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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

American Heroes Rebuilding the Gulf

Aired July 7, 2006 - 23:00   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 from New Orleans. Tonight, a special 360, "American Heroes Rebuilding the Gulf," the people making a difference every day, people like country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
ANNOUNCER: A 360 exclusive -- Faith Hill and Tim McGraw touring New Orleans' Ninth Ward. The country music superstars give a concert and give back to the Gulf.

Abandoned animals -- a Mississippi man won't let them suffer after the storm. How he's transformed his life to help them.

Plus, helping rebuild lives by tearing down the damage, a student who came for a month and is still here making a huge difference.

And on the money trail -- when the hurricane hit, Americans opened their wallets, giving billions, but what exactly did all that money pay for? We're keeping them honest.

This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "American Heroes Rebuilding the Gulf." From the CNN Gulf Coast Bureau, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Music is part of life here in New Orleans. So is the spirit of the people. Tonight both come together. In an extraordinary hour of inspiration, Country stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill tell us how they're trying to bring this city and the Gulf back to life, doing it with their songs and hair hearts. Tonight I'll have their exclusive interview.

But it's not just the famous who are reaching out. People from all walks of life. Tens of thousands of people are committed to helping.

Tonight you'll meet some of these men and women and students and hear their stories. We're calling tonight's special "American Heroes Rebuilding the Gulf."

We begin with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and the very personal mission that brought them here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

COOPER (voice-over): When Faith Hill released her single, "Mississippi Girl" last August... (MUSIC)

COOPER: The Mississippi native and her rock star husband, Tim McGraw, couldn't have known how meaningful the song would become, as so many from her home state. Just weeks later, Hill and Louisiana Native McGraw watched Katrina's fury unravel on the states they love.

TIM MCGRAW, COUNTRY WESTERN SUPERSTAR: Faith and I saw it coming on TV. We knew it was going to be bad, like everybody else did. And this, it really hits you.

COOPER: They watched in shock as the images emerged from New Orleans and the Coast, people begging for help from the rooftops, swimming through murky waters, searching for safety, homes washed away, neighborhoods underwater.

September 1st, three days after the storm, the two were raising money and attention.

MCGRAW: If anybody feels like there's nothing they can do, money is the thing that helps more than anything. There's a lot of people down there who are in a lot of trouble.

COOPER: The next night as the first relief convoys arrived in New Orleans, both participated in a concert-for-hurricane relief, the first of many fundraising events they participated in.

MCGRAW: I know that they're going to stand up, and the citizens that weren't affected by this directly are going to stand up and really do good things for people.

COOPER: Hill appeared had days later in Gulfport, Mississippi. Her tour bus filled with relief supplies. McGraw visited St. Bernard Parish in November, announcing a fundraising partnership with amazon.com.

MCGRAW: People still need help here. And I think that a lot of people want to try to brush it under the rug and let everybody think everything's all right, but everything ain't all right.

COOPER: As much of the nation moved on, McGraw and Hill did not. By March the pair was angry at the lack of progress.

MCGRAW: When you have people dying because they're poor and because their black or poor and white or because they're whatever they are -- if that's a number on a political scale, then that is the most wrong thing. That erases everything that's great about our country is to let something like that happen.

COOPER: Today Hill and McGraw want to show what makes this country great, a commitment to neighbors. Tonight's concert is their first major fundraiser for the Neighbors Keeper foundation. Their plan, to give everyone who comes a few hours to just enjoy. Their promise this Mississippi girl and her Louisiana man are here to stay and here to help.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: While they were in New Orleans, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill walked through the Lower Ninth Ward. Even now, much of it still in ruins. I went along with them for this exclusive interview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCGRAW: This was all underwater. When I first came down, we couldn't come here because it was completely...

FAITH HILL, COUNTRY WESTERN SUPERSTAR: It was completely flooded.

MCGRAW: Completely flooded.

COOPER: It's been 10 months since Tim McGraw first visited storm ravaged New Orleans. And today in the Lower Ninth Ward what surprised him and his wife, Faith Hill, the most is how little things have changed.

HILL: Wow, look at that.

MCGRAW: Car seat.

MCGRAW: Sometimes you just don't know what to say when you see this kind of stuff.

COOPER: It was a homecoming of sorts. Tim was born in Start, Louisiana; Faith in Star, Mississippi. They visited the region several times since Katrina struck and remain haunted by what they've seen.

MCGRAW: It was like the people -- the look in people's eyes was the thing I remember the most. When they would get o off of a boat or something and they would come in and you'd just see this expression on these people's faces that they're just completely lost, helpless.

