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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Back To Business In New Orleans; Baltimore Terror Threat

Aired October 18, 2005 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. We are live in New Orleans 50 days after Katrina, 25 days after Rita. How far has New Orleans come, and more importantly, how far does it have to go? Find out tonight. 360 starts now.
ANNOUNCER: From Bourbon Street to the Ninth Ward, a mixed bag of progress. But who's benefiting from the rebuilding? Are the jobs going to immigrants instead of locals who desperately need the work?

A witness to a brutal beating. Tonight, she speaks for the first time about what happened on Bourbon Street.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VERONICA, BEATING WITNESS: He wasn't struggling. He wasn't fighting back. I did not see him fight back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: What she saw and what she said to the cops that night. A CNN exclusive.

Wilma, now a hurricane, on its way to becoming a major storm and heading for Florida. How much danger is ahead?

The new video game that shows pro football at its nastiest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your day is about to be over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Broken bones, prostitutes, trash talk and a "Mature" rating. What will parents say?

She's tiny and fearless. The first, the only woman, to race in the Indy 500. Did she punch out another racer while duking it out on the track?

Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: And good evening, again. I'm live here in New Orleans, at the corner of Bourbon and Conte in the historic French Quarter. A French Quarter which has, in some respects, come back to life. We've come back to this city 50 days after Katrina blew through to see for ourselves exactly what kind of shape the city is in, what's been done, what hasn't, and where the problems remain. And there are a lot of problems that do remain.

When you think of all the foul water that not so long ago covered most of New Orleans, it's tempting to say things are so much better now. That is a relative answer and it doesn't begin to address the reality of lives upended and lives in limbo still. New Orleans, a city coming back to life, but what's still a long way to go.

At this moment, here's the latest. The northern part of the Lower Ninth Ward, the area that suffered the most damage, remains off-limits to the public. City officials say they are working around the clock to make the area safe for residents to visit. All other areas of the city have re-opened, though curfews continue to restrict where people can be outside, either on foot or in vehicles. The first school within city limits re-opened yesterday. The city says eight more schools will be open by November 17.

A lot ahead in this hour. The road to recovery has had plenty of rough spots. When New Orleans cops wrestled a man to the ground not far from here a little over a week ago, a lot of people couldn't believe what they were seeing -- you've seen the tape -- certainly not the people who saw it replayed across the country on video and apparently not the people who were standing there, at least some of them.

Tonight, we have a CNN exclusive interview with a woman who says she witnessed the beating. She was a Red Cross volunteer. Her name is Veronica. She doesn't want us to disclose her last name. And though you can't see her on the videotape, CNN has established she was with another woman who is visible on the tape.

We traveled to her home in California to get her account of exactly what happened that night right behind me here on Bourbon Street -- what she told us she saw just before the beating began.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VERONICA, BEATING WITNESS: Mr. Davis crossed the street in front of us and he did not appear to be intoxicated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't appear to be drunk at all?

VERONICA: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just looked like a normal guy?

VERONICA: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who was crossing the street?

VERONICA: Crossing the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't see stumbling?

VERONICA: No. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't hear any shouting?

VERONICA: No.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The officers now charged with battery say that the man they beat, Robert Davis, a 64-year-old retired school teacher, was drunk. In fact, their lawyer says he was a belligerent drunk and they claim he resisted arrest. It is bound to be a central issue when the case goes to court. Witnesses will undoubtedly be called to testify.

Frank De Salvo is the attorney for the officers. I spoke with him just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Frank, all along you have maintained that Mr. Davis was drunk. You said he was belligerently drunk and that he knocked into a police horse. This witness, Veronica, worked with the Red Cross, says she didn't see him knock into a police horse -- that he seemed to have a civil conversation with the man on the horse and that he walked off.

FRANK DE SALVO, ATTY. POLICE ASSOC. OF NEW ORLEANS: Right. First of all, it's preposterous to believe that two police officers just go beat somebody up that's being civil for no reason at all.

You take that as your premise, then you know that something else happened. Now, if this woman failed to see it, then she's seeing what she wanted to see. Now perhaps from her vantage point, she couldn't see what she said she saw or perhaps she saw what she wanted to see or refused to see what she did see. I think she probably, in her own heart of hearts, believes she's telling the truth. But it's not going to be very hard when she gets on a witness stand to either convince her that she's wrong or a judge for sure.

COOPER: But do you have any witnesses, though, who can back up the story, your story, that Mr. Davis appeared intoxicated?

DE SALVO: I have prominent citizens from New Orleans who saw the whole thing. We have witnesses from earlier in the evening who will testify how intoxicated he was. I have witnesses . . .

COOPER: Wait, you said witnesses from earlier in the evening. What, he said he had had a dinner. Did you say -- are you saying he drank over the course of dinner?

