at the federal, state, and local level. I hope these families can make it through and reunite soon.
Posted By Anonymous Joanna, Baltimore, MD : 9:18 AM ET
Mr. Gettridge is but one of the many treasures in my beloved town. I'd agree with Brant that much of the media does not depict New Orleanians in a flattering light. The strength and resolve demonstrated by Mr. Gettridge is of epic proportions. I don't know anyone who could do this alone. Most of my family and friends in New Orleans are rebuilding with the valuable help from other friends and family. Mr. Gettridge's story is sadly unexeptional in this sense: New Orleanians have exerted all their efforts (and savings)to repairing their homes and lives with appallingly little help from the governement and insurance companies.
Posted By Anonymous Angele, Baltimore, Maryland : 4:34 PM ET
This is just so terrific to hear. Because it's not like FEMA's been there forever (or have they??? I really don't know, now that I mention it.) If San Fran rebuilt itself, so can New Orleans. And yet, I STILL can't believe we're STILL talking about rebuilding New Orleans. I mean, probably THE most culturally rich city and area in the US of A....still so much of a giant dump all this time later, that an 83 year old man is doing a better job than all the feds put together.

We need to pull ourselves together and JUST GET TO IT. If we can't do this one thing, the most devastating thing behind the Twin Towers well...it's the beginning of the end of the US as we all knew it to be. This'll be on our timelines, our kids' timelines, and THEIR kids' timelines...before, and after, Katrina. The USA back when we could fix things, versus a USA that forgot what it took to get the job done. Is terrorism destroying our civilization, or are they simply filling up a void that already pre-existed?

PS Wonder how many blocks in Biloxi and N.O.could be rebuilt from the ground up with just one day of the money we're spending to rebuild the houses and hosptials we bombed in Iraq. Putting the people of N.O and surrounding areas to work fixing their own city (their own houses, even) after the storm took all their jobs. And, would the money have been there to fix the levees in the first place had we not got in that mess over there. Herbert Gettridge has got it right--we simply cannot rely on our government to do the job, we'll die waiting.
Posted By Anonymous L. R., Wheeling, WV : 6:27 PM ET
Just when you think you it's time to turn your back on human nature, something wonderful like this man comes out of the dark (literally) to inspire, humble, and comfort. I have to believe that there are more "Herbert Gettridges" out there. Thanks so much for brightening the horizon a bit. He WILL rebuild and be reunited with his wife. Watching that moment was wonderful, and I know watching "the return" will be just as amazing. Mr. Gettridge, you ARE a picture of true, decent, human nature. Thanks Anderson & CNN!
Posted By Anonymous Patty, Charleston, SC : 2:09 AM ET
My heart goes out to Mr. Gettridge he is showing us that no matter what the circumstances we must press on toward our dreams in life and not give up. I hope that someone will have compassion in helping him fix his house. Good job Anderson Cooper.
Posted By Anonymous Penny Farria Missouri Tx : 10:11 AM ET
I would like to know if Herbert Gettridge in New Orleans ever got what he needed? If not how could I contact him?
Posted By Anonymous Herb Davis, Rohnert Park CA : 10:32 AM ET
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