And that was the scariest thing was to see grown people who had been sitting for, you know, 10 days on a rooftop to come in somewhere and to have this look on their face that it -- it's like, you know, like you'd see in pictures of war.

COOPER: The signs of destruction are still everywhere in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward.

HILL: Where you feel the life, you feel like this was a, I mean, this was active street. You see the cars, the places that have children. You know there were children riding bikes and running around. You feel that there was life here. And to see the devastation is just...

MCGRAW: Well, it makes you, you know, you always -- it is heart wrenching. You know, you always, when you're riding through neighborhoods or something, you think what that family's lives are like, you know, when you drive by a neighborhood or you see somebody sitting on their front porch. You know, I wonder what their life is like, what do they do, what they're going to have for supper tonight.

You can imagine the night before this hit or two nights before this hit, what they were thinking. Who had good lives and who were doing great things. Who had bad lives and things weren't going right and how this altered either one of those.

COOPER: Faith and Tim made headlines months ago when they publicly criticized the pace of recovery efforts. Their frustration is still evident.

MCGRAW: And being critical on an emotional level is a lot different than being critical on the you know what to do level. We don't know what to do. We don't know how to make a plan to do this stuff. Our criticism -- and it's not really criticism. It's -- it comes from an emotional level, it comes from a level of being frustrated about what you see.

And it's not like saying, you know, you could do this or you could do this. I don't know what to tell anybody to do. All I know is I wish that things could move faster. I wish these people could get their lives together quicker.

COOPER: Does it still frustrate you? I mean, coming down here and seeing this.

MCGRAW: Absolutely it frustrates you. I mean, like she said, you just start thinking about people's lives.

HILL: Well, when you talk about the children, too. I mean, it's -- children are resilient. They're the most resilient, much more than adults are. But truthfully, I mean, this is the whole lifetime for them, you know, a summer, two summers, two school years. We have daughters 9, 7 and 4. It's a very crucial time of their lives. They're developing.

MCGRAW: Routine and stability.

HILL: Experience. And the frustration is not -- yes, it's frustrating, it's heart wrenching to walk this street and see that these -- it looks exactly the same as it did four months ago. Nothing's changed. There's a few things happening. But you can understand the -- why some things were not moving faster in certain areas.

But I think the most frustrating part is when there's so much red tape that has to be crossed before things get done, but yet there's millions of dollars that we know for a fact exists because we all know we sent it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Every day, there are signs of rebirth here in New Orleans, and those signs are encouraging. They can also be misleading. For many, life in this city continues to be lived in limbo and in despair.

CNN's Sean Callebs has a reality check.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tourists are slowly coming back to New Orleans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, a blast. I'm having a wonderful time.

CALLEBS: The calendar says next month will mark the one-year anniversary of Katrina. But much of the landscape looks like it was just hit. Entire communities, tens of thousands of homes are still vacant. And the city has no real plan on how to get people back in them.

People like Jackie Adams, who's trying to live in a home still under repair.

JACKIE ADAMS, NEW ORLEANS HOMEOWNER: I'm nervous because I feel like I'm living in a ghost town. I feel like I'm surrounded by houses that are empty. Some that no neighbors have even come home to even gut their homes.

CALLEBS: Her home flooded. Adams lived in five different places this year, while paying mortgage for a house that wasn't livable.

ADAMS: And then we discovered that there was some mold even up here behind the cabinets.

CALLEBS: She refuses to buy new furniture. Still haunted by the storm and afraid that levees which prove porous will again fail.

ADAMS: I want to just have the, you know, bare minimum and live with that until I feel more comfortable that I'm going to be able to live without the fear of another flood. And then there's other days when you ask yourself, you know, why am I still here, what am I doing.

CALLEBS: The stress has sparked an increase in anxiety and even depression and suicide.

DR. KEVIN JORDAN, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, TOURO HOSPITAL: We have a crisis of epidemic proportion.

CALLEBS: Touro, the one hospital open in Orleans Parish is completely overwhelmed.

JORDAN: Folks will wait in hospitals for days unfortunately, to be transferred to the far reaches of the state. And in many cases to Texas or Mississippi to get the inpatient psychiatric care that they need.

CALLEBS: Folks also wait for hours in Touro's emergency room. The overflow there is matched by an overflow in violent crime. Five killings in one weekend prompted the governor to call for hundreds of National Guard troops, some of them just back from Baghdad.

The French Quarter is still an intoxicating enticement. But much of the city still suffers Katrina's lingering effects.

