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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Hurricane Wilma Headed Toward Florida; Daniel Horowitz Interviewed; Arrest Warrent Issued For Tom DeLay; Powerball Jackpot Has Many Excited; Saddam Hussein's Trial Begins; Gastric Bypass Surgery Harmful; Nightlife Returns To New Orleans
Aired October 19, 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.
Live from New Orleans, recovering from Hurricane Katrina, but bracing for Hurricane Wilma, already a killer, a record-breaking monster, and headed for Florida. 360 starts now.
And good evening. Tonight, I'm at the corner of Bel Air and Stafford in the Lakeview section of New Orleans. We've come back to see how the city is recovering. And last night, we were on Bourbon Street, and you might have thought things were back to normal.
We wanted to come to a neighborhood day to show you what it's really like in a lot of these neighborhoods. Take a look, first, at the levee, the 17th Street Canal. That's the part of the levee that broke, that flooded this entire region. Very close to the neighborhoods. You can see where the water just swept through some of these homes, overturning cars.
And still, to this day, this is more than 51 days after Hurricane Katrina hit, this neighborhood is virtually unchanged. It is a ghost town. People cannot live here anymore. There are some insurance adjusters, occasionally people coming back to the neighborhoods. But you see it.
I mean, we were here couple weeks ago. It looked basically exactly the same. We come back, nothing really has changed behind me. I mean, this car -- it looks like the set from "War of the Worlds" or something. But, of course, it is all too real. The suffering is real, and the loss is very real.
We begin, however, tonight with a storm that looks a lot like Katrina and Rita did before it ever came ashore, a frightening similarity, a dangerous Category 5 hurricane churning in the Caribbean right now.
Here's what's happening at this moment. Wilma is now centered about 285 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, moving toward the west- northwest at about seven miles per hour. A slow-moving storm, but a deadly one. It has already brought heavy rains and flooding to Jamaica and other Caribbean countries. At least 10 people have died so far.
In Florida, a familiar drill already under way, people stocking up on supplies, bracing for another possible hit, the sixth in 15 months, if Wilma comes ashore.
Now, it's not certain at all that Florida will take a direct hit. There are several scenarios in play, different computer models coming up with different predictions. The billion-dollar question tonight, the multibillion-dollar question, where will Wilma be 48 hours from now?
CNN's severe weather expert Chad Myers joins us with the latest from Atlanta - Chad.
CHAD MYERS, CNN SEVERE WEATHER EXPERT: Anderson, this storm, for a while, at 4:00 this morning, was the strongest storm ever recorded in modern history, that we've been flying planes through it, since the '50s, the strongest storm ever, the deepest storm ever in the Atlantic basin.
Now, there have been a couple bigger in the Pacific, but the Pacific's a bigger ocean.
Here's the storm right now, 160-mile-per-hour winds, right there in the center of the eye. The hurricane hunter plane just through it. It actually just flew through 171-mile-per-hour wind. That's above the surface. But there's still a lot of wind out there.
From Thursday into Friday and into Saturday, and then the big turn toward Florida. Now, this is the official Hurricane Center forecast. Right now it's a Category 5. Category 5 cuts off at 155 miles per hour.
But we have hurricane models and simulations, if you will. This is one of the in-house simulations that we use. This one's taking it right into a place like a Playa del Carmen, and then taking it and turning it to the right back into Cuba. All the models that you were just talking about this morning were up here in Florida, from Tampa all the way to the keys.
Now some of the latest ones, we're just looking at some of the ones that were just running a few hours ago, have done the same thing. They take it in to very close to Cancun, Cozumel, they stop it, then they turn it to the south and actually move it off to the east, south of Cuba. That would be great news for Florida. It would be terrible news for Cuba, for sure.
But this is what this storm has done so far. The track took it to the south, to the north, back to the south, and then another wiggle today. Another wiggle. And these wiggles basically tell us that there's very little steering in the upper levels. We have to wait for some wind to come in, some jetstream wind, some surface winds. Right now, there are very few winds out there. There's nothing out there to move it.
We have to wait for that. The longer we wait, I guess, the better we are, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, Chad, are there more doubts, or more questions, about where this storm is headed than in on other hurricanes in the past? It seems like that, from what you're saying. But maybe we just know about it earlier, or something.
MYERS: No, this storm has been wobbling like a dying top all day long, and that tells us that there's nothing really to push it in a straight line. Think about if you're riding your bike, and you try to come to a stop, but you don't put the brakes on, you keep going until you're -- you can't go any more, then you're trying to drive with the -- and stay up with the handlebars.
