Monday, August 28, 2006
Remembering the city that never forgets
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- One year later.

In some ways, it's hard to believe. Parts of the city are cleaned-up, scrubbed fresh. You stare at the Convention Center and the Superdome and there's no sign of what happened there, no marker, no memorial.

I flew in yesterday, and while waiting for my luggage in the airport, I thought back to the elderly and sick people who one year ago were placed on the baggage conveyer belt. There was nowhere else for them to go.

It's strange. I'm staying in the exact same room of the same hotel I stayed in a few weeks after Katrina and it seems normal. But drive through the Lower Ninth Ward, of course, or Saint Bernard Parish and Katrina is not just a memory. People's possessions still lay out in the sun. There is still no clear plan for what will be rebuilt, or when, or how.

Did you know that in New Orleans they never take the names off buildings, even if the name of the building has changed?

My father's high school was called Francis T. Nicholls, named after a racist governor of Louisiana. The name of the school was changed years ago. It's now the Frederick Douglas Academy, but Nicholls' name is still carved in stone on the school facade.

This is a city of memory, a city which never tries to erase its own past. I think there is something important in that. We must never forget what happened here. We must never allow others to simply rewrite the history of this storm. We must remember by honoring the dead and telling the stories of the living.

As we look back tonight on "360" at what happened one year ago in Mississippi and Louisiana, I'd be interested in hearing from you.

What memories do you have of Katrina? Whether you lived through it yourself or just watched the horror unfold on TV, was there a moment, a picture, a story that stays with you? Let us know. Help us remember.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 12:27 PM ET
When I watched the footage on TV showing the abandoned victims of Katrina pleading for help, I thought, "Why did our government let this happen?" It was the only time in my life when I was embarassed to be an American.
Posted By Anonymous Darrin Cheraso, San Antonio, TX : 1:55 PM ET
I sent down supplies, and donated money. I wish i could have gone down and helped rebuild also, but i couldnt. Basically i just wish i could have done more, i wish people would understand that in order to truly live a happy life you have to be selfless sometimes.. ive learned that, and it was one of the best lessons i have ever learned.
Posted By Anonymous Bill D, Erie, PA : 2:00 PM ET
I went to the Convention Center last week for the first time since Katrina and had such an eerie feeling. I wish there would be at least a plaque to aknowledge the suffering that took place. But it will never happen.
Posted By Anonymous Anya, New Orleans LA : 2:05 PM ET
I can't believe it's been a year since Katrina hit so hard. The image I have still so clear in my mind is one of a man who was asked where his wife was and his reply was "She gone". I will never forget the sadness in his voice. To see some areas that look like the storm hit last week, is unreal.

Thanks Anderson, for updating this story.
Posted By Anonymous Melinda, Whitby, ON Canada : 2:06 PM ET
Hey Anderson:
Most of the pictures and images from Katrina I will NEVER forget, but some stand out more than others, like the man who waited on his roof with his wife and finally had to let her slip into the black, horrible water. She told him he had to let her go and made him promise to look after their children and grandchildren. I will never forget the hurt in his eyes and the deep raw emotion in his voice.
Posted By Anonymous Bev. Ontario, Canada : 2:13 PM ET
HORROR. Blanco calling for the National Guard to 'lock and load' and Gen. Honore commanding that the guns be put down. Adm. Allen and the Coast Guard just doing what they do. The whole photo op, fly-over, press conference spot-lighting of total ineptness. The mouths v. the responders.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 2:15 PM ET
All I have to say is...... Watch the HBO special on Katrina done by Spike Lee. That was a great documentary.
Posted By Anonymous David, San Antonio-TX : 2:19 PM ET
It has already been a year but even just to hear the name Katrina, instantly puts a lump in my throat. The images of the devastated people that lost their loved ones are still so clear, so present. There hasn't been enough distance, enough time, like it happened yesterday. To me the greatest tragedy in all of this was of course, response time and the fact that they left the bodies of the deceased to rot like animals. How does anyone ever get over the heartbreak of something like that?

You are right, we must never forget. We must never forget and we must hold the memory of every life lost close to our hearts so as never to repeat the mistakes we've made.

Thank you for caring Anderson, thank you for being you.
Posted By Anonymous Lily, Vancouver, BC : 2:21 PM ET
Why does it seem that New Orleans is the only city the Katrina impacted? New Orleans damage came mainly from when the levies broke.. which is flood waters. There are individuals in MS that were hit by Katrina and it seems that they are forgotten not New Orleans. Yes, it was sad about the all the deaths, but if the local politicians would of acted instead of saying "NO we don't need the help" maybe some of those who died would still be alive. I am sure I am not alone when I say, enough about New Orleans, lets take care of the other states that were impacted by Katrina. It is kinda funny that a whole Parish in LA was destroyed and yet all that the news can talk about is New Orleans. How do you think those people feel...
Posted By Anonymous Alan Ft. Walton Bch, FL : 2:22 PM ET
Hey Anderson,

A few stuck with me. One body lying on the side of the road just covered partially. You with a woman sitting down, crying. You with your hand on her shoulder and you finally said something like "enough, stop rolling".
Babies almost lifeless in the arms of their mothers. So many.

I watches "Katrina,the killings" this week-end. I had chills, I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't help but ask myself what I would do. I'm a first responded, I always have my latex gloves and my mask for mouth to mouth with me where ever I go. Would I rise up to the occasion? The human being stripped of dignity, with only their survival skills.

I can't understand why so much houses are still like a year ago. What's up? I heard mayor Nagin this week-end talking about constructing Trump towers. Was he joking or what?

I'll listened to the show as always.
Thank you for never leaving them on their own. I'm praying that Ernesto doesn't go your way.
Take care.

Joanne Ranzell
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne Ranzell Laval Quebec : 2:23 PM ET
I remember one elderly lady sitting outside the convention center. The picture was shown repeatedly on TV. Her tattered blouse was half off her shoulder but it was her expression that struck me. It vividly portrayed the pain, shock and disbelief of what was happening. I wonder if this memory is still engraved in my psyche because she reminded me of my own mother or because she epitomized the horror we were seeing. Perhaps it was both.
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann, Honolulu, HI : 2:28 PM ET

When Katrina happened, I was so overcome with it, that I stayed glued to cnn and cnn's website. I could not believe everything that I was seeing. But if I had to pick a story that I cannot forget, and I am sorry to say, that I do not know the gentlemens name. But he was standing there telling a reporter that his wife told him to let her go and take care of the kids. And he never saw her again. What horror to live thru. How did this happen to people in America? Or any where in the world. I will be tuning in tonight to watch.
Posted By Anonymous Kim Pierce, Bloomfield MO : 2:30 PM ET
I was driving home from a glorious weekend in the Hamptons, headed north on the New York State Thruway, listening to my favorite public radio station, WAMC. It was around 3pm. A newsreporter, who's name I don't recall was speaking with a science-guy about the weather. My 2 year old daughter was sleeping peacefully in her car seat in back. As the scientist described the storm, it's plausible effects, the levees and their limits, the voluntary evacuations, and lack of seriousness when he was alerting the proper folks, I started to cry. I realized what was happening and so did he. The reporter asked him how he felt knowing what he knew. He paused, and in a cracked voice, that I will never forget, he said "I'm very troubled". I called everyone I knew from my carphone and everyone thought I was crazy for being so upset over a storm in the ocean. Then, of course, it hit. I put my daughter to bed that night and thanked the universe for allowing her to sleep in a dry bed that night. The next day when the news just wouldn't stop and every person & politician was weighing in, of course, what bothered me most was the comments of surprise, "how could we know how bad this would be? who knew such a terrible thing would happen?" Thing is, I knew. Little old me from Upstate New York, the science-guy, and the WAMC reporter knew, too. We all knew. Because of this, I will never understand the loss of life, lack of preparation or planning, or level of surprise. And, that is my memory of Hurricane Katrina.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa Saratoga Springs NY : 2:30 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

