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New Orleans Three Months after Katrina Hit; Bush's Iraq Plans; Saddam on Trial -- In the Crosshairs; Wild Weather; Substitute School; Kids Helping Kids

Aired November 28, 2005 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back. We are live in this hour of 360. Live from New Orleans from the Third District, where really little has changed in the three months since this storm hit. Everywhere you can still find people's possessions. Here's a vacuum cleaner, just laying out where it was washed away by this storm. We'll have a lot more from New Orleans tonight.

Also, an attack -- a grizzly attack in Texas.

ANNOUNCER (voice-over): A woman is attacked by a pack of stray dogs. A good Samaritan tries to save her. He gets attacked and his wife makes this 911 call.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Right here... get 'em.


ANNOUNCER: Jack Hanna will be live with us to explain the dangerous behavior of animals in packs.

With public relations damage from the war in Iraq mounting, is the president adjusting his strategy?


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.


ANNOUNCER: Two days before a major speech on the war, President Bush unveils a new script, intended to go straight to the hearts and minds of the American people.

And the kiss of death? The alarming story of a girl with an allergy to peanuts. She died after kissing her boyfriend. Dr. Sanjay Gupta with what you can do to stop allergies from turning deadly.

This is a special edition of Anderson Cooper 360. Live from New Orleans, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: A lot to cover this hour. First, a look at some of the headlines at this moment.

President Bush is pushing a two-prong plan on an issue that has divided lawmakers on Capitol Hill -- immigration. At an Air Force base in Arizona, Mr. Bush said today he wants to crack down on illegal immigrants, but also give out more Visas to foreigners with jobs. Tomorrow he tries to sell his plan in Texas.

In Washington tonight, a supreme mystery. What caused a chunk of marble, the size of a basketball, to fall from the front of the Supreme Court building onto the stairs below? The marble shattered into dozens of pieces this morning near visitors waiting to enter the building. No one fortunately was hurt.

In San Diego, Congressman quits after pleading guilty to bribery. Randy Duke Cunninghan -- that's his name. He's an eight-term Republican. He admitted to taking more than $2 million in cash and gifts. The bribe, from a military contractor, hoping to do business with the Defense Department. Cunningham's going to be sentenced in February. He faces a maximum 10 years in prison.

And a lot of angry people demanding answers about a ski lift malfunction that left dozens of skiers stranded for hours in the dark and freezing temperatures. It happened yesterday at Canada's popular Lake Louise Resort. Ski patrollers had to rescue passengers from gondolas by hooking them to cables and harnesses, lowering them to the ground. Some of the trapped skiers suffered frostbite.

Here's -- that's what's happening right now in this moment. What's strange, though, about being back here in New Orleans, is you'd think three months after Katrina hit, more would have been rebuilt already, but it really hasn't. Yes, Bourbon Street is kind of back up and running, probably about 50 percent of what it once was. But in neighborhoods like this one, in the Third District near the London Canal, little has changed here in these three months.

And you find these just surreal images. Look at this. This is actually a chair which is just completely buried under feet and feet of mud. All this mud was brought here, was swept here. You've just tons of mud and sand and debris brought here by the water that burst through the canal and just burst through people's homes.

Look at this. It just completely knocked through this window. They've hung a couple of the clothes that they were able to spare. Still out here, and if you look, if you (inaudible) in there, the only thing it looks like they were able to salvage was a photograph of some of the people form this family.

And house after house like this, in all these neighborhoods -- and there's no telling if this neighborhood is going to be rebuilt at all. We're going to talk more about the rebuilding of New Orleans in this next hour on 360.

But first, we want to talk about the war in Iraq and what may be a shift in White House strategy on the war. CNN's Dana Bash has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush is prepared to flush out his thinking a bit on bringing some U.S. troops home from Iraq. Senior administration officials tell CNN Mr. Bush will do so in a series of speeches, beginning Wednesday at the Naval Academy, where according to one official, he will offer more detail into quote, "what will guide his decision-making on troop levels." It is an effort after weeks on the defensive to reassert control over the bruising Iraq political debate that even has close Bush allies increasingly worried.

BUSH: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to know what that means and we need to be reassuring that we are not agreeing to some open-ended commitment.

BASH: For months, Mr. Bush has made clear -- withdrawal of American forces depends on the ability of the Iraqis to battle the insurgency. At Annapolis, aides say Mr. Bush is expected to avoid U.S. troop numbers or explicit time tapes for withdrawing U.S. forces, but focus on what he will insist is progress Iraqis are making in training to secure their own country.