That's kind of what this thing's doing. No forward momentum, no forward pressure.
And right now, we're out of names, man. We are all the way to Wilma. The next thing would be Alpha. We don't even want to think about that.
COOPER: Seven miles an hour, too, that sounds like a very slow- moving storm.
MYERS: It is, it is a very slow-moving storm, and the good news about that, Anderson, is that if this thing sits in one spot long enough, and seven miles per hour is almost sitting, it's going to mix up the water, and the water that's deeper and colder is actually going to get mixed to the top, and that mixing will cool the surface, and hot water is what breeds a hurricane, cold water kills it. That would be a good scenario.
COOPER: Ah, well, let's hope the thing slows to nothing, then, in that case.
MYERS: Yes, absolutely.
COOPER: Chad thanks. We'll check in with you a little bit later. This is a fast-changing situation, even though it's a slow- moving storm. We'll keep abreast of it.
We've seen, to our shock and sorrow, what category 3 and 4 storms can do. I mean, you only have to look around where we are right now. And Wilma, headed for Florida, is a Category 5. No one has to be told to take that seriously, at least I hope not.
CNN national security -- national correspondent Susan Candiotti reports from Punta Gorda, Florida, a place which, you'll all remember, almost nearly knocked flat a year ago by Hurricane Charley, and a place which may now be facing this even stronger storm.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Florida, 2005 has already been a tough hurricane season, starting with a blast from Dennis. Then Katrina made lives miserable before it headed to the Gulf Coast. And Rita blasted the Florida keys.
Flashback to 2004, when four storms ripped through the Sunshine State, Jeanne and Ivan, Frances, and the one that started it all, Charley, a year ago August. It sucker-punched Punta Gorda, hitting farther south than first expected. And more than a year later, FEMA Village is one of its most visible legacies. Nearly 500 trailers remain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nerves that were frazzled before have now frayed and broken. I mean, it's -- you're on your end.
CANDIOTTI: Jerry and Sue Sawyer and their three children lost everything to Charley and remain homeless. With Wilma on the way, they appear shell-shocked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm petrified. I'm panicked. I'm petrified. I don't know what to do. People in this park can't prepare. There's really no way for us to prepare.
CANDIOTTI: FEMA says it's telling residents to find somewhere else to go. There are no shelters in Charlotte County, only bare- bones sites of last resort.
The Sawyers may head south -- yes, south -- to a relative's home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds funny to head into the storm, but at least it's not sitting around in a -- basically a cardboard box.
CANDIOTTI: One thing Sue Sawyer will not leave without, her father's ashes. He died just before Charley.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's going with me. He's going with me.
CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, CNN, Punta Gorda, Florida.
COOPER: Man, if it hits there again, unbelievable.
Turning now to a murder mystery in California, attorney Daniel Horowitz has made his legal reputation in part by defending people accused of murdering their spouses. Well, in a terrible twist of fate, he found his own wife, Pamela Vitale, bludgeoned to death on their property this weekend. They were building their dream home.
Right now, police have no suspects in custody.
CNN's Nancy Grace has had exclusive access to the case. She spent the entire day with Mr. Horowitz at his home. She joins us live from Lafayette, California, with the latest details.
Nancy, I can't imagine going back to the scene of the crime.
NANCY GRACE, HOST, CNN HEADLINE PRIME'S "NANCY GRACE": I got to tell you, Anderson, it was very disturbing. After having processed so many crime scenes as a prosecutor, to see the blood on the door at the entrance hall to the home, to see where cops had taken fingerprints, done luminal tests throughout the home, it was very disturbing, having known Pam Vitale myself.
That's a shot you're showing there of their dream home, Anderson. They were living in a little trailer that they had, you know, attached to the ground -- it looked like a little house -- while they built this dream home, you know, about 30 yards away.
And that is where the homicide took place. And from what I saw today, the crime took place right at the front door, Anderson. And you know, a 6-year-old, as I've said many times, can kick open a trailer door. Daniel told me that they often kept the door unlocked.
She was found still wearing her sleep clothes, underwear, and a shirt, so it had to have happened sometime in the morning hours. But just as you put your first foot in, Anderson, into the home, there was where the blood was, and the blood spatters.
So it looked as if she were answering the door.
COOPER: And now, have police -- I mean, is it closed off, the crime scene, or police, have they finished all the forensic testing, all the crime-scene testing that they need to do?