Welcome back. I am glad you are trying to keep them honest. Yes, I still remember what happened one year ago. I came back in October and then got displaced due to work and returned back in January. We are still facing several challenges. But, I think we are trying to face our challenges in our own way. As I was driving to work this morning, I saw a humvee with national gaurds driving at 10 mile speed. Some of the guards were pointing at both directions. I imagined that these were some of the guards who were here during Katrina and are now remembering the things that they did or the sights they saw. I am hoping that things will get better. I also hope that this city, which is very unique in several ways will get back its charm.

Thanks again for your love for this city. Love, NS
Posted By Anonymous Sonu, T, New Orleans LA : 2:32 PM ET
First, I would like to thank you, the staff of 360, and CNN for covering this story in its entirety. Hurricane Katrina and the horrible impact it had on millions of lives should never be forgotten.I respect your determination to help these people and uncover the truth behind this story. I remember that it was the first day of school when this catastrophe occured and all I wanted to do was stay home and watch the news. My school was not giving anyone updates. I remember going home and watching the news with my parents and seeing the horror unfold. And of course I watched 360. The vivid image that still plays in my mind is the people waiting outside of the Superdome starving to death and waiting for help. I was horrified to see them like that and just wished that I could fly down there and help them all myself. Can't wait to see the program tonight and I am still praying for the victims of this horrible disaster.
Stephanie Wood
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie Wood, Charles Town, WV : 2:32 PM ET
Anderson, I remember watching the horrors happen on tv and thinking how horrible it was for them. It was real but it wasn't watching safely from my living room. The thing that made it "more real" (if that makes sense) for me was reading about it in your book. That was when it became more personal for me. Thanks for that.
I'll see you tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Jessica Milwaukee, WI : 2:32 PM ET
it's easy to place blame on "the government". who is the government? is it the mayor of new orleans, the president, the engineers who designed the levees, who exactly do we blame? we all watched in Houston as the buses arrived with the people from New Orleans. we were happy to receive them and tried to help make it easier for them. I live near the Astrodome & it was chaotic but we Houstonians felt a sense of pride at being able to help our neighbors. We all gave money, donated our time & clothing & the city of New Orleans still needs help. What happened to the money? Why haven't homes, businesses been rebuilt? What can we do to help them regain their balance?
Posted By Anonymous Bobbi La Fond, Houston, Tx. : 2:35 PM ET
I have an aunt and uncle in Slidell, my uncle needed dialysis and was stuck in his house for a week due to all the trees that were down in the roads. My cousin got him to Baton Rouge where my other cousin from Illinois hired a private plane to get him back to Chicago for treatment. He passed away 5 months later due to the weekened condition he was in. I guess Katrina affects people all over the country.
Posted By Anonymous Barb Kozlowki, Phoenix AZ : 2:35 PM ET
I was traveling, when Katrina hit New Orleans. I saw history unfold yet another time after Sept 11. It was devasting to see poeple pleading to be saved, begging for help. There was nobody listening!! I thought to myself we being so powerful & yet helpless, I watched your ground breaking coverage of Katrina, there were so many things that went on there, unheard of, so many stories untold, so much pain, so much loss.
We appreciate you brining out the truth about Katrina. Keep it up.
Posted By Anonymous Florita, New York, NY : 2:35 PM ET
Thank you Anderson for your repeated returns to our city and your continued support - this is not just a photo op for you and we appreciate it greatly. You love our city just as we love it.

Personally I know that I will never forget August 29th or the days leading up to it - it's the day I lost my home and everything I own. While I was one of the luckier ones, my family survived, it's still an incredibly painful memory. I left the city Saturday morning expecting that I would return by Tuesday and learned my fate watching CNN show a man being rescued from his rooftop just blocks from my home. I had no idea that my home, built in 2003 would be ravaged by 10' of water. Having a home that was built two years before the storm meant that it was built to the 100 year flood plain. I live in an A5 zone - my home was raised and I thought I would have nothing to worry about, I was wrong. I have incredible neighbors who are fighting to stay in their homes, we are not dependent on someone coming in and rebuilding for us but wish to have support from the city, state and government. We want to live in New Orleans, we love our city, our people and our culture. There is no place else in the world like it.

I urge others take to heart your words "This is a city of memory, a city which never tries to erase its own past. I think there is something important in that. We must never forget what happened here. We must never allow others to simply rewrite the history of this storm. We must remember by honoring the dead and telling the stories of the living." Let's not let New Orleans be the "City that Care Forgot", let's make it the city that brings our country cares about. Remember that this could have happened anywhere else in the country and the New Orleanians will be there for you. Please do not forget us.
Posted By Anonymous Gretchen Schneider, New Orleans LA : 2:36 PM ET
Anderson: The images of the Katrina survivors seem of another continent, not North America, not the USA. I do not want to forget that our Government (at every level) failed the people of the Gulf Coast.

It doesn't matter what race or peril in life....we are all human beings and deserve better by the people we place in office.

Shame on us for not choosing more carefully and shame on them for exercising the poorist of judgements which cost insufferable loss and heartache!

The ill treatment of the survivors continues today except in a few areas. Will these government folks ever see and take appropriate action to correct their earlier horrid decisions?

This catastrophy also brought to life many true heroes. Sorry to say they weren't of our Government. I say "thank you" to each one!
Posted By Anonymous Joann, Kuna ID : 2:39 PM ET
As I reflect on the people I saw sitting outside the Convention Center and Super Dome, I can't help but think that any one of them would have given anything for a simple drink of water or a cool place to sit for even five minutes. I can't imagine how totally abandoned they must have felt! At the same time, I conjure up images of Bush at John McCain's opulent birthday party and his bicycle ride with Lance Armstrong on his equally-opulent ranch in Texas - - far away from the desperate, terrified, drowning people of the Gulf Coast. I marvel that he ignore their suffering for all those days and still be allowed to be our President. Bush fiddled while losing an American city and its people!
Posted By Anonymous Lynn, Colorado Springs, Co. : 2:40 PM ET
I was down in New Orleans this past weekend visiting with friends. I have talked to many people who went through Katrina and her aftermath and there are still mixed feelings about how things were handled. Most of them however were given FEMA trailers and were able to get back on their feet in a few months, then there are those who who are still still waiting for help to come. But one thing is for sure they speak highly of CNN and Anderson Cooper for not forgetting them.