DE SALVO: No. I don't think he had that dinner. And I have witnesses to show how drunk he's been many times over the past few years.

COOPER: So you're going to attack this man's credibility.

DE SALVO: Well, he went on television, national television, he said he hadn't had a drink for 25 years. It's a lie. He went on national television and said he never resisted because he only had that one little piece of tape and he thought that was all. But when the rest of the tape came out, it's clear he was resisting and he made a liar out of himself then.

COOPER: But when you say resisted, I mean, he was not in any way physically -- on the tape it does not appear that he was physically threatening these officers. Did he seem physically threatening to you on the tape?

DE SALVO: Well, physically threatening and resisting are two separate things. And while a person is resisting, he can become physically threatening at any given time.

COOPER: But on the tape, I think I counted from the moment he is pushed against the wall, it's about 10 or anywhere between 10 and 15 seconds until the officer starts hitting him in the back of the head. Does that seem a reasonable length of time for an officer to go from, you know, basically zero to 60 to go from pushing him against the wall to physically assaulting him?

DE SALVO: What you saw was a man turned around, not facing the wall, with one hand behind his back and the other one grabbing on the rail like, I'm not going to let you arrest me. Now, a person who's being arrested doesn't get to dictate to the police officer whether he gets arrested or not. He gets to take it up with a judge later.

COOPER: But I mean after 15 seconds -- and 15 seconds that's enough for an officer to have enough provocation to punch somebody four times in the back of the head?

DE SALVO: How long should you let somebody resist arrest before you stop them from resisting? Ten seconds? Fifteen seconds? Two minutes? You know, I mean, what's the time factor? It doesn't make any sense. He's resisting. And when an officer is in that situation, especially in a private place like Bourbon Street, they need to take control of the situation before it gets out of hand.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was on Capitol Hill today promising lawmakers that any federal money (INAUDIBLE) Washington. They're . . .

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: As you can see, we're having a little bit of trouble with our technical situation down there in Louisiana. And oftentimes that happens when we go there. We are going to get straight back to Anderson in just a few minutes.

For now, though, we want to turn to Jacqui Jeras who has her eye on another situation. I believe that situation is called Wilma. Is that right, Jacqui?

(WEATHER REPORT)

COOPER: Still to come tonight on 360, live from New Orleans, a look at the first signs of business returning to the big easy. No fancy ads, no glitzy marketing, just a desire to work. Plus, a city holding its breath. Will this 173-year-old dam hold?

And big money, bigger odds, Powerball fever strikes the nation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. We are live in New Orleans, at the corner of Bourbon and Conte Streets. If you look at the shots, it looks like Bourbon Street is back to life. It is deceptive, though. A lot of the people on the streets here have a couple hours off. They're involved in the relief efforts here. They are soldiers off-duty or law enforcement personnel or some work for the Peace Corps, Red Cross people all around.

A lot of stories here and there's a very different view of New Orleans just a few blocks from here. We'll show you that a little bit later tonight on 360.

First, Christi Paul from HEADLINE NEWS joins us, some of the other stories we're following right now. Hey, Christi.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNNHN ANCHOR: Hi, Anderson. Looking forward to those stories later.

Right now, though -- listen to this -- U.S. senators have agreed to give up their annual pay raise, saying they need to gave the government's money after Hurricane Katrina. Now without the vote, the senators would have automatically received a 1.9 percent salary increase. That's a little over $3,000 for the average lawmaker.

Many experts are concerned that the anti-bacterial lotions and soaps on the market are worsening the problem of drug-resistant bacteria. Manufacturers, however, beg to differ. Either way, we'll have the government's word soon. An advisory board will look into the efficacy of those products that claim to kill 99 percent of all germs.

A dramatic rescue on a California highway. This driver was pulled from his flaming car literally not a moment too soon. Look at that, the car caught fire after a four-vehicle accident on the Hollywood Freeway. This was yesterday. Police officers struggled, as you could see there, to get the 22-year-old driver from his two-door Nissan. Apparently all the doors were jammed. They finally pulled him to safety through the passenger window.

And take a look at this, a 57-pound catfish pulled from the Missouri River yesterday. The man who caught it says the monster breaks his old record, a 50-pounder. He said it took him 15 minutes to reel in and he planned to, "throw it in some grease." Well, at 57 pounds, that will make for a few good meals.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Oh, yeah, a lot of fried catfish. Sounds good, Christi, thanks. See you again in about 30 minutes.

More, perhaps, than any other American city, this one, New Orleans, seems made up of small businesses. Operations that go by people's first names, mom and pop joints, neighborhood institutions that have been in the same family really for as long as anyone can remember. You know, all the little outfits that end "apostrophe s." They're the life's blood of the Big Easy and that blood is pumping once again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER, (voice over): Think of them as weeds left by Hurricane Katrina. Up and down the streets of New Orleans, thousands of little signs fight for attention -- most of them advertising sheet-rocking, temporary roofing, mold removal, though, not all.