GRACE: Yes, the crime scene was released today. The crime occurred sometime before 6:00 p.m. on this past Saturday, and today, around noon, they finally released the crime scene back to Daniel Horowitz.
That's an aerial shot you got there, and you can see the trailer off to the side where they were actually living.
And you know, Anderson, they have interviewed already over 100 people, because there were several construction crews working. But I got to tell you, this is such a remote area. It took us forever, I practically had to use Mapquest to get to the top of this mountain. It is very remote. You can look at the trailer and see that just her car is parked there.
And P.S., Anderson, I noticed, as I walked by her vehicle, that it, too, had been dusted with dark powder for fingerprints.
COOPER: Now, there had been some talk about a neighbor, some problems they had been having with the neighbor. I assume, if they talked to 100 people, I assume police have talked to that person. Have they ruled anyone out at this point?
GRACE: They're not saying. They're playing it close to the vest. There've been a lot of leaks, I might add. The neighbor that they're referring to, if you could call it that, Anderson, it's not like where we live in New York, or in my hometown, where you can walk down the street to a neighbor. It's very far away. For instance, you might have a neighbor at the bottom of the mountain, and you're on the top of the mountain. That kind of neighbor, the very...
Anderson, I saw deer running by. I mean, this is out in the middle of nowhere. So the neighbor is far away. This particular neighbor has had problems with them. They sought a restraining order that they did not serve on him. So there have been problems with him in the past.
COOPER: How is Daniel doing?
GRACE: He's doing horribly. I got to tell you, Anderson, he can hardly put two sentences together. He went to his office to try to, I guess, have some normalcy. I think he was actually just picking up photos and fell apart and had to leave. He keeps talking about Pamela in the present tense.
He showed me around their dream home, which, P.S., was two -- three stories with an elevator, Anderson, this dream home. You know, he worked 18 hours a day to help her build the dream home.
He acted like she was still working on it, she was still building it. When I would ask a question, he would act as if Pam's still alive.
COOPER: And I imagine he'll probably never want to move back into that dream home.
Nancy, appreciate you joining us tonight. I know it's been a long day for you. Thank you very much.
Still to come tonight on 360, the former House majority leader, Tom DeLay, has been issued with an arrest warrant. What exactly does that mean? It sounds dramatic. We'll take a look. Is it politics, or is more at play?
Also, tonight's Powerball draw could make one person very, very happy. We'll tell you how much money is at stake, how far people are going to get tickets.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back.
We are live in New Orleans, a very different New Orleans than we were in last night, Bourbon Street. This is the Lakeview section, and it is simply decimated.
We're going to, in a moment, have the latest on Tom DeLay, whether or not he's going to have to pose for a mug shot when he gets arrested.
But first, Christi Paul from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we're following tonight. Christi?
CHRISTI PAUL, HEADLINE NEWS: Hi, Anderson.
A Spanish judge wants three American soldiers arrested and extradited in connection with the death of a Spanish cameraman in Iraq two years ago. Jose Cuzo was killed when a shell hit the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad. The U.S. has admitted that the shell came from the soldiers' tank, but has ruled that the soldiers themselves were not to blame. "New York Times" reporter Judith Miller was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee today about a proposed bill that would allow reporters to protect the identity of their sources. The Justice Department has told the committee that the law doesn't need to be altered. But Miller, who, as you know, was recently jailed for not revealing a source, says a federal shield law is needed.
In Massachusetts, a storm-battered wooden dam is threatening to break near the town of Taunton still. The mayor says the dam has stabilized, but remains critical, and more rain in the forecast certainly could make conditions worse. Thousands of people have been evacuated, and schools and businesses closed.
Also, U2 front man Bono dropped in for lunch with President Bush today. Reducing debt to African nations was on the menu. The White House said the meeting was a follow-up to talks the rock star had with President Bush back in July.
And that's it from Atlanta at this hour. Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: How'd you like to be sitting around the table with President Bush and Bono? Quite a conversation it must have been.
PAUL: As long as I could have a camera there, right?
COOPER: I guess. Thanks, Christi.
An astounding thing happened in Austin, Texas, today, astounding, depending on how you look at it. An arrest warrant was issued for the man who was the House majority leader, until he was indicted, and who is still one of the most powerful men in Washington, Tom DeLay.
It sounds like an astonishing thing.
Joining us now live to help us understand what it all this means and doesn't mean is CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeffrey, on the face of it, it's shocking. What does it really mean?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, in Texas, what usually happens is a -- I'm sorry, my earphone is acting up here a little bit. The -- the Texas -- the...
