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Special Event

Millennium 2000: Chicago, New Orleans Crowd the Streets with Revelers

Aired January 1, 2000 - 0:25 a.m. ET

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we showed you some people dipping into the water of The Mall there in Washington, D.C. between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: You know, the last time I saw someone doing this, Judy...

WOODRUFF: Look at this.

SHAW: ... was when there -- Look at this.

WOODRUFF: Now there must be some music. Can we hear the music that they're dancing to?

SHAW: Maybe it's internal music.

WOODRUFF: It could very well be. You know...

SHAW: The last time I saw someone dancing and standing in this Reflecting Pool before the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was when Stevie Wonder was singing at a tribute, the 20th anniversary of the Martin Luther King address from the memorial, the "I Have a Dream" speech during the march on Washington. And people were literally dancing, doing what these two young women were just doing, dancing in the Reflecting Pool.

WOODRUFF: You know that Washington Monument, people may say, well, gee, when are they going to finish all the construction work on it? But when you light up the scaffolding around it, it is something to behold.

SHAW: The spirits are very high everywhere as the millennium comes to the various time zones in the United States and Central America and Canada and South America. And as our correspondents have indicated, everyone is in a good mood. No problems to report.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're -- You'd think that from these pictures in Washington and New York, that it was all over with the shouting in the United States of America. But we're going to take you to a big city in the Midwest, Chicago.

We don't know what they're doing in any pools in Chicago, but Jeff Flock, you're going to bring us up to date. They are having a very special celebration.

SHAW: So we can see.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that camera, Judy and Bernie, that you see out there is out by the lakefront, but you'd have to be pretty crazy to get in the water tonight, even though it's fairly warm by Chicago standards.

Inside here, the McCormack Place Convention Center, however, considerably warmer, and they are dancing it away. The Chicago 2000 international millennium celebration is on in full swing. Outside, there will be bigtime fireworks in about a half an hour.

And inside, you know, you spend a lot of money and time at CNN today talking to people all around the world. Well, the fact is all you had to do was come to Chicago, because it's a veritable United Nations of people that have been brought here, two people from each country in the known world.

And I have a group of them with me, and I'd like to first just ask you, what is your name and where are from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Skerrit Christopherson. I come from Norway.

FLOCK: And you, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hans from Norway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, I'm Krieg from Scotland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Adetica Badejeau from Nigeria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Douie Badejeau from Nigeria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zee McMoores from Morocco, Casa Blanca.

FLOCK: How has it been in Chicago? How's this experience been.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wonderful, and it's the first experience that we hope that it will be every year like this in all over the world because it's a message of peace that the world have to keep every year in mind and to repeat it but not forgetting it.

FLOCK: I must ask you if you're surprised that there haven't been any Y2K computer problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really a surprise that there was no problem with the Y2K (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And for one thing, Chicago is a country that has done so well in computer and understands the technology of the new computer. So I am not surprised at all.

FLOCK: I must ask Krieg from Scotland, a while ago, we saw some people in The Mall in Washington, D.C. wading in the water.

Billy, I'll ask you to show Krieg is wearing native dress. Have you been bothered by the weather in Chicago?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's been quite warm, fortunately, so it hasn't been a problem.

FLOCK: I must ask you folks from Norway finally, before we get away, what has been the best part of this experience of bringing virtually the entire world together?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I've been meeting all these different people, and all -- To meet all these itself is wonderful experience. To meet the people of Chicago, too, has been very nice.

FLOCK: We appreciate you folks. A Noah's ark here in Chicago tonight. And, of course, we're not even close yet. We still have a good half hour away, and all I can say is we wasted a lot of money at CNN today going all around the world. All you had to do was come here to Chicago.

Bernie, Judy?

SHAW: Jeff Flock, thanks so very much.

Well, we're not going to waste any time. Let's call in Lou Waters. He's in the Big Easy.

Lou?

LOU WATERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I am, Bernie, and I've been looking at all those pictures of the masses of humanity in Washington and New York. I heard Mayor Giuliani talk about spread out in a mile in all directions from Times Square.

Take a look at Bourbon Street tonight. We're talking about 76, 78 square blocks packed in like sardines down there, but unlike the rowdy and gaudy Mardi Gras, you'll even see a few tuxedos and evening gowns associated with this millennium celebration here in the Big Easy. Although they're crowded in and there are many tens of thousands of people, perhaps hundreds of thousands, it's not as big as Mardi Gras, the police tell me. Hotels are about 80, 90 percent booked. They're one hundred percent booked for Mardi Gras.

It is a big party. All police are off their days off and vacations through next Wednesday, because after this party comes the Sugar Bowl at the Super Dome on Tuesday, back-to-back parties to start out the New Year.

We're going to move down here on the edge of the Mississippi River, where it's getting a little cool now, fog rolling in. It's been very warms days. It's a gentle evening, but there's a slight chill in the air now as we await the next 25 minutes or so for them to light the candle on the barges out here in the middle of the Mississippi River and shoot the massive fireworks display over Jackson Square and over the river walk here where some of those sardines have managed to squeeze out of Bourbon Street. And they're joining us down here now for the big show, Bernie, Judy. SHAW: OK.

WOODRUFF: All right, Lou Waters, that's something definitely we will look forward to. Seventy-eight square blocks. You know, I know the folks in New York are proud of what they've gotten.

Look, here's Washington. We're back on The Mall in Washington. It looks like a lot of people are getting into the -- into the water there in the Reflecting Pool. We leave you with that picture as the clock says we are just 25 minutes away from midnight in the Central time zone of the United States, parts of Canada, parts of South America.

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