With so much destruction -- one estimate says 74 percent of the city's homes, about 160,000 in all, suffered some sort of damage -- demolition and construction companies are everywhere. But Katrina created all sorts of other needs -- needs that some businesses are meeting like never before.

ROBERT JOHN, SALESMAN, COMEAUX FURNITURE: It's been a tremendous, tremendous boost to the business. We've probably sold over, oh, I'll say a year's supply of refrigerators in one month.

This is probably the best buy in the store.

COOPER: At Comeaux, they've moved about 3,000 refrigerators since they reopened.

JOHN: It's not very hard to sell. A lot of people are just taking whatever we have and, yes, I'll take that and just write me up. Let's go.

COOPER: With so much flooding, New Orleans was filled with thousands of very wet oriental rugs and Bob Rue's customers are paying him upfront to clean and salvage their treasures.

BOB RUE, RUG CLEANER: This is what salt water does to oriental rugs. It attacks the cotton. The cotton foundation's rotten, not the wool in the rug.

COOPER: Bob starts with soap and water and says he's using as much soap in a week as he normally uses in several months. And he's preserving more than just floor coverings.

RUE: Try to save it. It's my grandmother's rug or my wife is sitting and weeping, you've got to take care of it. OK, you know. A guy yesterday brought me a little piece and it was $14 to clean. It wasn't very big. And he says, $14? I want you to do the best job. Here's $20.

COOPER: And then there are all those signs. Somebody's got to make them. Turns out Mike Prachter is keeping very busy at his printing company. Almost all his employees evacuated and haven't returned.

MIKE PRACHTER, PRINTER: The majority of them have moved away for good. And I only anticipate having three out of the 10 back.

COOPER: For him, the problem is keeping up with demand.

PRACHTER: For instance, a roofer will call up. Oh, can I get my signs? When can I get them? And I'll tell him, well it's going to be about five days. I can't wait that long. And I know he can't come put a roof on my house tomorrow. So everybody's just got to be patient. That's what everyone's (ph) saying all across the board.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot more still to come tonight on 360. Could New Orleans be turning into a Spanish-speaking city? We'll tell you about some changes here that's got some local residents upset.

Plus, a feud involving racing stars? You could call this crash- crash, bang-bang, after the rubber meets the wall.

And Powerball fever across the U.S.

All that and more a little later on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. We are live in New Orleans, on Bourbon Street, on the corner of Bourbon and Conte. Slowly business here, life returning to normal -- which, of course, as the darkness sets in, normal is a relative term here on Bourbon Street.

Today, it was Baltimore's turn to shiver in the icy wind of a terrorist threat as was the case in New York earlier this month. A warning came from overseas. It was difficult to assess, left authorities with difficult decisions to make and we're glad to say, so far, nothing has come of it.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve is there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The intelligence is uncorroborated. Its credibility unestablished. But it was specific enough for the Maryland Transit Authority to close one Baltimore tunnel and restrict traffic in another for almost two hours.

GARY MCLHINNEY, CHIEF, MARYLAND TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY POLICE: We're going to err on the side of caution, with an abundance of caution, in order to protect the citizens of this state.

MESERVE: U.S. government sources say the purported plot involved explosives shipped into Baltimore disguised as cocoa, then put in at least one truck and driven into an unspecified Baltimore tunnel. The operatives, allegedly a small group of Egyptians.

Officials say the information from a single source who has been reliable before was relayed in an overseas phone call to the U.S. government last week. So far, federal law enforcement sources say, four have been detained but only on immigration charges.

KEVIN PERKINS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Interviews are ongoing at this time. The interviews are more along the lines to determine whether or not the threat is credible.

MESERVE: One expert says a disturbing new terrorist tactic may be emerging.

RICHARD FALKENRATH, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: If al Qaeda and its affiliates are learning the recipe, provide a little bit of somewhat specific information to the United States and they will respond aggressively at home, they could drive us crazy.

MESERVE: Almost two weeks ago, Homeland Security officials raised questions about New York's decision to ramp up transit security. In contrast, they say they support Maryland's security measures. Although in both cases, some federal officials were very skeptical of the threat information right from the start.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Hints or hearsay. We've been hearing plenty of mixed messages concerning Supreme Court Nominee Harriet Miers and her position on abortion. Yesterday, Arlen Specter, the senator who heads the Judiciary Committee, said Miers told him that she agrees with the legal precedent for Roe versus Wade. The White House says, no, she didn't.

Tonight, we know that Miers has said that she would support a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions except those necessary to save a mother's life. CNN has obtained a 1989 questionnaire Miers took when she was running for public office in Texas. In it, Miers indicates that she would use an elected position to promote the pro- life cause.