ADAMS: Until you actually see it or you live through it, you really have no idea.

CALLEBS: And for many people here, no idea when New Orleans will feel like home again.

Sean Callebs, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The reality is never far from view. Coming up, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw see the problems and the progress firsthand with us in the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish.

Also, we'll take you to the Mississippi town of Pass Christian, home of the Lady Pirates, a girls basketball team now getting help from donors all across the country, repaying them with victory on the hardwood.

And a little boy fighting leukemia, slim hope and no home for him or his family. Then a miracle. See how it happened, how people like you helped out, ahead on this special edition of 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

COOPER: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, performing in New Orleans, a special concert for the victims of the Hurricane Katrina, part of their Soul to Soul II tour.

McGraw visited hard hit St. Bernard Parish soon after Katrina struck and damaged countless homes there beyond repair. We went back to St. Bernard Parish and to the Lower Ninth Ward with the country music superstars to see how much and how little has changed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCGRAW: When I first came down, and we went to -- we drove through the city as best we could.

COOPER: Tim McGraw, remembering his first visit to New Orleans just days after Hurricane Katrina struck.

Does it surprise you that it's all kind of still out here?

MCGRAW: You know what? It does. Like I said, when I came down right after the hurricane and I came down around Christmas time again. And it -- it's still the same. Still mud. There's still -- I'm really interested to see what St. Bernard Parish looks like, if it's still like it was at Christmas when I came back.

COOPER: Walk around the devastated Lower Ninth Ward as Faith Hill and Tim McGraw did today, and it's hard not to be shocked, shocked by the scope of destruction, shocked by the lack of progress cleaning it up.

MCGRAW: But there's got to be a plan. I mean, that's the main thing. And you can't really push the play button until there's a plan to do it. And I think it was you that said that, just hoping that and a plan.

COOPER: It does seem like Mississippi is almost further along, you know, at least with a plan.

HILL: Right.

COOPER: You go to Waveland, Mississippi, and their Mayor Tommy Longo, you know, has the plan on paper. You can see it.

HILL: Yes. You got to have steps to get to -- you've got to have a beginning and you've got to have an end, for people to follow. There's too many people that has been affected. And there is definitely more progress being made in Mississippi. I think in this -- it's just more difficult in Louisiana for some reason. I'm not sure why. It's just -- it's been very, very difficult.

COOPER (voice-over): Tim worked on his last visit here, helping out in nearby St. Bernard Parish, another devastated section of the city.

Today, the couple took a trip back there, visiting some of those displaced by the storm, firefighters living in FEMA trailers.

MCGRAW: Oh, my boy is going to be jealous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much. I won't wash that cheek or this side of my body for the rest of my life.

MCGRAW: What can you foresee with how long it's going to take to get anything -- not even to normal. That's just -- that would be a silly question to ask, how long before it gets back to normal because that's obvious. That's going to be a long, long time, but to where there's just some semblance of a regular life?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a couple of years, two, three years. Homestead, Florida, we think about 10 years it took for them to rebuild their community. I kept telling the guys, don't worry, in six months, we'll be OK. There will be a big building boom. And it hasn't happened yet.

COOPER (on camera): Do you feel sometimes forgotten? Especially St. Bernard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't know we're totally forgotten, but you know how it is when you sit there and you watch the news on television and then you turn it off and you're back to your normal life. And it doesn't affect you.

MCGRAW: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we've always dealt with people going through tragedy with fires and they lose all of their belongings and it's terrible. And I think now we'll have a new respect for those people because after losing everything that we own, you know, you have to have a lot more compassion for them.

COOPER (voice-over): In St. Bernard Parish the country singers saw for themselves how some of Katrina's victims are now living.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're faced with right now is they've given us these camper trailers that we're in, for a weekend. OK, and we're forced to move what little possessions we had here and we're forced to move our wife, our three children, some of them elderly parent, have to come in here. We've got people that were living in these with six people in it.

HILL: This size?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This size.

COOPER (on camera): Do you guys think about what it would be like if you were living there? How do you think you would respond?

MCGRAW: Oh, she would kill me.

COOPER: You couldn't live in a space this big?

HILL: You know what, it would be tough.

MCGRAW: It would be very tough.

HILL: We live on a bus when we're on tour, but it's not -- it's nothing like this. You know, it's a different kind of lifestyle. But it would be very, very difficult with a family. This is -- you know, this is a small trailer. Basically one room. The only other separate room is the toilet. That's the only way you can close yourself off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's about it. That's about it. Or that little drape that you can actually close in.