The White House hopes that and the December 15 Iraqi elections of a permanent government will usher in more stability. The secretary of state already signaled to CNN some troop reductions are coming.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: I suspect that American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they're there for all much longer because Iraqis are continuing to make progress.

BASH: Veteran Republican Activist Tom Rath says in his home state of New Hampshire and around the country, what people want to hear from the president is a plan.

TOM RATH, VETERAN REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST: There is concern about knowing who we get to an end game -- how do we get to the final point? And there's a need -- I think you do hear people say tell us how we're going to get out of this.

BASH: But given past problems training Iraqis, one influential Republican voice urges caution.

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR(R), FOREIGN RELATIONS CHAIRMAN: There could be a very, very unpleasant interim if we are not very careful in terms of the training we are giving.


BASH: And there appears to be consensus that the next six months will be crucial in determining whether Iraqis can stabilize their own country. But, Anderson, one thing White House aides insist Mr. Bush will still outright reject is a specific timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops that many Democrats are demanding.

COOPER: Just recently, though, weren't we being told on Capitol Hill by military leaders that there were only about 700 Iraqi soldiers who were sort of ready to operate on their own? What's changed in the weeks since then?

BASH: And I think it was one battalion, and that was what General Casey told members of Congress. You're exactly right and that appeared to contradict what the president had said before in terms of really trying to talk up the Iraqi security. This is not going to be the first time Mr. Bush is going to do that. And that is certainly one thing, Anderson, that we are going to be looking for and listening for -- all of us -- is to see the kinds of progress -- hear the kind of progress that the president is going to claim the Iraqis are making and to see how that jives with what's really going on on the ground.

Credibility is certainly a big issue for the president when it comes to Iraq and this is at this point a key sort of thing to watch for when it comes to credibility, but it's interesting to sort of see even today how from the Pentagon military officials appear to be laying the ground work for talking up the fact that more Iraqi security forces are actually taking control of various parts of Iraq, laying the groundwork for what the president is going to start to make the case for this week and about a speech a week in about a month to come.

COOPER: Right. Well, it's interesting. Every time I've been over there, I talk to soldiers, they are very skeptical of the Iraqis they are working with. And I was just talking to Baghdad Bureau Chief Michael Ware from "TIME Magazine," who said to a man, every soldier he's ever been with has just kind of scoffed at the notion that these Iraqis are ready to fight on their own. So we'll see how the reality on the ground jives with what we're being told out of Washington. Dana Bash, thanks.

The person coalition troops removed from power was back in court today. Of course, though, not for long. The judge in the trial for Saddam Hussein has delayed proceedings once again, postponing them a week after defense lawyers expressed a number of concerns, including those about their own safety. CNN's Aneesh Raman reports those defending the former regime are finding themselves in the crosshairs.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some fear today's decision to adjourn Saddam's trial again is like announcing an extension of hunting season, where it's as if anyone connected to Saddam's trial is fair game.

It began right after Saddam's trial began in mid-October. One of the 13 defense attorneys representing the former dictator and his henchmen was found dead -- killed by a single bullet. And then two and a half weeks later, the murder of another defense attorney. In the second assassination, the victim was driving near his home in western Baghdad. One by one it seems, the lawyers for Saddam and his seven co-defendants are being hunted down and then murdered. In fact, today's delay came because Saddam's co-defendants, whose lawyers were killed, need to find new ones. And if the assassin's goal is to prevent the trial from ever really starting, then the strategy could be working.

DR. NAJEEB NUAIMI, SADDAM DEFESNE ATTORNEY: Our friends, our colleagues, had incidents. They then -- they informed us not to leave our homes and not to -- we couldn't meet our clients. We couldn't meet our clients. We had very hard circumstances.

RAMAN: So who is killing Saddam's lawyers and why? There are as many suspects as motives. From Sunni insurgents who simply want to stop the trial, to Shia militias. Saddam killed tens of thousands of Shia. And for the militias, its possible payback time for anyone associated with the former president.

LEITH KUBBA, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER'S SPOKESMAN: This is not an ordinary trial. This man has harmed over one million Iraqis. There is nearly one million Iraqis buried underground. And their families are waiting to see justice.

RAMAN: The Iraqi government wants to provide Saddam's attorneys security, but the attorneys don't trust the government.

RICHARD DICKER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: It's essential that protection be provided for the defense. If that can't be arranged, then the question as a last resort does become where else could this trial be held?

RAMAN: Leaving defense lawyers in fear for their lives.