A night of high anticipation in Iraq. We'll have that story just coming up -- that live out of Iraq.

We'll take a short break. We'll be right back with more on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: New Orleans getting a new accent? We're covering all the angles. 360 next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, no one thought putting New Orleans back together again would be easy, if even possible. Tonight, the city's very much a work in progress -- a city slowly coming back to life but with a good long distance to go.

Here's what's happening "At This Moment." The biggest challenge is re-opening the northern part of the Ninth Ward. It suffered the worst damage, was home to some of the poorest residents of the city. Tonight, it remains-off-limits to the public. All other areas of the city from Bourbon Street, to the Garden District, to the edges of Central Business District have re-opened. People are free to come and go they say, though a curfew remains in place in some places.

This city marked a milestone yesterday. St. Louis Cathedral Academy in the French Quarter re-opened -- the first school to do so. City officials say eight more schools will re-open by November 17.

Fifty days since Katrina, that's how long it's been and counting. Even the cleanup has really only barely begun. Rebuilding will be a long time in coming. Already it is clear that what comes after will be a very different, new New Orleans -- a very different New Orleans; possibly a New Orleans with a very different accent and a lot of different people.

CNN's Chris Lawrence takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): The biggest reconstruction project in the country is just getting started in New Orleans. And when it's all said and done, the city's population may be as radically different as what rises from the rubble.

MANNY OCHOA-GALVEZ, VOLUNTEER TRANSLATOR: I think it's safe to say that a blessing in disguise has been the influx of aliens, whether they're illegal or legal, into the city. They will be contributing to the rebuilding of this city.

LAWRENCE: But some people in New Orleans think it isn't such a blessing and worry illegal immigrants may be taking jobs from hurricane survivors.

CYNTHIA WILLARD-LEWIS, NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL: It's critical that the people who live in this great city, who give it its heart, its soul, its spirit, come back. And so it is essential that the jobs be there for them to return.

LAWRENCE: CNN found some workers have never been questioned about their legal status. And some immigrant advocates worry that new arrivals might be exploited and end up having to work and live in deplorable conditions.

OCHOA-GALVEZ: They were not sanitary at all. A lot of complaints with depression, anxiety, not being able to sleep.

LAWRENCE: About 3 percent of New Orleans was Hispanic in the last census, but companies have placed ads for workers in heavily Latino areas of Atlanta, Chicago and Houston. Now, immigrant workers are getting paid and starting to send that money back home. Immigration expert Jack Kyser says, you could look at California's history for a preview of what comes next. So this first group of Latino workers will more than likely reach back into their community to bring in more?

JACK KYSER, L.A. CITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORP.: The word gets out on the street, so more people start to come in, more workers, and then, if these workers sense this is going to be a permanent opportunity, they will start to send for family, for the wife, for the children.

LAWRENCE: And that's how new communities are born. And possibly, a new New Orleans.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The president of the New Orleans City Council, Oliver Thomas, wants more focus on the old New Orleans and the people who lived there before Katrina. Oliver Thomas says, if you give them a place to live, they will come back. They will come back. The city council president joins me now. Thanks very much for being with us.

Do you feel the people who have -- this Diaspora of New Orleaneans who are across the country have been forgotten?

OLIVER THOMAS, NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Well, I really do. I mean there's a term we use right now, mucho trabajo, mucho dinero, adjetivo ingles y Americana. A lot of work, a lot of money, very little English and very little American. That's not to knock our Spanish brothers and sisters, but if you want to truly rebuild this community, then we should be doing it with New Orleanians, with Louisianians. We could create an economy like we've never had before.

But they seem to be forgotten right now. The people who have suffered the most seem to be forgotten and no one seems to be upset about it.

COOPER: But there are going to be some people who will say, well, look, if there are jobs here and there are people from -- Latin people from Texas or South America who are willing to come and do those jobs, why shouldn't they be able to? And why shouldn't New Orleaneans return here and do those jobs?

THOMAS: And we're not stopping them. But the percentages right now are insane.

I'll give you an example. Before the federal government came in to help us, we were averaging 35 percent of federal contracts. Now that the federal government is helping us, we're doing 9 percent and less of federal contracts.

COOPER: You're saying 9 percent of federal contracts go to companies from New Orleans?

THOMAS: Louisiana, period. So New Orleans is even less. We are not helping to rebuild this community if its base are not the people. Look, is this some type of casting call or cattle call where this is a new movie and we want a new cast?

COOPER: Do you believe that? I mean, there are some people -- you know, I was out in the Ninth Ward today and there are a lot of people who believe -- I mean, some would call it conspiracy theories -- but there are a lot of people believe politicians want to remake this city in a different color.

THOMAS: It's just like the people from this community, it's no different from we're changing movie sets. So we want to have a new casting call, a new cattle call, for new residents to come.