You know, Anderson, could you come back to me in a minute? I'm having a little feedback problem here.
COOPER: OK. You know what you...
COOPER: He didn't have to -- I mean, he didn't have to be arrested. TOOBIN: Right. In the -- in most cases, in most white-collar crime cases in Texas, they dispense with the arrest warrant. They arrange a surrender. But the animus between Ronnie Earle, the prosecutor in Austin, and Tom DeLay is such that there was no deal. So Ronnie Earle, again, being no dummy, he knows what the news of an arrest warrant for one of the most prominent politicians in the country would be.
So he went ahead with the arrest warrant, and I think that's an indication of the ferocity of this battle to come.
COOPER: Because Ronnie Earle was saying, Well, look, this is just part of the procedure, this is what we have to do. You're saying oftentimes kind of deals are made. I mean, is Tom DeLay going to get a mug shot? Is he going to get fingerprinted?
TOOBIN: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. He'll get a mug shot and fingerprinted, probably Friday. His initial appearance is on Friday. He will go before a judge and plead not guilty and beginning the legal proceedings against him. But he will certainly have a mug shot. He will certainly get fingerprinted, because everyone who is charged with a crime is treated that way. It may -- they may do it privately, so it will not be a big perp walk. That's being negotiated now.
But certainly, he will get a mug shot taken.
COOPER: Now, of course, Tom DeLay has said this is all about politics, that's what's at the core of it, that's what his attorney says as well. And he's now filed a subpoena against Ronnie Earle. Could that stop this procedure from happening?
TOOBIN: It couldn't stop the procedure from happening, but I think it's part of the reason that Ronnie Earle didn't cut him any break in terms of the arrest warrant, because, you know, Tom DeLay has decided the best defense is a good offense. He's claiming prosecutorial misconduct. He subpoenaed Ronnie Earle.
There are going to be pretrial proceedings aimed at determining whether there was prosecutorial misconduct. So he's going to try to put the prosecutor on trial. That's what the subpoena was for. But at this point, with an indictment, there's no way he can avoid getting fingerprinted, arraigned, and booked on Friday.
COOPER: On Friday, we'll be there. We'll be watching. Thanks very much, Jeffrey.
Still to come tonight on 360, nature pulls out all the stops. Hurricane Wilma is off the scale, and on the way. The question is, where and when?
Also tonight, the trial of Saddam Hussein is postponed on the same day it began. Is justice delayed justice denied?
And a little later, New Orleans after dark. The Big Easy, strutting its stuff again. And, oh, how it struts.
COOPER: It is amazing that the destruction that still exists here in the Lakeview section of New Orleans, one of the many parts of New Orleans which simply -- people talk about rebuilding and reviving. This is a place which has not rebuilt and has not revived, and there's no telling when or if that's going to happen.
Across the country, people are dreaming of winning a record $340 million Powerball jackpot. Even here in Louisiana, it is a big event. Even with high gasoline prices, people from non-Powerball states are driving across state lines to pick up a ticket or 10 tickets, as the case may be. Some of the people looking for a little luck are in New Orleans, where they haven't had a lot of luck lately.
Here's CNN's Ed Lavandera.
VALERIE RYAN, POWERBALL PLAYER: There's a bunch of families together. And when you've got that many people together, you've got everybody to lean on and...
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Valerie Ryan spends a lot of time these days making supply runs for friends left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. But before going home today, Ryan made what she hopes will be a multimillion-dollar pit stop.
RYAN: I'll help everybody out if I win something.
LAVANDERA: She bought two chances to win the $340 million Powerball jackpot.
RYAN: Because I don't play that often. But, I don't know, I woke up this morning, and I saw what it was worth. And, you know, it was up in the millions. And I said, Let me try a chance and see if I can win. And I can help some less-fortunate families out.
LAVANDERA: Four of those families are now staying in Billy and Valerie Ryan's home, their garage converted into a living space. That's where Greta Joseph and her husband, parents, and brother all live right now.
RYAN: Greta, it all starts with this, baby.
LAVANDERA: You'll have to excuse Greta if she doesn't seem that excited about the chance of winning a huge jackpot.
RYAN: Now, you hold it, kiss the ticket for good luck. Everybody did.
LAVANDERA: It's hard to feel lucky after Hurricane Katrina gets done with you.
GRETA JOSEPH, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: It'll be nice if we win, but, I mean, I already felt like we won the lottery. You know, I mean, because we have our family and friends. So I wouldn't be disappointed, you know, but it would be nice.