(On camera) Perhaps not only the defense -- even before court was adjourned today a new and especially bold assassination plot was uncovered. The target this time -- the chief investigative judge and spokesman for Saddam's trial. Aneesh Raman, CNN, Baghdad.


COOPER: Next on 360, when man's best friend becomes a killer. A shocking and very disturbing story out of Texas. One you simply have to hear to believe.

Also, a deadly storm in the Plaines, snow for some, late-season tornadoes for others; hundreds have been left stranded. We'll show you the dramatic video and have an update on conditions there.

And throughout the hour we'll be checking up on some of the people we've met over the last three months for better and sometimes for worse.

Michael Brown became the poster boy for the slow federal response to Hurricane Katrina. He stepped down as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on September 12, but managed to remain on the FEMA payroll, continuing to collect his annual salary of $148,000 until November 2, nearly two months after he resigned. Homeland Security officials claim it was to help the agency with a transition to a new director.

Today, Brown is marketing his expertise by starting his own disaster preparedness consulting firm in Boulder, Colorado. Brown plans to help clients, quote, "focus on preparedness."


COOPER: Across the Plaines this weekend, one storm system sparked two very different types of storms -- both of them deadly. Take a look at what some folks in Arkansas woke up to -- heavily damaged homes. Some of them destroyed by high winds and tornadoes.

Meanwhile, it's a very different story in Colorado. People there are still trapped after storms caused near white-out conditions. Parts of major highways remain closed tonight. CNN's Sean Callebs has more on the wild weather.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A storm chaser catches a late-season twister on camera, one of several to hit three states. One damaged more than 30 homes in Kansas, while a weaker tornado in Missouri ripped up some property and knocked out power to thousands. In Arkansas, twisters and high winds wiped out at least eight homes and contributed to at least one death.

While folks in this part of the country are use to tornadoes, last night's storm was somewhat of a surprise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always in the back of your mind that this can happen, but not this late in the season.

CALLEBS: Other parts of the Plaines weren't spared. Blizzard conditions from the same treacherous storm wreaked havoc from North Dakota to the Texas Panhandle. At times, winds reached near 70 miles an hour, causing snow drifts up to six feet high and reducing visibility to zero, leading to a number of car accidents and at least three deaths.

The storm shut down several major highways, including a stretch of Interstate 70, around Denver to the (inaudible) line, threatening hundreds (inaudible) travel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) we can go -- bad weather, the road's closed. There's really no other way to get to where we're going.

CALLEBS: With parts of I-70 still closed, some might not be able to make it home until tomorrow, making a long holiday weekend painfully longer. Sean Callebs, CNN, Denver.


COOPER: Man, what a mess. Let's check in with CNN Meteorologist Rob Marciano at the CNN Weather Center in Atlanta.

Rob, how's it looking now?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The storm just keeps getting bigger. It's a massive storm, Anderson. Look at the size of this. And the cloud canopy goes all the way up through Canada, into Hudson's Bay and then taps into the Gulf of Mexico and there's the center of it, pin-wheeling its way across the mid Plaines. A lot of cold air behind it. A lot of warm air out in front of it. Blizzard conditions continue tonight across much of the northern Plaines, with winds gusting in some cases 50, 60 miles an hour.

Opposite side of this storm, we're looking at warm conditions with humidity bumping into that cold air, and we have severe weather tonight because of that; namely, across the state of Alabama, where seven reports of tornadoes already tonight and a tornado watch remains out for this section for the next 45 minutes.

But Montgomery right now and to the points of the east are starting to get hammered with wind and rain with this. Most of the heavier weather having hit Birmingham, where there was a tornado report there, and that line now heading into north Georgia may or may not clip the Atlanta metro area.

The backside of this storm -- all the white you see on this map, that is snow. And it is blowing hard across many of the interstates from the west -- west of Sioux Falls and Fargo. At times, some of those interstates have been shut down. Around the Sioux Falls area we're looking at 14 inches of snow that fell. This cold air goes to the east, as does the severe weather. Chicago goes down by 30 degrees tomorrow.

The day after tomorrow, Anderson, you'll be happy to know that it's the end of hurricane season officially. And the big wigs at the National Hurricane Center tomorrow morning are going to get together and talk to reporters. We'll pick their brains to see what they thought -- why it was so bad this year and maybe what they think's going to happen next year. That'll be tomorrow night on CNN.

COOPER: Man. Well, good riddance to that. Thanks, very much, Rob.

Katrina's children -- they started school in New Orleans, but are finishing class far away. That in just a moment.

But first, Erica Hill from "Headline News," joins us with some of the other stories we're following tonight.

Hi, Erica.