That's how little the people in this community seem to be appreciated. No one from Congress to very few people in the local communities seem to be upset.

The only people that seem to be upset are myself, Junior Rodriguez, Jack Stevens and Aaron Broussard.

COOPER: So how do you get people who are from here to come back here to work here?

THOMAS: Well, they need to be connected with an opportunity. There is a lot of opportunity right now.

One thing I've surveyed, Anderson, is that with some of these jobs, people who are from here could even have an opportunity to make more money because these wages are higher. But we have to provide them with places to stay. We have trailer parks in Baker, all parts of Louisiana, when we have -- God knows that one thing Katrina gave us was a lot of vacant property where we could set up trailers and trailer parks and temporary housing for the people who want to live here.

If those people are good enough to live in trailer parks in Baker, in Lane (ph) and outside of Baton Rouge, the least we could do is have a trailer park here in New Orleans providing them with an opportunity to go to work. Why not?

COOPER: You were in the Lower Ninth Ward today. Do you fear they are not going to rebuild the lower Ninth Ward?

THOMAS: Well, you know, I was in the lower Ninth Ward shedding my tears today because I heard that there's a possibility that, that community in New Orleans East will be forgotten.

No one mentioned the other communities like Gentilly, the lakefront in Lakeview, that were under as much water as the Ninth Ward.

COOPER: Those are kind of richer areas?

THOMAS: Yes, they're kind of richer areas. But who's richer than the people in Eastover (ph), who's richer than the people in Lake Borgne (ph), who's richer than the people out there in Lake Carmel (ph) out in New Orleans East -- the foundation of the African-American middle class. This shouldn't be white versus black, but the leaders of this community should not be talking about options of not rebuilding the community. What we should be saying is that if you're going to rebuild A, you're going to rebuild B. If you're going to rebuild B, you're going to rebuild A. There shouldn't be any forgotten people. And if the people from this community are not represented, then maybe, hey, hold on a second.

Everybody should count. We are talking about the people from this community as if we were just hiring a whole new cast in a whole new movie and they don't matter.

COOPER: Council president, appreciate you joining us, thank you. Council President Oliver Thomas.

Stunning remains one of the best words to describe the pictures of the destruction left behind by Katrina and Rita, especially in the Ninth Ward the councilman was talking about. Those incredible pictures only tell half the story. For the other half, you have to see what it looked like before.

CNN'S David Mattingly highlights the after with the before.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're looking at scenes of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in happier, more prosperous times gathered on video by Biloxi television station WLOX in 2004.

TIM BEISEL, WLOX CREATIVE SERVICE DIRECTOR: We hadn't seen anything that drove home the damage as far as what it was to what it is now.

MATTINGLY: Tim Beisel, who normally produces commercials for the station, found that when he matched the pre-hurricane video to the same scenes after Katrina he had a visually unforgettable record of the power of the storm.

BEISEL: This is the most surprising thing.

MATTINGLY (on camera): They're gone.

BEISEL: You see it. There's nothing. There's no houses. There's no fences. There's nothing.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): We watched as houses on tree-lined streets disappeared. A landmark, old Southern home vanished in the blink of an eye.

BEISEL: You'll see big buildings, but you've got all of these buildings that are nothing. There's nothing there. They're signs.

MATTINGLY: Huge brick walls dissolved. A colorful marble memorial to Hurricane Camille was stripped and disassembled.

(on camera): Was there any one particular before and after match that you had here that really hit home for you?

BEISEL: For me, Marine Life. Marine Life was the oceanarium down on Highway 90. It looks like just a skeleton of the former building. It's just the iron.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The moving segments have aired many times on WLOX and viewer response has been strong.

You would think that when viewers saw their losses so powerfully presented, they would despair. But that's not what happened.

BEISEL: You feel that there are some things that we lost that we'll never get back.

At the same time, you know, you really wanted to show people -- we wanted to show them what it did look like just in the hopes that they do know that it's going to be back.

MATTINGLY: One landmark, according to Beisel, is particularly significant: the old Biloxi lighthouse.

BEISEL: For it to make it through something like this really unscathed, I think it gives people hope.

MATTINGLY: It survived a 30-foot storm surge to become a new symbol for a storm-tossed city seemingly lost in a sea of rubble.

BEISEL: When you have something like that, a landmark like that that's still standing, that's something to build around, it's something to build our future around. It's something to really build our hope around.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: And they'll need to do anything they can to keep that hope alive through this long, rebuilding process -- Anderson.

COOPER: You were in Mississippi -- the before and after, I mean, is it a very different scene there?

MATTINGLY: It is striking when you look at those pictures, how vibrant and alive and lush this part of the country was, and to see even every tree just completely stripped of every limb and every leaf. The houses that were -- they're gone. Even the foundations are gone.