One store on Bourbon Street had this sign in its window:

To all the wondurful volunteers who have come to the area to help gut and rebuild the city.
Thank you

To the media that has heard our stories and oftentimes got involved.
Thank you

To all the peace keepers who have taken time from home and families.
Thank you

To the rotary clubs that have given supplies directly to the people that needed it.
Thank you

Things have a long way to go, but as long as people still care there will be a New Orleans and a Gulf Coast.

Thanks to all for keeping the story alive
Posted By Anonymous Grace, Detroit MI : 3:01 PM ET
My first memory is evacuating. No I dont live in New Orleans. I lived in the small forgotten town of Pass Christian MS. But I will tell my story anyway. Sat morning I was driving with my 3 children out of town to Destin FL to get away from the cat 5 hurricane Katrina expected to hit 2 days later. I was on the cell phone with my mom, who lived in New Orleans when Camille hit in 69... she said get out and prepare the kids that there will be nothing left when you return. I thought - why on earth would I do that? Why scare them for no reason? I just said "I know mom" but I didnt. I had no idea. We all watched from our comfy Hilton rooms - drinking and having our own little "hurricane party" hundreds of miles away. The mood turned somber very quickly Monday morning when we all realized (about 300+ of us from Bay St Louis, Waveland and Pass Christian MS) that our towns, our homes, our possessions were all gone. None of us had anything to go home to. It was devistating to say the least. But we did go home. Home ... well what was left of "home". My home was no longer. Completely leveled down to the slab. Those who still had homes standing had at least 4 feet of water in it. Everything was gone. I lived in a daze for 4 months afterwards. Flying back and forth between MS and MN while my children attended school in MN and I tried to rebuild our lives in MS. Now 1 year later, my husband gutted and rebuilt a house in Bay St Louis. My children are back at their schools and doing great. We have a 1 monthold new addition to our family and life is slowly but surely getting better every day! We still dont have a grocery store, but Walmart has come back and is providing us with everything we need. Waveland, Bay St Louis and Pass Christian may be the invisible little towns forgotten in Katrina, but the people here have not given up and we have united and are rebuilding together. thank you for letting me tell my story.
Posted By Anonymous Tina, Bay St Louis, MS : 3:32 PM ET
I remember being stuck in traffic, finally heading east and then north out of Katrina's path. I remember seeing butterflies on that afternoon as we drove along a Mississippi state road, trying to find somehwere to stay. I remember watching TV the next day and seeing that New Orleans had been spared and saying thank god. But later in the day seeing the water on Canal Street,the street that I rode a bus on to get to all parts of town. I knew my city was never going to be the same and I shed the first of many tears.
Posted By Anonymous Ruth, Metairie, LA : 3:34 PM ET
Katrina can never be forgotten. The stories will forever lurk in the back of our minds. It should be that way. That way, society will learn of things that it has done. What it can do to better it self; to prevent such a thing.

My Katrina story is based on the images I saw on your show. I began to watch your show to see the story unfold by people who were actually there. The images that were shown will not be forgotten. They are tucked away, in the back of minds to remember. They show the courage people had; the violence people had to endure; the police force that did all they could do; and the lack of help they received right away.

The Convention Center, for me, will always remind me of what happened. When ever people talk of it, or a picture is shown, I remember. I remember the hundreds of people there, stranded, waiting. The condition they lived through and the danger that was all around them.

Thank you, for allowing us to keep remembering what happened there.
Posted By Anonymous Kristina K, Toronto, Ontario : 3:35 PM ET
I just remember the sick feeling in my stomach as the days passed and the realization that there was no governmental knight in shining armor riding in to save the Gulf Coast from this horrible nightmare.

Watching the anniversary coverage and seeing how much work remains throughout the region, brings back that feeling all over again.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Kansas City, MO : 3:41 PM ET
On the the most vivid memory is being there as a Volunteer in April, after gutting our first house; the huge pile of debris next to the smallest pile ever which was the owner's possessions... A whole life in one tiny tiny pile...And there are so many sad images that we should never forget.. Scared, hungry and exhausted people on roofs, elderly's looking overwhelmed...
Thank you Anderson for being there and helping us to never forget.
Posted By Anonymous Manon, Longueuil, Quebec : 3:42 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

I remember being glued to CNN, crying because of the terrible images. I kept thinking that the signs should be in a foreign language and not English. This couldn't be the USA. I cringed when I saw you jump in that dirty water. Where had the snakes gone? I had been to Bourbon Street. It was filty and now all of that filth was in that water.

Most of all I was touched by the stories of the medical professionals who stayed behind. The real heros of NO were the doctors and nurses who would not leave their patients and who saved the babies. With tears in my eyes I thanked a friend who is a nurse on behalf of those doctors and nurses that I could not thank personally. She had been an Army nurse in Viet Nam and I probably thanked her for that service as well. With tears in her eyes, she said you are welcome.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte Doisy, Stockton CA : 3:52 PM ET
I always wonder what would have happened if New Orleans was a upper middle class white suburb.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Wertman ,Wildwood ,New Jersey : 3:55 PM ET
I first arrived in New Orleans in November after the storm to volunteer. I was awestruck at the condition of New Orleans and the gulf coast. Never did I expect to see what I did. Watching the news and reading the newspaper didn't prepare me for what I saw and experienced. The vastness of the devastation along the coast was and still is unbelievable.

Volunteering in the area was a life-changing experience. To walk through a home in Chalmette with the homeowner, hear their storm story and be able to see the actual damage is incredible. Meeting people from all over this country giving their time and energy is humbling and amazing. I would encourage anyone who can to get down there and do what you can!

Thank you Anderson for your continued reports and interest in the thousands of lives that were affected by Hurrican Katrina not just in New Orleans but throughout the gulf coast.
Posted By Anonymous Erica Painter, Strasburg VA : 3:56 PM ET
Hi Anderson. You are right to keep reporting to the world about what happened with Katrina. Too many people that I tried to talk to about it at the time would say to me that it made them sick and they couldn't watch!! The whole point was for everyone to watch so that they would NEVER forget. Thank you for doing just that.
Posted By Anonymous Gail Oshawa ON Canada. : 3:58 PM ET
Hi, Anderson
I still cry for this people, so much still needs to be done. I watch Katrina, The Killings this weekend, it made me sick, it also brothers me to see so much that has not be done a year later. Will be watching your show tonight,(of course) you do so much in trying to get help for all these people.Keep the story alive like you have been doing this past year because someone needs to keep it in the worlds mind, they don,t need to forget. One day it may be them wanting help. Take care .
Sandy B
Posted By Anonymous Sandy Belvin, Richmond, Va : 3:58 PM ET
I watched everything on TV. In fact, I taped everything, day and night. Didn't want to miss anything. I couldn't believe this was happening in America. The strongest and wealthiest nation in the world and our government let our people down. The lesson for all of us should be to not depend on our government for help in a disaster. We all need to be prepared to survive on our own for at least 3 weeks, not 3 days.