We start off with a family massacre in Florida. Richard Henderson, Jr., is under arrest tonight for allegedly murdering his parent, brother and grandmother. Police say the 20-year old suspect bludgeoned them to death with a pipe on Thanksgiving night and he has reportedly confessed to the crime.

In the meantime, talk about a bizarre scene on the NFL. A man darted onto the field during yesterday's Eagles-Packers game and spread his mother's ashes there. Christopher Noteboom said his mother was a longtime Eagles fan. After scattering her ashes, he made a sign of the cross. Noteboom was charged with defiant trespass.

In India, soaring to new height for the new world record for the highest flight in a hot air balloon. The balloon -- it's a 67-year old Indian millionaire climbed to nearly 70,000 feet. That beats the previous record by 5,000 feet.

And Anderson, out of Tokyo, it's a dog -- no it's a panda -- no, wait. It's both! No, not some wacky new crossbreed, just a new do for this Maltese mix, died to look like a panda. I mean, and when you put it up on the split screen there, you can really see the similarities, but the little guy's dies are only going to last about a month. After that, who knows what's next.

COOPER: You know, Erica, you try to outdo me with your cute animal stories, but I see your cute panda-dog --

HILL: And you raise me?

COOPER: And I raise you a green puppy. I raise you a green puppy.

HILL: Ah, the green puppy.

COOPER: Remember, this is the story last week, out of California. Now we introduce you to the green fellow, the name is Wasabi (ph). I personally think it's a prank, but it may be the color of the placenta stained the dog. they're not quite sure.

HILL: I still think it's the treats -- the green treats that my dog eats.

COOPER: That's right.

HILL: I sent you some, by the way, but they haven't arrived. So keep checking your interoffice mail.

COOPER: All right.

HILL: I'm serious.

COOPER: Thanks very much, Erica. I'm eagerly awaiting.

Coming up next on 360. Left homeless by Katrina, now they have a new life and a new school in a different state. How hard has it been to start all over again for these kids? You'll hear for yourself.

Also, when a kiss can kill. For those allergic to peanuts, even the tiniest bit -- it can be deadly. What you can do to protect yourself. A story of a 15-year old girl who died after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten peanuts.


COOPER: You're looking at a live picture of Bourbon Street, where people are out and about, as they are just about every night here in New Orleans. But the scene in the rest of this city is very different. Of course, here, in the Third District, where I am, it is a scene still of devastation -- some three months after Katrina kit. You still find people's possessions laying all around, people's homes destroyed and people still left wondering when or if they're ever going to be able to rebuild in some of these neighborhoods.

Earlier we introduced you to some kids in Chico, California, who donated their own change for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. They raised over $1,000 in just a matter of weeks. They wanted to give the money to animals and kids. They weren't sure how to do it, so they sent a letter to CNN, to us, and asked us if we would figure out who was deserving of the money. They wanted to help animals. We took care of that, giving half their money to Noah's Wish, an organization -- we talked about that in the last hour. Now, how they want to help out the kids. Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The school is called New Orleans West.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said when do we get that knowledge?


TUCHMAN: Three hundred fifty miles west, to be precise.

CHILDREN: (Singing).

TUCHMAN: These are the children of Katrina, who started the school year in late August in New Orleans, but are now finishing it in a school in Houston, opened especially for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want either a ding or a dong if you agree or disagree, but not like so you're annoying me, you're just saying it nice and calm. All right, so, one, two, three.


TUCHMAN: This old building had been shut down by the Houston School District, but has been reopened for those left homeless by Katrina, which include the principal, whose school in New Orleans was flooded.

TUCKMAN (on camera): Are you homesick?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, PRINCIPAL: I am. I am, very. Just came back from Thanksgiving holidays and it was tough driving home last -- driving here last night. It was.

TUCKMAN (voice-over): Homesickness is just one of the emotional issues facing the kindergarten through eighth graders at the school. That's why a full-time psychologist is on the staff.

It's her first day and she's meeting all the children. Fifth grader Jashide Harris and his family will be going back to New Orleans to visit during Christmas. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, PSYCHOLOGIST: What are you looking forward to doing in New Orleans?

JASHIDE HARRIS, STUDENT: Just seeing my family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I bet. Do you miss them? It'll be good to get together for the holidays, huh?


TUCHMAN: Some of the students went to New Orleans during Thanksgiving break.

(On camera): Jamiqua Evans saw her destroyed house.

JAMIQUA EVANS, STUDENT: I thought it was bad. I felt sad. Because I saw the houses and they had one dead body out there.