Entire areas have been erased from the face of the map and they've got a lot of rebuilding to do from the ground up literally.

COOPER: Someone from Mississippi just drove by in a car and has got to go back and her home is completely destroyed. We're hearing so many stories like that. David, thanks.

Still ahead tonight on 360, where is Wilma going? That's the question a lot of people here are wondering. The latest on the hurricane heading for the Gulf. We'll have that.

And another storm brewing on a video game machine near you. Lawrence Taylor, we'll see what he is up to.

We're covering all the angles. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. We are live on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Bourbon and Conte, to be exact, where the street is definitely heating up for the evening's entertainment. The bars are open. The restaurants are open. A lot of people are wandering around. You might think that the city has been reborn with all these people.

What you don't realize, though, is that these really aren't tourists. These are people involved in one way or another with the rebuilding effort, with the recovery effort. They're soldiers off duty; they are police officers; they are members of the Red Cross who have a few hours off and are out here just to have a good time because, frankly, there's no place else to go in New Orleans.

We'll have more from Bourbon Street and elsewhere in New Orleans in a moment.

First, we want to bring you up to date on the status of the 12th hurricane of the season, Wilma. That's her name.

We turn once again to CNN's Jacqui Jeras in the Weather Center in Atlanta. Jacqui, where's the storm?

JERAS: Well the storm is about 180 miles to the south of the Cayman Islands. You can see it very clearly here on our satellite imagery. And notice the eye which developed over the last couple of hours, a little bit ragged but nonetheless, certainly showing its face there and intensifying.

Winds are at 80 miles per hour -- puts it in the category one strength. But we are expecting some pretty rapid intensification over the next 24 to 48 hours. And this will likely become a major hurricane.

Hurricane watches have been posted for parts of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba including the Isle of Youth. That means that hurricane conditions are possible in about 36 hours.

Now, the forecast track has it moving through the Yucatan channel, but either way, going to get a lashing in this area, curving to the right heading toward Florida on Saturday. Anderson?

COOPER: Any sense what time? Are we talking about in the morning or -- at this point, I guess, it's too imprecise to tell?

JERAS: Yes. Well, it depends. If it goes a little bit farther to the right, obviously, that's going to happen earlier. If it goes a little farther off to the left, then it's going to happen a little bit later, but we think probably late on Saturday.

COOPER: All right, Jacqui, thanks, we'll check in with you later on tonight. COOPER: If the people of Florida are nervously watching and waiting, so are the people of Taunton, Massachusetts, south of Boston, where an early 19th-century timber dam is holding back a river swollen with heavy 21st-century rain, but just barely.

The old wooden dam could fail at any moment. That would flood the town. And the mayor wants anyone in the water's path to get out now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT NUNES, MAYOR of TAUNTON, MASSACHUSETTS: The city of Taunton is still in a state of emergency. The condition of the dam at Whittenton Mills is still being monitored by dam inspectors and officials from the Taunton Fire Department and Taunton Police Department.

There are no significant changes to the structure of the dam. The water level has not receded. There is excessive vibration, which is a concern.

Again, we encourage the residents who live along the Mill River to evacuate. All streets in the downtown area are closed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, a lot of people, obviously, in Taunton very concerned and watching that. And we continue to watch that situation moment by moment. It's very tenuous and could change at any second. We'll continue to watch it throughout the evening.

And brace yourself for this next story. It's going to be a little spooky. I'm about to telling you exactly what you're doing at this very moment or have done today already or plan to do before Wednesday night.

Here it goes: If you live in the District of Columbia or the Virgin Islands or any one of the 27 states I have in mind, what you're doing right now is clutching a ticket, crossing your fingers and counting your chickens.

CNN's Allan Chernoff has been watching you worshipping at the altar of Powerball.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is my dream, my dream last night, a lot of money. So the money's in my pocket right now.

CHERNOFF: Show me the money, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me the money. I have the money.

CHERNOFF: Powerball players at Vinn's News in Greenwich, Connecticut are bristling with confidence.

Lauren Leonardo teamed up with her office mates. LAUREN LEONARDO, POWERBALL PLAYER: We're going to win and we're going to have nobody left working in the office.

CHERNOFF: It's more fun to focus on the prize -- a record Powerball jackpot of $340 million -- rather than the odds of winning -- 1 in 146 million. The big winner, if there is one Wednesday night, will correctly pick six numbers, five white balls and the single red Powerball.

The line here is now about 40 minutes long and the store owners say the closer we come to Wednesday night's drawing, the longer the line will become.

JEANETTE MICHAEL, POWERBALL SPOKESWOMAN: So, everybody's taking a chance on becoming that one person who can all of a sudden become a multimillionaire overnight.