The one story that still haunts me is the one with the little boy who had his dog Snowball stolen from his arms as he boarded a bus to Houston. He had his whole world torn apart by the storm and had in his arms his most valuable poccession, just to have someone grab it from him because that was the rule. Rules are not written in stone and a little common sense should be used when dealing with rules.

How many people died because pets weren't allowed in shelters? People who have pets need to have shelters set up for just them. I have read that cities are starting to make room for pets in shelters, with certain conditions like cages and leashes, etc.

Katrina taught us a lot as long as we don't forget what happened. History has a way of repeating itself when we forget. Keep us all honest, Anderson.
Posted By Anonymous Lee Fairfield Iowa : 4:06 PM ET

I do hope you'll give a lot of airtime to the people of Mississippi. We hear an awful lot about New Orleans, but it seems the devastation in Mississippi was just as bad, if not worse, but it seems to get condensed down into reports on how many casinos were destroyed. Listening to NPR this morning and hearing some of the people of Biloxi talk about their lives since Katrina, just broke my heart. Another heartbreaking thing is seeing the images of destruction at Beauvoir House, the home and Presidential library of Jefferson Davis. Such a shame. I've heard very little on the news about the fate of such important historic sites in the Katrina area. As a former museum curator, that would certainly interest me.
Posted By Anonymous Diane, Long Island, NY : 4:14 PM ET
Tuesday morning was the worst. My family (mom, dad, brothers, sisters, etc.) was in Houston staying at my brother's house. My husband and I slept at a friend's office without TV. We left my brother's house Monday evening feeling relief that we dodged another bullet and planning to drive back home on Wednesday. On Tuesday morning we returned to my brother's house to find everyone sitting in front of the TV and crying. That's when we found out about the levee breaches, the flooding, the fires, the lack of response.
Posted By Anonymous Patricia, Covington, LA : 4:22 PM ET
Thanks for coming back. I attended the United New Orleans Gospel Concert at the Convention Center yesterday (8/27). Mayor Nagin arrived late and compared criticism of his leadership with the persecution of Jesus. Just outrageous. I wrote poem that follows that night.I hope you get another chance to tell him that home is not a plan. And charm is not leadership.


Donna Lee Van Cott
New Orleans, LA

Katrina Requiem, Ad Hominem

Dear Leader, Uptown's darling:
We, who with our votes
launched your public life with real affection,
who fought to catch the beads you tossed from floats,
still turn our hammered gaze in your direction.
In one endless moment of natural destruction and human corruption, planned and ad hoc,
in the late-summer heat of the media glare you made of us a laughingstock.

In the Eastern tradition of ritual obedience and the Western tradition of rhythmic verse,
in the presence of God and in Her absence, we offer you this solemn curse:

May gale-force winds curl from churning, tepid seas
strike your face at an oblique angle
and peel your eyelids back until you see
the victims of your vanities.

May out-of-town reporters cool their heels up in Atlanta
because somebody's grandma tried to bring a can of Fanta
onto USAirways 1598
and, thus, arrive for your next press event too late.

Dear Leader, may your eyes meet at last our thousand-yard stare.
May you blink in recognition and conjure the grace you need
to ask forgiveness, bend your knees, grow a pair,
make like General Honor´┐Ż and, Leader, finally, may you lead.

Posted By Anonymous Donna Lee Van Cott, New Orleans, Lousiana : 4:25 PM ET
I was lucky enough to watch the horror unfold on TV and cannot imagine what these people went through. I will say this. I visited NOLA for the first time in June and I left with a heart filled with hope, love and admiration for these people and the city. I met people that I can now call my friends. Too see it in person and without the filter of the television is something everyone should experience and I can understand your frustration, trying to describe what you are seeing because words can not do it justice.
I do have a question, do Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco shutter when they know you are coming back into town? Please keep "Keeping them Honest".
Posted By Anonymous Rachel-Albuquerque, NM : 4:36 PM ET
The poor gentleman who had to let go of his wife in Katrina's waters was actually on the Mississippi Gulf Coast when this horrifying incident happened. I love New Orleans, we lived there for years, but there is more than enough sadness and loss to go around in Mississippi and Louisiana. We, too, are struggling and have a long recovery ahead of us, have stories to share, but so far we have been treated as a small footnote in Katrina's coverage. We expected more from CNN.
Posted By Anonymous Jan, Long Beach, MS : 4:37 PM ET
Hey Anderson The image that I cant get out of my mind from the hurricane is the image of a little white dog. What I saw on TV was a bus that just loaded all the evacuees but they weren't aloud to take there pets there where dogs running all over the place tied to fences but this little white dog was at the doors of the bus when they closed and the little white dog was scratching at the door trying to get in to her owner. This image haunts me to this day. I know there was a lot of lost of live and human suffering but that little white dog image I just cant get it out of my head. And that CNN hurricane music when there about to give us an update just makes me flash back to last year Anderson and crew thank you for all your hard work,
Posted By Anonymous Anthony Guiliano Allentown PA : 4:38 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

There is so much to remember. I remember the desperate people waiting at the Convention Center, the man crying over the loss of his wife because he could no longer hold on to her, I remember you and Dr. Henderson in a boat discussing the tragedy and picking up a man walking through the filthy water, the abandoned pets waiting for someone to rescue them, and later, you walking with victims back to homes that were no longer there, searching for lost memories.

I remember you bringing much needed humanity to a story, which, in the hands of a less competent journalist could have become trivialized. Please don't be afraid of becoming emotional over a story like this one, the minute you deny your own humanity it is time to quit.

When I listen to the promises to rebuild New Orleans, I remember the determined voice of Ms. Connie declaring that New Orleans will "rise again." I hope she is right. In order for that to happen we need to remember the mistakes of the past.

Thank you for not abandoning this story. I think your father would have been proud of the job you have done and are continuing to do for his city. Take care of yourself.