LAVANDERA: If this is the winning ticket, it would be nice for everyone here.
BILLY RYAN, POWERBALL PLAYER: Now is the time, in all of this tragedy, to try and help each other. If we can't help each other now, with all of this tragedy, we'll never help each other. I'm sure they would do the same thing for me.
LAVANDERA: These families are holding onto a little slice of hope that they'll become jackpot millionaires. It's a long shot. But with all their incredible bad luck, who's to say incredible good luck might not be right in the palm of their hands?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope we win.
RYAN: And look how much.
LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, New Orleans.
COOPER: On Bourbon Street last night we kept talking about how much things have changed.
Here in Lakeview, as those shots just show you and as the picture of this house shows you right now, very little has changed here in the several weeks that we've been away. The houses still remain as they are, and as darkness falls, there's no electricity. There are no people around. It is a very eerie sight.
In 24 hours, Wilma grew from a tropical storm, I should say, into the most intense hurricane ever recorded -- ever recorded -- in history in the Atlantic. The storm has lost some of its power but not that much of its power. At this moment, Category 5.
Wilma is roughly 280 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, heading west-northwest toward the Yucatan Peninsula.
Now, Wilma is already producing rough seas, heavy rains across the Caribbean. Cayman Islands taking a beating today, at least 10 people are dead.
In Florida, they are hoping to be spared, but not counting on it. Hurricane preparations already under way there. This storm could just take a turn, head right for Florida. Some forecasts showing Wilma coming ashore there this weekend.
Has nature saved the worst for last?
Of course, Hurricane Wilma may not be the last storm of the season, but it is stacking up to be the worst of a very bad bunch. Category 5 now, 175 mile-per-hour winds. That's extraordinary. The lowest pressures ever recorded over the Atlantic. CNN's severe weather expert Chad Myers paints a portrait of a very alarming development coming on the heels of an awful year.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Hurricanes are certainly a common occurrence in Florida -- common but not easy to deal with.
The state has been battered with five hurricanes since August of 2004, causing more than $20 billion in damage. Charley started off the 2004 season, pounding the west coast city of Punta Gorda on August 13th. Although this category four hurricane was small in size, its 145 mile-per-hour winds caused nine deaths and serious damage right across the state.
Less than a month later, Frances hit the other coast, north of West Palm Beach. The category two storm knocked out power to more than 1.1 million homes and businesses, uprooted trees and flooded streets.
And although powerful Ivan technically made landfall in Alabama, the right side of the eye wall did hit the Florida panhandle on September 16th, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
For Floridians, it seemed like the 2004 season would never end, but finally category three Jeanne. It landed just a couple of miles from where Frances struck just three weeks earlier. People again were without electricity, many for the third time in a month.
In desperate need of a reprieve, Florida was hoping for a better 2005 season, but it wasn't going to happen that way. Category three Dennis barged its way on land July 10th. Its winds topped off at 120 miles-per-hour, leaving a quarter million people without power.
And no one needs to be reminded of Katrina, which struck just north of Miami as a category one on August 25th. Although it was not yet the beast that ravaged New Orleans, it knocked out power to 1.2 million residents and left nine dead.
MYERS: And now here we go again. This, the strongest storm ever recorded.
And as Anderson said, stronger than Camille, stronger than Andrew, stronger than Rita, Katrina, all the other storms you've ever heard of in the Atlantic Basin -- this one now tops it.
Those pressures were stronger and the pressures were lower and deeper than any other storm.
So how did they know that?
Here's kind of a simulation of the storm itself. They cut down here through the middle. The planes fly through the eye. Then they take something called the drop zone (ph), just like this, and they drop it right down through the eye and as it gets down to the surface it measures the pressure. And that's how they know.
That's how they knew this was the strongest storm ever recorded -- Anderson.
COOPER: And already a killer storm. At least 10 people are dead that we know about.
Chad, we'll continue to track it with you throughout the evening.
Bill Barnett is the mayor of Naples, Florida, a worried mayor tonight no doubt about it. The last thing his state needs is another hurricane. It is a distinct possibility.
He joins me now. Thanks very much for being with us.
What are you telling Naples residents? Are you telling them to evacuate yet?
BILL BARNETT, MAYOR OF NAPLES, FLORIDA: Well, Anderson, no, we're not doing that because I wouldn't know where to tell them to evacuate to.
We, like so many others, are in the watch mode, and hopefully by tomorrow we're going to know what direction, or certainly Friday we're going to know what direction the storm is going in.