HILL: It would be tough.

Hi.

COOPER (voice-over): Before they left, the country superstars handed out free tickets to their benefit concert and signed autographs. A few moments of happiness and a place where that is in very short supply.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says the city and private sector have agreed at long last on guidelines for creating a master rebuilding plan for New Orleans. They say you should think of it as a blue print for a blue print. To many here, it's long overdue and still confusing.

CNN's Randi Kaye is keeping them honest. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Reed is braving New Orleans' summer heat and rebuilding his mother's home in the Lower Ninth Ward.

MICHAEL REED, REBUILDING MOTHER'S HOME: We can't wait on these people to do anything for us.

KAYE: Like many here, Michael is fed up with waiting for government help.

REED: I don't see anything that's actually happening right now.

KAYE: Nearly 10 months after Katrina, and New Orleans in many ways still seems caught in a quagmire of red tape and rubble. For starters, there are only about 220,000 residents living in a city that used to be twice that size. And more than a third of local businesses remain closed.

Mounds of debris and rotting houses still litter the city, making for a serious fire hazard, not to mention eyesore.

And the city only just announced its rebuilding plan today. Critics have blamed foot dragging on Mayor Nagin's part for the slow recovery process. Last week he lashed back.

RAY NAGIN, MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: I don't know where this came from, but there seems to be this incredible perception that we have done no planning.

KAYE: Rob Couhig, who heads one of the mayor's rebuilding initiatives, is quick to point out the slow recovery is more about Mother Nature than politics.

ROB COUHIG, HEADS ONE OF MAYOR'S REBUILDING INITIATIVES: We're dealing with a collapse of a city of a magnitude never before seen in the United States and we're trying to get it done.

KAYE: Still, amid the mess are small signs of progress.

The National Guard is fighting crime, volunteers are standing by to rebuild abandoned homes. And according to Mayor Nagin, the city has issued 70,000 building permits, suggesting many homes will be rebuilt.

But City Councilman Oliver Thomas says more should have been done by now, especially in terms of housing.

OLIVER THOMAS, CITY COUNCILMAN: If there are leaders who believe that certain communities are not viable, say that. Don't let these communities or these people waste their time talking about rebuilding or coming back home. That would be extremely unfair.

KAYE: Unfair to people like Michael Reed, who says he's learned he can't count on anyone, but himself. REED: It felt like we were kind of abandoned really, you know. And so we have to move on.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Coming up on this special edition of 360, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, how they are trying to help rebuild the Gulf.

Also tonight, who's keeping track of where the money went. Not tax dollars but the billions of dollars donated to charities by you. You'll be amazed at how fast the money goes, when 360 continues from New Orleans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, I'm Gary Tuchman. More from the Gulf in a moment.

First, though the news and business headlines.

Federal authorities today saying they broke up a terror plot aimed at blowing up a subway line from New Jersey into New York and crippling lower Manhattan. Eight people, followers of Osama bin Laden are suspected. Three are in custody. One a Lebanese national alleged mastermind reportedly has confessed. According to the FBI, the plan was to set off suicide bombs in subway cars, breaching the tunnel and flooding Manhattan. The flooding part they called unlikely.

A somber day in London. Bells rang out as people stood for a moment of silence to honor those who lost their lives one year ago today when four suicide bombers struck a bus and three of London's subway trains -- 52 people were killed back then, 700 injured.

Investors not showing Wall Street the love. All three indexes took a beating, the Dow losing 134 points. A gloomy employment report taking its toll. And what else? Worries about inflation. They will try again, of course, on Monday.

And this may really move markets if it comes to pass. Nissan and Renault buying up a huge chunk of General Motors. We know it's French, for goodness' sake. Then again, so is Mr. Chevrolet. Actually, he was Swiss. In any case, G.M. today said it will hold talks with the two rivals, exploratory talks only for now.

In a moment, more with Anderson, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in New Orleans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCGRAW: I grew up in Louisiana. I spent a lot of time in this town growing up. I grew up fast in this town a few summers.

COOPER: Is that right? Really, you want to tell us any stories about it?

MCGRAW: They're good news stories, but, you know.

COOPER: I'm sure Faith would like to hear a few.

MCGRAW: She doesn't want to hear any of these stories.

HILL: I've heard. I've been down here too, actually.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performing in New Orleans, a special concert to benefit the victims of Katrina and try to help rebuild the Gulf.

Katrina, of course, touched them personally. She is from Mississippi. He is from Louisiana. As you talk to them, you understand why they believe in this region and the people who live here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So what's it like being back in New Orleans?