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio : 4:43 PM ET
Dear Anderson,
I was very touched by your words because very few understand how close New Orleaneans are tied to their home. I was born and raised there. In fact, my mom's family has been their dating back to the time that New Orleans was first settled by the French. Our roots are deeply grounded to that city. Even as I saw the devistation from my dorm room in New York, I felt as though I was drowning along with those left and forgotten by our government. My family had evacuated and were safe but much of the only world that I knew was underwater. Everytime I visit home, there is an air of sadness, frustration, and exhaustion. Everyone just wants things back to normal, yet we all know that nothing will be the same again. The amount of stress and grief has not subsided for those brave enough to come back and rebuild. My mother joked and said that she felt like she was a pioneer in the Wild West. Our tendency of holding on to the past makes rebuilding more painful than I think most Americans realize. This is why it is important for the memory of Katrina to resonate longer than just this year or the next. It will take decades and we can not rebuild it all on our own.
Posted By Anonymous Kesia Brown, Poughkeepsie, NY : 5:39 PM ET
When Katrina hit I was making plans to spend my senior college Jan-term on cruise ships in the Caribbean. The next day I sat stoically in the student center, blankly flipping between news programs all showing the same pictures of the same tragedy.
The cruise plans were never picked up again.
Instead, I started organizing with a group of 60 other students to travel to NOLA to spend 21 days doing relief work in January
With the support of our college and community we spent those 21 days in Luling, LA commuting to NOLA to work in the city.
Presbyterian Diasater Assistance, Catholic Charities, Best Friends Animal Society and Habitat for Humanity became the four most common words in our vocabulary. They were our new families.
For 21 days we sweated, bled, cried and laughed with the residents of NOLA. We participated in the revelry of Bourbon Street after 10 hours of back-breaking house mucking, knowing the next morning would bring more of the same.
I used the emotions of the experience to steer my own life in a direction I had never considered. Even now, as a newspaper reporter, I find myself at a loss for the words to describe my experience.
Before leaving Luling, we asked our hosts what we could do for them when we returned to out own homes.
Without exception, they said, "Tell our story."
Thank you, Anderson Cooper, for telling their stories for those of us who can't find the words.
Posted By Anonymous Erin Myers; Sherman/Houston, Tx : 5:41 PM ET
I was actually just in Mississippi helping rebuild houses with my church group in July, and it was such a surreal and amazing experience. It's disappointing that things remain in such a hopeless state, but I definitely feel lucky to have gotten the opprotunity to head down there and do my part in helping our fellow Americans. The image that sticks with me from this trip is definitely the hospitality and kindness of the families we worked with...they would help us clean or make us lunch...little things that showed us that though they've been broken down and have had to ask for help, they're people just like us.
Posted By Anonymous Erica, Glendora, California : 5:47 PM ET
As a native of Louisiana and a survivor of Hurricane Andrew I felt compelled to do something. My father and I went with a church group to Pascagoula, Mississippi to help rebuild Victory Praise Church.

My most vivid memory from the days following the storm is the interview with the man in Biloxi, (I think his name was Grady), whose wife told him to let her go and "to take care of the kids and grandkids."
Posted By Anonymous Jason, Anchorage, Alaska : 5:48 PM ET
The one image that has stayed with me the longest and still bring tears to my eyes occurred when you were closing out one of your segments during the Katrina aftermath coverage. There was a regular guy in Mississippi (the salt-of-earth, everyday Joe) next to a truck. He was holding a tattered American Flag. Our country was letting down him and so many of his fellow countrymen with the slow response. Yet, he still believed in America and the flag that he held so proudly.
Posted By Anonymous Susan, Aiea, HI : 5:52 PM ET
I live an hour and a half southwest of New Orleans and remember hearing the storm blow inland (I was lying on the sofa next to the storm window because I wanted to listen to the wind-stupid on my part I know.) I remember praying for my friends and family in New Orleans and MS and wondering what would be left of their homes if anything. I spent all that day finding out about them and being grateful they were all right. That was until my dad called to tell me that my older cousin was missing in Arabi (St. Bernard Parish). He at last communication was on his roof trying to get to his boat to ride out the flooding. I remember thinking that if he died and they found him, we wouldn't have a place to bury him because the waters had overtaken the cemetary where his grandparents and uncle are buried. I lost it emotionally at that moment. I remember yelling at him for staying because he knew better. Odd thing is this...had the storm turned further west, I'd have been in the same predicament. My cousin made it. He showed up at his aunt's house in Baton Rouge two days later. He had been in his boat pulling neighbors off of rooftops in the interim and couldn't use his cell to call anyone. I have never felt such relief. I felt gratitude that my aunt's house survived in Old Bay St. Louis. I felt sadness that my happiest childhood memories of the Coast and New Orleans were gone that morning. I remember giving money and feeling no amount could be enough. I remember cooking for the LA State Police Sniper Unit because it was what I could do (a friend's husband is in the unit and we took turns feeding them that week). I remember being terrified as my brother-in-law (a state ATC agent) worked the Convention Center and hearing the horrors he experienced. I remember the sadness as my sister explained how she marked houses of the living and dead as they searched for bodies. What happened in New Oleans should not happen in the 21st Century. What happened to MS still saddens me as well.

I never imagined that a year later there would still be so much to be done, and we would still be embattled in the politics of recovery. I never imagined how bad the emotional destruction would be. I never imagined you would still be questioning our officials about what they aren't doing. Thanks for keeping the promise above and beyond that proverbial call of duty. Personal losses make us do that, though.

There is so much hope and recovery that has happened in this year. The world needs to see that part of it, too.
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 5:58 PM ET
Thanks, Anderson, for not dropping the issue of the reconstruction of New Orleans. When Katrina first happened, people here in D.C. jumped in to help, for we Washingtonians are no strangers to tragedy. After a month, though, people were complaining about how New Orleans natives were begging for aid, claiming the government had done more than enough and these people needed to accept what was given them and put themselves back together.

Luckily though, tenacious reporters such as you will not let the truly downtrodden be forgotten and help to revive the generous American spirit.
Posted By Anonymous Kim, Washington D.C. : 6:00 PM ET
What I remember about Katrina is watching the weather channel with my grandmother and marveling at the sheer size of the storm while it was in the Gulf. She and my grandfather lived in Gulfport, Mississippi when he was stationed there during WWII. My grandfather and my father had both been to New Orleans several times, and were a great source for resturant recommendations for my only trip there in the late '90s.
I don't recall why I was visiting my grandmother when Katrina was about to hit landfall. We likely went to lunch and I probably did my laundry. But I'm grateful that I've that positive - almost mundane memory of the two of us watching TV together.
Posted By Anonymous Colleen, Pottstown, PA : 6:00 PM ET
I remember staying up all night praying that the cell phones would not go out. My future brother-in-law was on the phone texting from Chicago and I was in Ohio. My sisters had decided to evacuate from the north shore and I had my computer on trying to find lodging in North Louisiana. Everything was booked. Before morning dawned, they were in Longview, Texas and I had called every Watkins in the directory until I reached distant relatives who remembered us. They gladly welcomed my sisters and nephew into their home. They stayed in Longview for several days before returning to Louisiana. When they did, they were fortunate, unlike many of my relatives in New Orleans. Two weeks passed before I heard from my father and many others were without communication capabilities. I felt helpless. The sun was shining in Ohio, yet my family was going through the worst experience imaginable. I pray that in this microwave society that we live in, we do not so soon forget New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. When people ask why should New Orleans rebuild, I think about my family, my memories, my heritage and then ask "Why not?"
Posted By Anonymous Karla Jones, Strongsville Ohio : 6:05 PM ET
I live in Texas not to far from all the that was happening. I awoke and turned the TV to the weather reports. My first thought was "God have mercy on all those people, let them me safe."

But as it turned out many were not be be safed. Many lost their lives and their homes not just in New Orleans but many, many, other towns.

May God continue to bless every one and may all who lost their lives be for every remembered.