You know, I just -- I'm a little apprehensive, as you said, and we're just going to wait and see.
But we are making preparations, no doubt about it.
I mean, is there something that you learn from watching what happened here in Hurricane Katrina or in Texas with Hurricane Rita that informs the decisions you're making now?
I think more for the residents than for us. You know, Floridians, as has been presented, are used to hurricanes, but a lot of them never took them seriously.
I think after what we saw with certainly Charley last year, which missed us by 12 miles, and then you have Katrina and the damage that it did, I think they're taking it very seriously. And I think that if we have to give an evacuation order, they are definitely going to heed that. There's no two ways about it.
I think that anybody -- any of our winter residents that were on their way down here, the best thing they could do would be to put their brakes on, pull a U-turn and head back where they came from. I would hate to think of them coming into Florida now.
Well, Mayor, I hope the storm passes you by. I hope we don't have to speak again under these circumstances.
And I wish you luck for you and the people in Naples. Thanks very much for being with us.
BARNETT: Thank you so much.
And thanks for your coverage.
COOPER: Well, no question this state will need a lot of money to rebuild. We're talking about Louisiana, of course. There are questions about where the money really needs to be spent.
We had a chance earlier this evening to talk with Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu about the proposal her state is floating in Washington to get help from the federal government. It is a very large request, $250 billion -- that's in addition to the $60 billion already requested by Washington. And it has, it seemed to us, some surprising things in it. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (on camera): Two of the items in the $250 billion proposal -- $35 million for the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, $25 million for a sugar cane research laboratory that apparently wasn't even finished before Hurricane Katrina came ashore.
Are those pork projects?
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Anderson, if you want to focus on those one or two projects and miss the story, you go on ahead. That's your decision as a journalist.
But I'm telling you that the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama that make up the energy coast of this country need help from this United States government. We are American taxpayers, black and white, rich and poor. We should not be standing in line behind foreign governments and the people of Iraq; we should be first in line to get help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You can see more of my conversation with Senator Landrieu later on this evening on "NEWSNIGHT" at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
Coming up tonight on 360, the butcher of Baghdad appears in court, scuffles with guards, and gets a postponement. Will Saddam Hussein get a fair trial? And what exactly would that entail?
We'll take a look.
And a little later, there are places where you hate to see the sun -- or you hate to see the evening sun go down, I should say. Bourbon Street on New Orleans right now is not one of them. Big Easy slowly coming alive after dark.
We'll have that story and more from New Orleans ahead.
COOPER: People all around the world watched a courtroom drama in Baghdad today, Saddam Hussein on trial. He faces the death penalty if convicted of the 1982 executions of 148 citizens in the town of Dujail. In court, Hussein insisted he was still president of Iraq. He remained defiant. He said he was innocent. CNN's Christiane Amanpour watched. I spoke with her earlier.
COOPER: Christiane, what was it like being in that room separated by that glass from him?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a little different than the first time I saw him. I thought this time he looked much tireder, older, more demoralized. He was defiant, but he was moving slower and he was quite shuffling, but still keeps claiming that he's still the president of Iraq.
COOPER: That first time when you were in the courtroom for that hearing, what, he seemed more energetic, more in command?
AMANPOUR: I thought he just seemed less old. This time he looked really very old. But he sort of played the same tactic. And that is his defense will basically rest on the following, that nothing that's happened since the American invasion of Iraq is legal. He calls the invasion illegal, therefore this court which has been built up since is illegal, the jurisdiction of it is illegal.
He told the judge he didn't recognize it. He wasn't rude to the judge, but he said, look, I am not guilty, I'm innocent. All of these charges are lies, and by the way I don't recognize this court.
COOPER: And what happens next? I mean, what happens tomorrow, the day after that?
AMANPOUR: Well, the judge adjourned the proceedings at the request of Saddam's lawyer, who said that they simply didn't have enough time to get all the documents read, to get all the witnesses together, also saying that the defense lawyers are simply inexperienced in this kind of incredibly important, difficult trial of such a sensitive and special client, if you like, being a former leader. So they really want more time, and they've been given till November 28th, although they say it's still not enough time.
COOPER: And how much access do they have to Saddam Hussein?
AMANPOUR: The lawyer who I talked to last night said that he had seen him just before the court date, but previous to that only about half a dozen times. COOPER: When he entered that room, or when people got a first glimpse of him, was there an electricity in the air?