MCGRAW: Well, it's knowing that we're at a place where we're coming back to try to move forward and to try to, you know, as little dollars as we can raise by doing a concert, and -- because I like to come back to New Orleans no matter what it's like, but it's still strange to see not so much has been done as you would expect.

COOPER: For you, it's your first time back, really, since the storm?

HILL: It's my first time back. I have been to Mississippi, but I have not been in New Orleans. The life of this town, I mean, people just, you have to experience New Orleans before you understand why it's so important that this town comes back to the way it was. And even better than what it was before because it's such a heritage of our -- of our life and our lifestyles.

COOPER: When you hear that term "Katrina fatigue," you know, you hear people in Washington talk about "Katrina fatigue" or people in California or elsewhere. I always think that the only people who have the right to have "Katrina fatigue" are the people who are here...

MCGRAW: In he middle of it.

COOPER: Right.

HILL: Oh, that's...

MCGRAW: Yes, and that's really the wrong word to use. "Katrina fatigue." I mean, if you're going to call it "Katrina fatigue," then you really, it's the people that went through "Katrina fatigue."

HILL: But the issue still remains that there is mountains and mountains and mountains of things to do that have not been taken care of that honestly should be taken care of.

COOPER: And you were -- I read somewhere you were in the St. Bernard Parish and went to a shelter and you were talking about some of the kids you met there and sort of the look in their eye.

MCGRAW: In St. Bernard Parish, we went to a shelter where they were just bringing people in. This was eight to 10 days after the hurricane. I don't know which. And they were just bringing people in off the rooftops they were just still finding. And the look in their eyes is just one that I've never seen before.

It's just a hollow, lost expression. Helpless. And not only kids. It was grown-ups, old people, and strong middle-aged people who are healthy people. They just had this glazed look on their eyes that they had been through something that you could look in their eyes and tell that you had no idea what they had gone through.

COOPER: Do you see a lot of resolve when you walk around New Orleans, when you look in people's eyes now?

MCGRAW: Oh, yes. Yes, I do. I see a lot of resolve. I mean, these people -- they want to be here. They want this to work out. I mean, they want help.

HILL: I still see pain.

MCGRAW: You still see pain. You see -- you can drive...

HILL: I saw a lot of that today.

MCGRAW: You can drive by and see somebody sitting out on their porch. You can just see them just kind of looking in the distance.

HILL: One...

MCGRAW: You know, and thinking and, you wonder, you know what they're thinking about, but you wonder what they're thinking about. And the thing is, not knowing when it's going to end. That's the biggest thing that I can think of that's got to be the biggest horror of the whole situation, is not knowing when it's going to change.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Residents at coastal Mississippi have been working to rebuild their lives after Katrina. About 15 miles west of Biloxi you'll find the beachfront town of Pass Christian, the Pass, as the locals call it. It's full of southern charm. But after Katrina, the girl's high school basketball team discovered the charm of strangers from across America.

CNN's Susan Roesgen reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you want to know what Katrina did to the Lady Pirates basketball team of Pass Christian, Mississippi, take a look at their shoes. No two pairs are alike because the girls' shoes, their uniforms, even the gym they used to play in, are all gone.

(on camera): This is where one of the players used to live. A mobile home picked up and carried by the storm surge across the road, 100 yards away.

(voice-over): These days Lady Pirates Junior Point Guard Sarah Freeman practices outside her family's FEMA trailer. The drive to get back on the court is the one thing that kept her going when the hurricane took everything else away.

SARAH FREEMAN, PLAYER: As soon as the phone lines got back up, I called my coach to ask her if we were going to play.

ROESGEN: The Lady Pirates had never been what you'd call a power house. They had never even made it to the playoffs until this year when the team that lost everything found their true grit. They started winning. They took second place in their district. And someone noticed.

Last week at the elementary school gym, where they had been practicing, a visitor arrived with a surprise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every single one of you get a new pair of Nike shocks. OK?

ROESGEN: A national business women's networking organization headed by CEO Sandra Yancey had decided to adopt the Lady Pirates. Working with Nike and the WNBA, Yancey brought the team gifts and hope. It was the girls' spirit that made them a team. Now they look like a team, too.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, Pass Christian, Mississippi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Coming up tonight, the student who came to help and stayed and stayed and is still here helping.

Plus, helping the cats and dogs and all the other creatures made homeless by Katrina and how you can help, too.