God Bless
Posted By Anonymous Alma, Arlington TX : 6:13 PM ET
What I remember most, is my worrying about the safety of my family members. At that time, we were stationed in St Louis, Mo. We took in three family members. Others were dispersed across Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas. But, to see so many that did not leave was heart wrenching. At one moment you cried and then the tears turned into anger towards the local and federal government. A year later, I am still upset. As a native of Louisiana, it is embarassing to know that we've come so far but have gone so far back.
Posted By Anonymous Carolyn, Fort Hood, Texas : 4:27 PM ET
I was at work when I saw several young people who were standed with signs that read "HELP, HELP, HELP." I was emotionally overcome and cried. I just couldn't believe the Katrina aftermath scene of ineptitude was happening in THIS country. I still can't believe it.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Ellen Ellis, Akron, OH : 4:29 PM ET
I was a Red Cross volunteer at the Lower 9th Ward. The faces of people, women, children and elderly have forerever been imprinted in my mind. I volunteered because of your reporting. Then I saw the bodies, the the flies, maggots and waste. But most of all, I saw the people who had lost everything but their dignity and spirit. Two children who came to the RC tent at N.Claiborn and Caffin were relating their story, and suddenly ran to a woman who approached the tent, hugged her and cried. They only knew her as "the cookie lady." She sold them cookies after school...their new school that was now a cavernous memory of happy days. Thank for your compassion. P.S. great book.
Mary Lou Hipolito.
Posted By Anonymous San Jose, California : 4:47 PM ET
Please, please...someone remember Mississippi. Whole towns are nothing but slabs and debris. Gutted out homes. Roofs standing on pilings with nothine beneath it. Please remember us. Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida are the real Gulf Coast areas affected by the STORM...
Posted By Anonymous Kathryn, Moss Point, MS : 4:52 PM ET
Aug 29th has now become a bitter-sweet day for me. On August 29, 1998, my husband and I were married at Tullis Manor in Biloxi, Mississippi. As we all know, on August 29, 2005, Tullis Manor was one of the many historic homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

What I think upsets me the most is the lack of coverage for Mississippi. Entire communities were virtually erased yet the media continues to focus on what occurred in New Orleans. There are two bridges - one between Ocean Springs and Biloxi, the other in Bay St. Louis - that were destroyed. I believe the expected time line for these bridges to be back in use is 2008. There are several stories about life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that could be told that would not put the emphasis on the re-opening of Mississippi's casinos. I don't know that anyone will ever fully understand the reasoning behind the media's apparent lack of coverage of Mississippi, I know that I don't.
Posted By Anonymous Janet McKinney, Ocean Springs, MS : 5:05 PM ET
I am a Respiratory Therapist who spent time volunteering at a Red Cross Shelter in Shreveport, 6 hours north of New Orleans and the devastated areas of Katrina's rage. I remember most the tears and stories of those coming to the Hirsch Colesium. The evacuees just hugged us and thanked us over and over. There were tired, exhausted people upon people... so many cots, mattresses and blankets. Children trying to play with donated toys. The look on their faces told us their little worlds were just ripped out from under them. But they laughed and played like children do.
My own two children, aged 8 and 10, helped for hours to load a semi-truck with donated supplies. They also celebrated a birthday in September without gifts: we asked instead for donations to the Red Cross. They understood the need and were happy to do it.
In my own hospital where I work, I continued to meet more evacuees, several of them with no place to go. Their stories have stayed with me through this year and will forever. May God Bless the survivors and those who died in Louisiana and Mississpi. May we never repeat the mistakes that led to so many lives being lost.
Posted By Anonymous A.J., Bossier City, LA : 5:09 PM ET
Last year I watched with horror as a city was slowly destroyed.

I watched the same thing in 2004....but it was Punta Gorda, Florida

Remember Punta Gorda? It was wiped out by Hurricane Charley. That hurricane went onto damage cities like Arcadia and Frostproof and then inflict great damage on Orlando and Daytona Beach. Charlie was followed by three other hurricanes within a space of 6 weeks.

Was there CNN coverage of the one year anniversary of Charley? (8/13/05)

Funny, you didn't see the people of those cities calling themselves victims and blaming the goverment a year after the hurricanes. Granted these cities are smaller than New Orleans, but they still have a lot of damage 24 months later!

The difference here is that people in places like Punta Gorda and Arcadia took it upon themselves to clean up and get things right. They worked with groups like Habitat for Humanity to rebuild their houses, schools, and intrastructure. They didn't depend on Washington to fix everything.

I feel compasion for those in New Orleans, but I also feel they need to help themselves too. The victim mentality can only go so far before it becomes irksome.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Annapolis MD : 5:16 PM ET
As an RN, it's hard to distinguish between who you are and what you do. I watched 24/7 the coverage, looking at my mother, crying, wanting to go, unable to take time from work/family. A year later, not much has changed. I think in my own life how much has changed in a year, and I simply can not fathom how the AMERICANS faced with all of this tradegy have made/are making it through.
What can we do Anderson? Who should we write? I have sent money thru the Red Cross et other agencies, but that's not enough. We have a war in Iraq, where troops are being killed everyday, and our own war, right here, just a few states over from my family doesn't get the same resources???
Thank you for standing by the people!
Posted By Anonymous Teresa Wisher, Kokomo, IN : 5:22 PM ET
I too cannot forget New Orleans - one of the places my husband and I loved so much to go - the food, the colors, the smells - so vibrant. I am drawn to it just like I was to New York after 9/11 and feel disgust at the Ray Nagin statement about the "big hole 5 years later". What an embarrassment to his job and to his city. I hope that New Orleans can be rebuilt and rise out of the ashes. Too bad gaming hotels don't throw the money into New Orleans like they have into Mississippi. I was in New Orleans in February 2006 and having dinner at Galatoire's, it was as if the disaster had never occurred - a typical Sunday after evening church services. Then in the light of the next day, we visited the Lower 9th Ward - only blocks away and yet a lifetime away. Total devastation. Make all of us remember, Anderson!
Posted By Anonymous Dannette Johnson, Dallas, Texas : 5:41 PM ET
My most vivid memory was during the evacuation drive, when Garland Robinette on WWL 870 said he was told in Vietnam that if he "didn't hear birds in the jungle, something was very wrong, and on August 28," the day before Katrina hit, "there are no parrots in the palm trees in Lakeview."

That was the first time I was scared for my city. We had dodged the bullet so many times before.

Note the devistation did happen in the upper middle class neighborhood of Lakeview and that part of town is still virtually destroyed.

We want to buy a house in Lakeview and live there and be a part of the rebirth, but insurance will cost us $11,000 a year. This is on a house that had only 2 feet of water and is 3 feet above the FEMA defined flood plain. Can you add $916 a month to your house note?

Why haven't people rebuilt? No insurance to fund tearing down the house or not enough insurance to make the house whole again.

For me, it keeps coming back to insurance. My personal experience is that my insurance company didn't want to repair the 2 foot hole in my ceiling, but did agree to pay to resurface my pool. They actually asked me why I had my roof repaired. BECAUSE OF ALL THE WATER!

Keep talking, Anderson. People are listening.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, New Orleans, LA : 6:24 PM ET
The devastating images of people and animals stranded on rooftops, cars, any high place, waiting for help. The enormous pride I felt in my fellow Americans for volunteering any way they could, however they could. I could only help by caring for displaced animals in my capacity as a volunteer with the SPCA of Texas. I am especially proud of the the young people, such as Erin (whose comment revealed enough to know that she went to my alma mater, Austin College!), who gave up plans for cruises, etc. to help total strangers. My faith in the current government may be shaken, but not my faith in the basic good in Americans in general and especially the generation just coming into adulthood! I have high hopes for their futures!
Posted By Anonymous Terri Chapin Sherman, TX : 7:17 PM ET
What has really stuck with me is the story of the man whose wife let go of his hand and told him to take care of the kids--I belive his name was Hardy, but I am unsure.