AMANPOUR: Yes, there was. Anytime you see a dictator stripped of all the trappings of power, stripped of that cult of personality, stripped really of what I call the mystique of fear, there is a sense of, you know, a profound sort of psychological effect it has on people who are watching, most particularly the Iraqis, who are also sitting in the press gallery.
You know, here they were seeing this man who had terrorized them for so long essentially stripped bare in judicial terms and facing a judge and having to answer for crimes.
COOPER: A truly remarkable sight, especially for them it must have been. Christiane Amanpour, thanks.
COOPER: Yes, to see Saddam Hussein in court, amazing.
Earlier in the evening we spoke to CNN's Nancy Grace. She had exclusive access to Daniel Horowitz, the attorney whose wife was found bludgeoned to death on their property where they were building their dream house on Saturday.
Nancy will have more on that on her program at the top of the hour, 8:00, on Headline News. Christi Paul from Headline News joins with us some of the day's other top stories right now. Hey, Christi.
COOPER: I put all my money in gummy bears years ago, Christi ...
PAUL: Yes, me neither.
COOPER: Yes, all right. Coming up a drastic form of weight reduction, the last resort -- or I should say the last resort for many to lose weight. Gastric bypass is what we're talking about. But we're just learning today it's more dangerous than previously thought.
Also tonight, as the saying goes, where there's life there's hope, and in the case of New Orleans perhaps it should be where there's nightlife there's hope. Take a look at how the Big Easy is getting its groove back. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back. We're live in the Lakeview section of New Orleans, an area that's dried out. The water has gone, but the destruction and the devastation remains.
Talking about some medical treatments right now. The breast cancer drug Herceptin is back in the news. CNN reported on this remarkable advance several months ago when early study results first came out. Today those studies were published in full in the "New England Journal of Medicine."
They showed the drug when taken by women with an aggressive form of early breast cancer, reduces the risk of recurrence by half. This is a very big deal because until these studies were done, Herceptin had only been used to treat advanced breast cancer, not early stage cancer.
Not all the medical news today was good. This year more than 150,000 obese people, many of them severely obese, will have their stomachs stapled, an extreme measure to be sure. It's major surgery with serious repercussions and now new research shows those risks are higher than anyone previously thought. Here's CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We've seen them on television. Roseanne Barr, Al Roker -- they shrunk before our very eyes. Their secret? Gastric bypass surgery. But is the outcome really this rosy for everyone? Not according to a new set of studies from the "Journal of the American Medical Association."
One study showed that, for every 100 people who had gastric bypass surgery, two died in the first month after surgery and nearly five out of 100 died in the first year.
The researchers say these numbers were higher than expected and important given the huge numbers of people having this procedure. In 2005, there were nearly 10 times as many weight loss operations than in 1998.
In the procedure, surgeons staple the stomach. This makes it smaller, so patients are forced to eat less. Patients are supposed to be healthier after this operation, but researchers found that they were actually twice as likely to end up in the hospital in the year after surgery, compared to the year before.
Debbie Jones knows about these dangers. Gastric bypass surgery almost killed her.
DEBBIE JONES, FMR. GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY PATIENT: I was in ICU for 45 days. Of that 45 days, I was on a ventilator for 33 days.
DUANE JONES, DEBBIE'S HUSBAND: There were times I walked into the room where she was just gasping for breath.
COHEN: What happened? The contents of her stomach leaked, causing infections, pneumonia, and heart problems. But still, Debbie says she'd have the surgery all over again.
She weighed 360 pounds before the surgery and had diabetes and high blood pressure. At 215 pounds, Debbie's a lot healthier. Doctors say that for many others like her surgery really is the only option but that surgeons need to work harder to make the procedure safer for the patient. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: A difficult choice just got a lot more difficult.
Let's find out what's coming up at the top of the hour on "PAULA ZAHN NOW."
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Anderson, thanks so much. Coming up at the top of the hour -- and that's just about nine minutes from now: chilling pictures of a violent new sport. At least that's what they call it. It happens to be officially known as cage fighting and it's way beyond even the most brutal boxing match.
Here's how it works. Two men step inside a cage. They go at each other, punching, kicking, choking -- almost no rules at all, all of this in front of a rowdy crowd, fueled by alcohol.
Well, critics of it say it is a recipe for disaster, possibly death.
All that and more coming up just about eight minutes from now. Anderson?
COOPER: All right, Paula. Thanks very much.
Coming up later, though, on 360, you can almost hear the size of relief. A famous symbol of New Orleans is open again and comfort food is on the menu, comfort very much needed in the weeks after Katrina.
We'll tell you all about it when we return.