And helping the human homeless. In her own words, here's what Oprah is doing to help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Here is an opportunity for those of us who call ourselves Americans and everything that that stands for, meaning having as much concern for your welfare and your wellbeing as you do for the people who live around you. That this is the time you step up and you show what that really means.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

COOPER: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performing in New Orleans. A special concert to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The victims weren't just humans, of course. There were also thousands of abandoned animals, helpless and in desperate need for food. There's a man in Mississippi who hasn't forgotten them. He's provided so much to him, even his home.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has his story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAM BAILEY, HELPING ABANDONED ANIMALS: Oh, my goodness.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Sam Bailey's yard has more animals than some zoos.

BAILEY: We named most of these after ice cream. There's Baskin and there's Robbins and there's Hershey. They were stuffed in a box and put underneath a pick-up truck at a Wal-Mart parking lot. Sometimes it's very frustrating, but if I could have 100 here, I would.

TUCHMAN: His yard is a foster home for dozens of abandoned pets. Sam lives in Pearlington, Mississippi, where the eye of Hurricane Katrina came ashore. He rode out the storm in his home because he didn't want to abandon the animals that are cared for by an organization he founded called the Pontchartrain Humane Society.

And now there are more pets here. Abandoned by others during Katrina. Sam and his wife live in a FEMA trailer because his house is uninhabitable for people. Some pets remain inside. Samson the Rottweiler gets a bathroom.

BAILEY: You be a good boy.

TUCHMAN: Some cats get a bedroom. But most of the pets live outside, waiting for people to adopt them. Thousands of pets were abandoned during Katrina, so not surprisingly there has been an increase in the number of dogs, often ill and mistreated, arriving in Sam's yard.

BAILEY: She has no canine teeth on the right-hand side. She had been hit in the face with either -- the vet thinks a baseball bat.

TUCHMAN: When Hurricane Katrina hit, the flood waters climbed up to the second floor of the house. Sam acted like Noah, ushering dogs up to the attic.

(on camera): Did you bring all the dogs up here?

BAILEY: All of the dogs except Samson, because I didn't know...

TUCHMAN: The Rottweiler?

BAILEY: The Rottweiler.

TUCHMAN: And why didn't he go up there?

BAILEY: Because I didn't know how I was going to entice him to walk up these steps.

TUCHMAN: Couldn't carry him?

BAILEY: And I couldn't carry 140 pounds.

TUCHMAN: All the pets that were with him survived. But Sam still can't get over the dead, abandoned pets he has seen.

BAILEY: You wouldn't leave your kid hanging on a tree branch.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Sam's organization has volunteers, but the work takes hours of his day and there is no pay.

(on camera): Sam Bailey doesn't especially want to stay here in Pearlington or in Mississippi, for that matter. But he's not about to leave because he doesn't want to abandon his pets.

BAILEY: If I had to do it again, my wife and I really have thought about it, and I think that we probably really would stay again.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Because of your love of the pets?

BAILEY: Yes. Because we know that no one else would do it.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Pearlington, Mississippi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll have more of my exclusive interview with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, when this special of 360 continues. In their own words, hear them describe seeing fellow Americans in need and the images that haunt them to this day.

Plus, keeping track of the Katrina money. Billions of dollars donated to charities. Where did it go? You'll be amazed at how fast the money has gone, when 360 continues from New Orleans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That is an unbelievable number. Ten months after Katrina, 40 percent of all homes in New Orleans are still without electricity. Clearly, there is so much that still needs to be done.

That's why we're here, to continue to try to find the facts and get answers and try to hold the people in power accountable. There are a lot of people who are making a difference here. Tens of thousands of people, so many of them unknown. Some, of course, are celebrities. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have been trying to do what they can to help rebuild the Gulf. We've been bringing our exclusive interview with them throughout tonight.

Here's more of what they're trying to do to help.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE))

COOPER: That's what it boils down to, it seems to me, individuals making a difference, making a stand, helping out their neighbors.

MCGRAW: Well, that's exactly what it comes down to. I mean, private people can get more done and private organizations can get more done than the government can because of the red tape.

I mean, it takes this neighbor helping that neighbor and this neighbor helping that neighbor. And that's what's going to get things done and that's what's going to get the ball rolling. And basically, that's what's got the things that have been cleaned up cleaned up.

COOPER: You went down to, was it Gulfport right after the storm?

HILL: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: You basically packed up the tour bus filled with stuff and just drove down to Gulfport.

HILL: We packed up as many things as we could find to pack up with trucks and busses. I tell you, that was a -- it was just a...

MCGRAW: It was a way to not feel helpless.

COOPER: And seeing it up close for you, what was that like?