CHERNOFF: The $340 million would be paid out over 30 years or the winner may opt for a lump sum of $164.5 million. The other decision: Where to spend it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After I get back from my 4 1/2-month stay in Las Vegas...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know -- shopping. I'm going to shop for everyone.

CHERNOFF: Allan Chernoff, Greenwich, Connecticut.

COOPER: A lot of money at stake. Still ahead on 360, Danica Patrick, out to break records or is it break heads? Did tempers fly on the racetrack? We'll explain ahead.

Also ahead tonight: the man behind the brawn, the head of the company that supplied performance-enhancing drugs to the pros is headed to jail.

360 from New Orleans in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. We're live in New Orleans on Bourbon Street, the corner of Bourbon and Conte, where a lot of people involved in the relief effort have a couple hours off.

This is where they come at night, have a couple of drinks, and you can imagine what ensues. It's going to be quite a long night here on Bourbon Street. We'll see if we actually make it to midnight.

Christi Paul from HEADLINE NEWS joins us with some of the day's other top stories right now. Hi, Christi.

PAUL: Hi, Anderson. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the Senate Judiciary Committee the U.S. needs to let in more legal guest workers and fewer illegal immigrants. Chertoff said controlling illegal immigration would be enormously difficult without a legal way to meet the demand for foreign workers.

The man behind the biggest steroid scandal in professional sports got four months in prison and four months of house arrest in a plea bargain. Victor Conte, founder of BALCO, plead guilty to money laundering and steroid distribution back in July.

On Wall Street today, fear of inflation went up and stocks -- well, they went down. The Labor Department's Producer Price Index racked up the biggest increase in 15 years of 1.9 percent in September. The Dow fell 62 points, about .6 percent, to 10,285. The NASDAQ dropped 14 points, or .69 percent to 2,056. And the S&P dropped 11 points, just over one percent to 1,178.

Anderson, that's it here in Atlanta. Take it away.

COOPER: All right, thanks very much, Christi.

Now, a whole new sport -- well, a hybrid, anyway, a cross between boxing and race car driving. Think of it as zoom-zoom, whack-whack. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): In this corner, we have Danica Patrick, the one and only woman in the Indy Racing League. Rookie of the year, Danica is 5'1 and weighs 100 pounds even.

On Sunday, at the California Speedway, the sweetheart of the IRL was wearing the XX car, and in this corner, veteran driver Jaques Lazier. Jaques stands -- well, he's taller and heavier than Danica, that's for sure. On race day, he was wearing the TK car.

Anyway, the two of them were duking out for eighth place when they ran into one another, wrecking both their vehicles and ending their chances. Jaques was unhurt. Danica came away with a sore elbow, and it's alleged, a sore head. The Indy Racing League is looking into a report that Danica punched Jaques after the incident. She maintains all she did was put a couple of fingers to his noggin and said, blaming him for the accident, you got to use this, meaning what were you thinking?

He says yes, whatever. "It doesn't matter" were his actual words. "My son hits harder than she does." Jaques's son is 4. The unhappy couple shared an ambulance to the hospital. Must have been called a swell ride. So what to call this new sport? Maybe box cars.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It must've been a really swell ride.

Let's find out what's coming up at the top of the hour on PAULA ZAHN NOW. Hey, Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Anderson. Thanks. I'm going to introduce all of you tonight to some people who have gone through a terrifying ordeal. Imagine this. You're on the operating table during surgery, the anesthesia wears off. You wake up to excruciating pain. But these patients were unable to speak or move, not even scream for help. And it turns out what they've gone through happens thousands of times a year -- in fact, tens of thousands of times a year.

And, Anderson, we're going to meet up with a woman who has some amazing things to say about what she heard her doctors say while he thought she was under. Pretty humiliating stuff.

COOPER: Wow. All right, Paula. That's at the top of the hour. Thanks. We'll look forward to that.

Coming up next on 360, if you want some football, we have got some football, football with attitude appearing on a video game player near you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Death comes to us all, of course, but violent death, mysterious and terrible with a victim accidentally stumbled upon, discovered somewhere, abandoned like something discarded -- that kind of death surely is restricted to the seedy side of town, isn't it? Actually, it's not. It isn't.

CNN's Heidi Collins reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The wealthy come here, to Sands Point for the seascape, the peace and safety, the history. This area reportedly inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald when he wrote "The Great Gatsby." This was the playground of the Roaring '20s, complete with raucous parties and guests like Groucho Marks and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. It hasn't changed all that much.

DET. LT. DENNIS FARRELL, CMDR. NASSAU COUNTY POLICE HOMICIDE SQUAD: You're going to see people doing things that people that are socially gifted, I guess, do. I mean, they have the leisure time. They have the affluence. They're jogging, they're golfing, and they're horseback riding.

COLLINS: But something terrible happened here in Sands Point, something that shattered any sense of peace or safety.