The fact that so many people have forgotten about New Orleans, MS, and AL so quickly really continues to hurt me. Thanks for making everyone remember--keep up the good work.
Posted By Anonymous Alyce--Dayton, OH : 7:28 PM ET
I spent three weeks volunteering at the Astrodome in the aftermath of the storm. The things I saw irrevocably changed who I am. Or maybe it just brought to light a part of me that I did not know existed. Regardless, I am a better person for it.

I saw few media images that reflected what I saw. The media had limited access to the interior of the Astrodome. I did not bring a camera. I was a guest in the home of these thousands of displaced citizens and it just didn't seem right. Regardless, the images are
forever etched in my mind as clear as any photograph. The only difference is that I cannot share them with others. A year later the images have not faded. I hope they never do.

If there is any one image that is more poinant than any of the others, it was the elderly gentleman in New Orleans that I had seen on the news. The reporter painted a grim future for him. But two days later I saw him alive and well in the Astrodome in Houston. To me, he was the posterchild for Hope. He has no family and no friends and I have no idea what happened to him after that day, but I will never forget him. His name is Francis Zeiner.

We cannot forget. We can choose to ignore it. We can push it further into the closets of our soul. But we can never forget. What is experienced is irrecovably a part of our conscience.
Posted By Anonymous Sue Dimenn Deigaard, Houston, TX : 10:41 PM ET
I live in Hope Arkansas, which at that point in tme seemed like a pretty long way from New Orleans but as night time of the first day drew near, we became much closer. Our town is a town of about ten thousand and we took in somewhere around 600 evacuees. The first night my wife and I helped with a newly arranged coalition and the first location was the First United Methodist Church. That night we fed somewhere around 400. I will never forget walking through the middle of the fellowdhip hall feeling dazed, confused and helpless. The reason for this was seeing the despiration in these peoples eyes and realizing how they must feel having lost so much and the uncertainty of it all. We provided housing for several families and felt guilty that we could not do more. Though this was such a terrible time in American History, it showed the best aspects of American Humanity in hometown America.
Posted By Anonymous John Hays, Hope Arkansas : 11:21 PM ET
Let's remeber not to forget.
Posted By Anonymous Jeannette, Huntington , New York : 12:00 AM ET
Not sure if you will post anymore stories for this blog, but I wanted to share this. Last year, me, my husband and some other volunteers whent to Waveland, MS to help rebuild & build new homes with Habitat for Humanity. We became very close with one family who we helped rebuild their house. To go a step further, our group invited this man & his wife to come visit us in San Diego around Xmas time. Our whole community, families and friends pitched in to buy the plane tickets, set up housing, and host them. My parents even went out and bought some Xmas presents, things they could use in their new house. My husband's work even got into the act and wanted to donate something. We ended up on everyone contributing to a fund, and we bought a Walmart gift card, so they could choose for themselves what they needed to start their lives over. They were the most wonderful people, had a great trip to San Diego, and we will never forget that experience. I hope this gets posted, because I encourage others to do try the same things!

Thanks Anderson, we will never forget the kindness we recieved from these folks who had no reason to accept us, let alone befriend us.
Posted By Anonymous Monique, San Diego, CA : 12:56 AM ET
Aug 25,watching as our parking lot was filling up with water. It was ONLY a CAT 1, but the next morning parts of my town were flooded.

Aug 29, I turn on the TV to CNN. Aaron Brown is on talking with a reporter over the phone. Her name was Jeanne Meserve. With only hearing her voice, I can picture the horror she has witnessed and feel her pain of being unable to help every voice who was calling out. I will never forget her trembling, painful, sorrowful voice.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Homestead, FL : 1:58 AM ET
We were there in the weeks before Katrina. My friend had never been there so we went to Emerils, gotta "go cup in the Quarter, went to my favorite cemetary and stayed in a charming inn on dauphine.

Sitting at home, e-mailing pics of the weekend to him, I watched CNN coverage of the disaster. The storm, the levees, the devastation, the humanity, the generosity of some and the ignorance of others.

Media helicopters displaying live photos in my living room as distraught locals, stranded on steaming roof tops, waving bandanas, shirts, signs... WE ARE HERE! WE NEED HELP!

Where were the emergency crews, rescue teams, the water, the ice, food, doctors and nurses? Where do we go? How do we get there? Where is the Red Cross, FEMA, the Mayor? For those of us who have insurance, why are we being told we're not covered? Mr. Bush, don't forget us down here!

And now a year has passed with no real understanding of how so many bright, talented politicians and their experts could have so overwhelmingly failed. How they have continued to abuse these communities, yet still offer soundbites about how many millions of dollars have been allocated to the region? Not to be confused with the billions dumped down oil drains somewhere in the Mid-East.

Where is it? A very serious case of the check is in the mail, perhaps?

The White House has running water, electricity, refrigeration, A/C (no not Cooper) doctors and plenty of food. So does the Mayor and the others Representing these districts.

How much would you pay Mr. President, to ensure that your family was safe from contaminated water, overflowing sewers, deceased persons (not dead bodies) decomposing in the house or trailer down the street?

How much, Sir, to know that it won't happen when your toddler, playing outside finds another dead animal, a lost pet or something wild attracted by the growing noxious odors, not scents, of this devastated place called home?

$100.00, $10,000.00, $1 Billion...?

And we're still anxiously waiting, while we try to put as many pieces of the puzzle of New Orleans back together.

When, Sir? When will it happen...after another another European Barbeque, a short trip the ranch, maybe just a little hop to Camp David? I'm sorry sir, but we are paying for those trips...

And we want ANSWERS not soundbites.

Thanks You CNN and Anderson Cooper and other Teams for the great continuing coverage...
Posted By Anonymous Ellay, Germantown, MD : 2:11 AM ET
It is hard for me to believe that one year ago, the Gulf Coast was truly changed forever.
I was not born in Mississippi. I moved here about 3 years ago from Wisconsin. My husband was raised in Hattiesburg, so we relocated in Wiggins MS to be near his family. We are approximately 25 miles from Gulfport. Katrina was only my 2nd hurricane, so I was scared to begin with. The day before it actually hit, I spent time filling up with gas and shopping like a maniac. We also decided to send our daughter with my parents to Arkansas, they were too scared to try to ride out the storm. My husband thought I was crazy to worry so much.
I remember during the storm when I reached a point that I could not be any more scared. It was blowing 125 plus outside and our brick house was creaking like it was made of wood. At that time, a kind of acceptance came over me and I thought whatever comes, we will handle it. Thinking back, we were very lucky, we had trees down, a damaged window and roof, but our house held up. We watched parts of our neighbors houses fly away. It was very surreal, the most frightening thing I have ever been through.