HILL: It was really, really hard. I have to say. It was difficult. And there was an image that I will never forget, will go with me to my grave. This little dirt road -- and there's a lot of them in Mississippi. But this small dirt road off of the interstate. I think it probably had about four houses on this dirt road. All of them were completely demolished. Maybe a wall or two walls could have been standing. The roof gone. But people were living in them still.

COOPER (voice-over): It's images like that which have spurred Faith and Tim to continue raising money for the Gulf. The concert in New Orleans Wednesday night was a benefit to raise money for their foundation, Neighbor's Keeper.

HILL: It was not on the schedule and we had a day off. And we -- just trying to -- just like everybody else, trying to figure out a way we can directly help, and I mean, directly help someone. If it starts with one family, then another family. Just to rebuild the Gulf Coast, rebuild New Orleans, rebuild the cities that are up beyond the coastline.

So we saw this date absent on our schedule and said we've got to go down there.

MCGRAW: The main reason to come down -- yes, to make the money we would make at the concert was going to go to help. But just keeping...

HILL: Keeping it going.

MCGRAW: ... keeping the businesses up.

COOPER: And do you think that's important, also, just to keep people here knowing that people elsewhere are paying attention and do care about what's happening?

HILL: Yes.

MCGRAW: Absolutely. I mean that's -- you hear it and we heard it today. You know, just want people to know they still think about them, want people to know that it's still, we still need your help.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Americans responded to Katrina by opening their wallets to an extraordinary degree. Charities responded by trying to direct the money to those most in need. But as we have seen tonight, the need continues. Which raises the question, where did all the money go?

CNN's Joe Johns, tonight, keeping them honest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When New Orleans cried out for help, America responded and is still responding. The most recent estimate of charitable donations, $5.3 billion, seems staggering at first glance. Most of the money, $4.2 billion, donated by individual people.

But when you look at the scope of the disaster affecting an area about the size of Great Britain with more than a million people evacuated, it doesn't seem like so much money.

Elizabeth Boris studied the Katrina response.

ELIZABETH BORIS, THE URBAN INSTITUTE: It's a great start, but we know the scale of the disaster is much, much greater. We have, what, 280 some thousand homes that are just destroyed. We have people without jobs, whole neighborhoods unlivable.

JOHNS: So what is the money being used for? It was either for emergency response, food, shelter, clothing, medical supplies and pets or for rebuilding, homes, churches, synagogues, schools, farms.

But getting the money to the people who need it hasn't always gone smoothly. For one thing, some local charities that could have helped were themselves knocked out by the hurricane. And the Government Accountability Office reported serious problems with coordination of charitable relief, especially for people in hard to reach areas. Difficulty sharing information from computer databases or sharing inaccurate information at a time when the victims needed the fastest response possible. Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector, represents a coalition of about 550 public charities and foundations. She and others see a need for larger organizations to have good contacts with smaller groups that will know where the needs are when disaster strikes.

DIANA AVIV, INDEPENDENT SECTOR: The individual out there who sees this terrible thing going on, they're watching their screen and they see this terrible thing going on, they want to be sure that they're giving their money to an organization that is likely to help them. So they will go to the ones that they've heard of, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, United Way, the very big organizations.

It's imperative that those organizations have relationships with the local organizations and other people on the ground.

JOHNS: To that end, relief groups have been working on coordination plans. But with a new hurricane season already under way, they're still trying to figure out how to make them work.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll have more to come tonight, starting with the young man who put aside his studies to come down here for a month, and ended up staying five months and counting.

Also, the outpouring support for a young boy and his family. He is fighting cancer.

Their stories and more, coming up in this special edition of 360, from the Gulf.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: What makes a difference here and what we've seen month after month are just people reaching out, individuals standing up and doing what needs to be done.

You're about to meet an extraordinary young person who has made New Orleans his home for the past several months. At a time in his life when most people are focusing on their careers, Andre Doyle has put his studies on hold to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Once again here's CNN's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE (voice-over): It's 8:00 a.m. on a steamy New Orleans morning. And volunteers from Habitat for Humanity, St. Bernard Recovery Project, are already hard at work.

Andre Doyle is 26, from California. He should be finishing up his masters degree in forensic science. Instead, he's becoming an expert in the science of demolition. ANDRE DOYLE, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY VOLUNTEER: Sometimes you got to watch that. They come down a little too fast sometimes.

KAYE: Andre has been here since February, gutting homes that belong to people he's never met.