LARISSA KLUG, SANDS POINT RESIDENT: Just can't believe something like this would happen here.

COLLINS: Local residents Larissa Klug and her cousin bring flowers to the spot where a young woman's body was found, a petite young woman beaten to death. Just hours ago, police identified that woman as 24-year-old Elizabeth Parisi (ph) from Mastic Beach, New York.

SGT. ROBERT FOLLO, SANDS POINT POLICE DEPARTMENT: She's in the early 20s, probably. The medical examiner's report indicates that she died of blunt trauma and severe head injuries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are three items that the young woman was wearing.

COLLINS (on camera): These are children's clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe both the pants and the shirt and possibly all three are actually children's clothes, children's sizes.

COLLINS: We talked with a neighbor who found the young woman's body lying here in the brush behind me. He wouldn't go on camera with us but can you see for yourself, it's not very far from the road and certainly not very well hidden. In fact, if you live in this community, this is the main road in and out. And as drivers go by this spot every day, they can only be reminded that something like this can even happen here.

KLUG: Very nervous. I mean, we used to, like, leave our, like, front doors open here during the day, but I mean, not anymore. I mean, it's just real scary.

COLLINS (voice-over): Scary and for this neighborhood, impossible to understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never makes sense. It never makes sense. I've been doing this a long time. It never makes sense. When one person kills another person, it's very difficult to draw any sense out of this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: After learning the identity of Elizabeth Parisi, we spoke with one of her neighbors. She told us that Ms. Parisi was a nice kid and a good neighbor. She was also the mother of two children. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Heidi, thanks. Coming back to -- let's go back to Atlanta where Jacqui Jeras is standing by with some new developments in Hurricane Wilma. Jacqui, what's going on?

JERAS: Well, Anderson, we just learned that Wilma has been upgraded now to a Category 2 hurricane, packing winds of 100 miles per hour. It's in a mode of very rapid intensification and I think it's even possible that we may see this become a major hurricane, Category 3 possibly, or better, by the time you wake up tomorrow morning.

There you see the satellite imagery and where the storm is going. It's moving west-northwest and all eyes now really need to focus on Florida for potential landfall of a major hurricane this weekend -- Anderson.

COOPER: Does this affect the arrival time? Or, I mean, do we have any more information on where it's going?

JERAS: No, doesn't affect the arrival time at all. It's just an intensity change. The storm has gotten stronger, so we're more concerned about this being a major hurricane at landfall rather than a Category 1 or 2.

COOPER: All right, Jacqui, thanks very much.

In the big money business of video games, football is king, or if you're talking about one new game in particular, maybe Kingpin, as in criminal Kingpin. Maybe that's a better comparison. We checked out "Blitz." It's a new game. It takes the game of football to a whole new level of outrageousness. Here's the softest, generalist sneak peek we could manage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE TAYLOR, NFL: You look at me like that again, I'll (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you up.

COOPER (voice-over): What does an NFL Hall of Famer do once his playing days are over?

TAYLOR: What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) are you trying to pull? Get that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of here.

COOPER: Well, if you're Lawrence Taylor, you try to make a buck off your bad boy reputation.

TAYLOR: Yes, mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

COOPER: Perhaps that explains "Blitz: The League," a new computer game in stores today. It's being marketed as something definitely not sanctioned by the NFL and, indeed, it isn't. But that's like being banned in Boston. It's more of a marketing advantage than a real problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, let's get him off the field. No, you just get his (EXPLETIVE DELETED) back in the game.

COOPER: The computer game is full of graphic violence, of course, literally bone-crushing violence. Lawrence Taylor plays Quentin Sands (ph), a sociopathic linebacker.

TAYLOR: I think I just gave that sucker some whiplash.

COOPER: There's also sex. Did we mention the sex part yet?

TAYLOR: Don't worry, baby. No, no, no, no. I won't hurt you.

COOPER: The point of the game, as if it needed one, is for players to take over downtrodden teams and bring them back to life. One way to do that is to send escorts over to distract the other team. The game carries an M rating, which supposedly means no one under 17 should play.

JACK THOMPSON, ATTY, VIDEOGAME ANALYST: Many parents think that stores won't sell an M-rated game to someone under 17. We know that's not true, and, in fact, kids roughly 50 percent of that time, all the studies show, are able to walk into any store and get any game regardless of the rating, no questions asked.

COOPER: In fairness to "Blitz," the game is not value free. TAYLOR: Win at any cost!

COOPER: Clearly, a motto Lawrence Taylor has taken to heart.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The company that makes the game, Midway, has issued a disclaimer on it, saying that the mature rating is equivalent to an R- rated movie. It warns a lot of people relate videogames to children and teenagers. That's clearly not the case anymore.

That's it from New Orleans. CNN's prime-time coverage continues now with Paula Zahn. Paula?

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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