It was a couple of days before we could use a phone or even get down the street, with all the damage in our town, but we did have a generator. Our first glimpse of TV showed an absolutely decimated Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We were speechless as we sat there and looked at all the pictures. My parents cried when we were finally able to call them thanks to a phone store that set up a free booth outside of their ruined business. There are so many things that I could reflect on looking back to that week after the storm. However, I dont want to look back. I look forward to our lives getting back to normal down here. The thing is, all you see on TV is whose fault is it?? Who can they blame for everything that went wrong in New Orleans? Who can they blame for what is still wrong?? Who CARES??? That does not help all the people who still need it. I turn off every news program that starts to point fingers, because how can they understand, how can they know, what it was like to live through that, because if they did, they would get down on their knees and thank God just to be alive. And once that was done, get off their knees and get to work rebuilding their lives, with no complaint, no finger pointing and no political bull, like so many people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast have done. I am so proud to live here, so proud to be among people who are so resilient. I defy the city, state and federal government to set aside all their political bickering and take a clue from the people that live down here, working together is what will rebuild our community, not finger pointing.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly, Wiggins MS : 2:36 AM ET
Last year this time I was planning on taking a road trip to New Orleans. I was considering moving to New Orleans at the end of 2005.As I was gettig ready to make my final travel plans, I saw the news and the storm that was approaching. From August 29th to December 29 I watched the events unfold. I knew that I was moving to New Orleans. I arrived four months after the storm, and was welcomed by my new neighbors. My friends and family were quite concerned about my move. They have not said it out loud to me , but they think that I am nuts. Some say that this a major leap of faith on my part. In away they are right. I have great faith in this city and the people who call it home.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa, New Orleans, LA : 10:37 AM ET
I think it's important to shame our government into taking responsibility for the negligence after Katrina-not just for New Orleans, but the entire Gulf Coast. They should have fingers pointed at them. They are repsonsible for the people who sat on their rooftops for DAYS after the storm passed. How did the media get in and not FEMA? You should ask yourself that question and hope that you don't find yourself in the same situation one day. If if wasn't for the press, we wouldn't have known half of what was happening. I think the world needed that shock factor. We still need it, because so little progress has been made in the Gulf. We need to see what is still left to do, and maybe the government will be shamed into responding more quickly when this happens again..and it will.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 10:38 AM ET
August 30, 2006

Dear Mr. Cooper,

It might seem a little late to talk about your book "dispatches from the edge" but I couldn't think of a better time to do so as it was the anniversary of Katrina and I just finished reading the book.

I must confess that I wasn't able to read it through overnight; it took me about two weeks. There were so many times that I must stop, put the book down and walk around to digest the pain and devastation described in the lines. I tried to taste the pain that your recoreded. Not because I don't know pain and fear. Quite the contrary, I know ecactly what they are but I rather experience pain than live without a heart which can feel, including joy and hope. Often, joy and hope are more precious and powerful after suffering.

There is no "favorites" in the book for me. No one favors sadness. But I remember many chapters of it, two lines in particular: "alone on the beach. a sad little boy" in Sri Lanka, and "I cried" after Somalia in Nairobi. The picture of you and the two little student-monks at the beach is one of my favorite pictures: you were communicating.

After reading your book, I went on line and got some very beautiful pictures of the past of the regions. I remembered I had some people visited from New Orleans some years ago in New York. A lady gave me a cluster of purple and green beads which are the singature of their famous Carnival. She insited in putting the beads around my neck, and invited me to visit their city. Her voice was filled with so much laughter and excitement.

I didn't plan to visit them then,but I'd love to go to visit New Orleans and Mississippi when I go to the States again, whether the rebuilding is done or is still in process. A tourist may not make much difference, but it is also possible to transfer some strength to someone over there in some way. That is how the difference made, agree? You doubted often in the book whether what you reported or told had made any difference. Right here and right now, let me assure you that you did. Word finds its own way.

Thank you very much for your book, I love it. It makes me appreciate my life more.

Please keep up the good work with a heart that is filled with hope.

Nitza, Jerusalem, Israel
Posted By Anonymous Nitza, Jerusalem, Israel : 2:40 PM ET
I teach American History. The day Katrina hit, we were just beginning our section on the Louisiana Purchase. My opening question for the day..."Why was New Orleans an important city?" We talked about the port and the history of the city, and at the end of the period, one of my students said, "What's happening? Is it still there?" and we got online, to, to see what was happening to New Orleans.

Of course, it was the next day, that the real destruction was clear for the students and I to see from Nebraska.

Of all the images and all the stories, the thing that sticks with me most is teaching about the history of the city on that very day, and hearing a 16 year old boy say so somberly, "is it still there?"
Posted By Anonymous Amy, Fremont, Nebraska : 2:22 PM ET
I remember the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the beautiful antebellum homes, excellent seafood, wonderful beaches, rich culture, heritage and hospitality. On August 29th, 2005 many MS Gulf Coast communities were virtually erased from existance. Who else remembers?
Posted By Anonymous Rob, Miami FL : 4:28 PM ET
Well at the time, it brought back a lot of memories of the 1953 breaking of the leevees here, The Netherlands. When 1835 people died. All because of the cobination of springtide and storm.

Afther that a lot of leevees where build but also a lot of new ideas came up on how to protect the region without harming the enviorment or the economy.

Talking to americans of the net now I see nothing of those ideas back to protect the city from the sea. Like there is the idea that it couldn't be done, that they are better of just leaving it. Well beeing from the country that is largly living under sea level I can tell you it can be done.
What is done to keep this from repeating? who is in charge of watermanagement there? What are the plans for extra leevees and so on? What's done to clean up all the chemicals that are in the soil now?
Posted By Anonymous N.Haasnoot, Zeist, The Netherlands : 1:40 PM ET
I lived in New Orleans all my life, until Katrina. Then with my daughter for 3 months, and now we have stayed and bought a house here in Slidell. I had Home Owners insurance, but not flood, so it hasn't been easy. The city may bulldoze our home, it had 10' of water in it, that took 3 weeks to go down.

We left our home on the Saturday night before Katrina struck New Orleans on Monday. We filled our van with as many boxes of pictures and other personal things that meant something to us. I wish I could have taken my house! When we were about to drive away, for what I didn't once believe was going to be forever, I realized I had forgotten something, and I went back inside to get it. Upon leaving that time, as I got to the living room I stopped and stood there for 2 or 3 minutes and looked around. I asked God to please let me return to view all this again. Tears came to my eyes, and I walked out, for what turned out being the last time. We lived in that house for 44 years, bought it when we were married 18 months. A year later and so much has changed in our lives now. It's like there is never going to be an end to it. Today my husband has lung cancer. We were told in January, after half his lung had been removed, that they got it all. They didn't, 5 months later it was in his lymp nodles. He's being given chemo at this time. He may have 2 years. On top of everything else, a man called me last week from the SBA, telling me I have to give back $10,500. that FEMA put into our checking account for the house in New Orleans. And I'm still trying to figure out why?
We learned of this 3 days after moving into this house across Lake Pontchartrain.
Posted By Anonymous Consuelo Vinot, Slidell, La 70460 : 2:57 AM ET
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