COOPER: This is the side of New Orleans you often don't see. We're in the Lakeview section. And really little has changed here since the flood waters receded. We were in this neighborhood a couple weeks ago. And it's basically exactly the same.
I mean, you see stuff like this just about -- I mean, there are several cars in every block that have just been completely destroyed. This VW and just rubble is all around. Here's an old Coke bottle. Everything is covered in this coat of sort of a combination of mud and dust.
These are actually drinking water cans. Anheuser-Busch donated -- I guess they filled cans up with water and would give it out to people for free. And this you also see a lot here in the rubble -- Mardi Gras beads, a sign of happier times here in New Orleans.
You also see Mardi Gras beads have returned to Bourbon Street, which is probably the most tangible sign of some life returning to New Orleans. Here's some of what it looks like on any given night now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's amazing. There's a lot of people here, a lot more than I expected.
COOPER (voice over): Bourbon street is open for business. The revelers are back. So is the booze -- a small start to a tourist trade that last year brought in some $5 billion to Louisiana.
SHAWN FLOSS, TOURIST: This is New Orleans, the spirit, the culture, the music. This is the economic engine. Let's not kid ourselves. The tourism is the number one attraction for this city.
COOPER: There's lap dancing and disco, rock, jazz, and, of course, the blues.
For a few bucks, you can buy mango daiquiris and those now infamous hurricane drinks. The disaster has turned into a small business. T-shirt shops are everywhere, Katrina shirts for sale or, for the more cynical, FEMA.
The Bourbon Street revelers aren't here for tourism, however. They're here as part of the recovery effort. These men are members of the Washington State National Guard.
UNIDENTIFIED NATIONAL GUARDSMAN: We're trying to help out as much as we can. That's what we came down for. We all volunteered. We're all volunteers.
COOPER: These men are helping clean up Tulane University.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're doing Tulane University. It's going to be done on deadline. And it's going to be done, properly and correct.
COOPER: They may be in New Orleans for work, but on Bourbon Street, the interests are far more basic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got (inaudible), you've got beer, and you've got politics.
COOPER: The curfew has now been extended to 2:00 a.m., but local business owners know full recovery is a long way off.
ANTHONY D'ARENSBOURG, BUSINESSMAN; I'm hoping in about six months, we'll see some changes for the better. It's going to take a while for everything to happen in this city. Nothing's going to happen overnight.
COOPER: Every night, however, Bourbon Street gets a little bit more crowded. The drinks get bigger. The music grows louder. The city is slowly, slowly rebuilding. The good times are just starting to roll.
Here in Lakeview, of course, the good times seem very far away. Say whatever you like about New Orleans -- and just about everything has been said, admiring and otherwise -- this is a place that knows how to offer some comfort in all its forms, some of them better left undiscussed, perhaps in polite society.
But two of them can be discussed and have been now for a century and a half. And as of today, those comforts are back. This is the Cafe du Monde, the heart of the French market, where people have been sitting down to New Orleans-style coffee -- that's coffee laced with chicory -- and beignets since 1862.
Cafe du Monde reopened today for the first time since the 27th of August when Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on this city.
So what are beignets? Well, technically, they're lightly fried donuts covered with powdered sugar. But the description doesn't really do them justice. They're constantly made fresh and so always served warm. They leave your fingers dusted with white and your mood much improved.
I can tell you I had breakfast there this morning and it's actually all I had to eat all day long and it was well worth it, quite an extraordinary breakfast, especially given all that New Orleans has suffered. It was nice to see Cafe du Monde up and running again.
Of course, the scene here in Lakeview a very different scene, indeed.
Tonight on "NEWSNIGHT" from 10:00 to midnight, Aaron Brown and I will be hosting a special two-hour edition of "NEWSNIGHT." I'll have more of my conversation with Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu.
We'll also be talking to Robert Davis, the man who was beaten by New Orleans police officers. They say he was the cause. They say he was the culprit in all this. He, of course, says he did nothing wrong and that they simply acted -- overreacted and acted wildly inappropriately. We'll hear more from Robert Davis about the latest developments in the case.
I'm Anderson Cooper. CNN's primetime coverage continues right now right now with Paula Zahn. Hi, Paula.
ZAHN: Thanks, Anderson.
Hi, everyone. Glad you could join us tonight. I can hardly believe it myself, but here we go again. Tonight, millions of Americans scrambling to avoid another natural disaster.
(voice over): The approaching storm: in a season of terrible destruction, Wilma is the most powerful yet. Is it on a collision course with catastrophe?
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