DOYLE: Basically you just go through the houses, get all the things, get all the furniture and all the like cabinets and like dishes out that we can and then we start tearing down the cupboards and getting all the appliances out of the kitchen.

KAYE: People he felt a calling to help.

What is it about getting people back into their homes that's so important to you?

DOYLE: A lot of people, this is all they have. This is their roots, you know what I mean.

KAYE: Five days a week, eight hours a day, he guts as many houses as he can.

(on camera): It's hard work but it's so rewarding, Andre has found it hard to leave. When he first got here in February, he was only supposed to stay until March. Then April, May, June. Now he's supposed to leave July 10th to get back home for a family reunion.

(voice-over): This forensics science student digs through debris, not in search of evidence, but in search of hope for homeowners.

DOYLE: Just the look on their faces when they come back to like nothing and see all their valuables, their photos and stuff, it just makes you feel good.

KAYE: Andre has recovered jewelry, diplomas, even rats. These little babies were snuggled inside a guitar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was like strum, strum and all of a sudden, I'm like ah, there's mice in there. It's just kind of cool to find a sign of life like that, you know, in a situation like this.

DOYLE: You don't take life for granted after you've been doing something like this for a while. You see what you have back at home and see what these people don't have here. And you respect people more. And respect yourself more and what you have and what life gives you.

KAYE (on camera): What will it be like for you to adjust back out in the real world after doing this for so long?

DOYLE: It won't be too hard. The only thing -- the only thing, from adjusting from is not walking into my mom's house and wanting to gut it.

KAYE: She wouldn't like that. DOYLE: No, she wouldn't.

KAYE (voice-over): Sense of humor intact, Andre Doyle has helped make New Orleans a better place.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: This next story is one of exceptional resilience and generosity in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Last fall we told you about a young boy, a kid from Mississippi who had more than enough to worry about, even without a catastrophic storm, because he suffers from leukemia.

A month later Elizabeth Cohen went back to visit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After Hurricane Katrina, the Nata family faced a crisis.

Should they even try to rebuild their home in Slidell, Louisiana. Mold and mildew were embedded in the walls of the house. Bad for everyone, but especially for their 6-year-old son, Tony. Tony has leukemia and a severely damaged immune system.

(on camera): Can he come back here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I really, to tell you the truth, I don't know.

COHEN (voice-over): For months after Katrina, Tony moved between a FEMA trailer and a relative's home. But in April that had to come to an end. Tony needed a bone marrow transplant. Without it he had only a 20 percent chance of living.

After the transplant, he had basically no immune system. To survive, he needed to live in as germ free an environment as possible and stay there all the time, leaving only to go to the doctor with this mask on.

His parents, Robin and Tony Sr., didn't know what to do. They had no home. But then a miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw a wonderful story on CNN about the family.

COHEN: First, volunteers, including New York City firefighters, rebuilt the deck that the house stands on.

ROBIN NATA, TONY'S MOTHER: How do you thank these guys for taking time out of their lives and families to come and lend a hand for us?

Nice to meet you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glad to meet you.

COHEN: Then more than 150 volunteers from around the country finished the job.

TONY NATA SR., TONY'S FATHER: Bunches of people. Bunches of people. It's unbelievable. Words can't explain the things that you feel when you see a stranger coming out in dripping sweat, you know, busting their hands up with hammers, and you know, and not a single complaint.

COHEN: The volunteers had to take special precautions. No carpet where the germs could hide. No ceiling fan in Tony's room to collect dust.

R. NATA: We installed an ultraviolet light in our air conditioning system which collects dust, mold, bacteria, viruses.

COHEN: And finally, Tony's home went from this to this. And while the volunteers are heroes, the biggest hero of all, Tony's 5- year-old sister Allie. She spent days in the hospital undergoing procedures to extract the precious bone marrow that saved her brother's life.

R. NATA: I'm excited to be able to sit down one day and tell her exactly what she did for her brother.

COHEN: With these precious blood cells from his sister, Tony's prognosis is vastly improved. He'll still have to stay home for school this year.

R. NATA: And then hopefully next year he can go back to school.

T. NATA: Oh he will.

R. NATA: Yes.

T. NATA: He will.

COHEN: And his parents hope that one day he'll understand about the volunteers who put his house back together and the sister who saved his life.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: In a moment we'll show you how you, too, can make a difference to an awful lot of people down here. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That's it tonight from New Orleans. It's not it for you, however. You can help the people down here. We can help you do it. Just make your way to CNN.com/360, where you'll find agencies and organizations and how to hook up with them.

Thanks for helping and thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" is next.

(MUSIC)

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