TUCHMAN: That's a hard thing for a little kid to see something like that, isn't it? Does it make you cry?


TUCHMAN: Could you believe that was your neighborhood?


TUCKMAN (voice-over): When we visited New Orleans West two months ago, we met third grader Rajanea Banks and her mother. Rajanea told us she liked her new school.

(On camera): And now you want to stay in Houston?

RAJANEA BANKS, STUDENT: And you have a right.

TUCHMAN: I have a right.

(Voice-over): Snap forward two months later. The encouraging news is Rajanea likes it even more.

(On camera): Who are your best friends here?

BANKS: Michael.

TUCHMAN: Just Michael? Is he a boyfriend or is he a friend?

BANKS: Boyfriend?

TUCHMAN: Boyfriend? Yes, you know.

BANKS: It's a -- it's a girl.


(Voice-over): Three hundred fifty girls and boys go here. Their families are not sure when they can return to New Orleans or whether for some of them if they even want to.


TUCHMAN: When this school opened up in September there were 150 students here -- 200 more have started coming to this school in the last two and a half months. And now there's a waiting list. The school needs donations. We're very proud right now to introduce live, Gray Robichaux, the principal of the school, and tell you that you just heard with us, Anderson talking about it, school children in Chico, California, raised money on their own to be split between two charities. And we are going to get a check from them to give to you for $741.35.

GARY ROBICHAUX, PRINCIPAL: It's very exciting.

TUCHMAN: How does that make you feel?

ROBICHAUX: We appreciate it. Very heartwarming, very proud to be part of a great nation that thinks about us here in Houston.

TUCHMAN: I mean, you're a New Orleanean, you've gone through it yourself, not being able to be at home, seeing the help from people of the United States, children of the United States, people all over the world. It must really make your heart warm.

ROBICHAUX: Absolutely. We really appreciate all the support. It's been overwhelming at times, but it's great. We really do.

TUCHMAN: Now these children in Chico basically wrote to Anderson, and said, Anderson, we want you to give this money to great charities. And Anderson wants to say something to you about it right now.

COOPER: Yes. Yes, Gary, I had seen your piece that Gary Tuchman had done about your school and could think of no one better than you, what you're doing at the school to help out the kids. And I actually wanted to introduce you, Gary, to some of the kids and their fifth grade teacher who are joining us now via satellite from Chico, Sara Kraatz, Atty Pierce, and the teacher, Rita Dane. They are listening in. Are you guys there?

RITA DANE, TEACHER: We're here. Hello.


COOPER: Hello.

DANE: Hello.


KRAATZ: Hello.

COOPER: So, Gary, these are the kids who, they've worked for weeks to raise the money and kids -- Sara, what was it about what you saw in all the pictures about Katrina that made you want to give money to other kids who were going through it?

KRAATZ: Well, it was so terrifying that everything was destroyed. It was -- that all the houses were destroyed and how can I live like that, I thought. I mean, it would be terrible to live like that. Just looking at all the houses and it's going to take so many years to build everything if they're -- if people are going to live there.

COOPER: Yes, Atty, do you ever wonder what you would do if, you know (inaudible) like that?

PIERCE: I would probably want a lot of donations from people that would help me rebuild my house, help me get through this devastating point in life and just get with -- get through it and go into a new stage.

COOPER: Yes, it's hard to imagine being in it.

Rita, maybe just explain to the principal, to Gary, about how these kids raised the money.

DANE: It was wonderful. The children came to me and asked me if I could help them raise the money or get them started. And I wanted to see how dedicated they really were, so I said I'll give you all my lunches and I'll give you all my recesses, but we're not taking class time. And I was so surprised -- at least 20 of them came into the classroom, ready to go. And the next day the donations started coming in and we gathered them up, did math lessons, and it was wonderful. And so it was basically all of their idea. I just helped them.

COOPER: Well, it was an amazing idea and Sara came up with it, and everyone joined in, Atty and all the other students in your fifth grade class.

Gary, it's great meeting you. And Rita, thank you so much for all you're doing. And Sara and Atty, it was really a pleasure meeting you the other day.

PIERCE: Thank you.

COOPER: And want you to say hi to everybody in the class tomorrow morning. And again, thank you for all you've done. And I hope you --

DANE: Thank you.

COOPER: Are you guys happy with how we gave the money away?



DANE: Yes. I think one of the students said, "Take care of this. Don't blow the money, Anderson." And you did a good job. Thank you.

COOPER: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Anderson. See ya.

COOPER: You guys are making my stomach tickle again.



COOPER: All right. Thanks very much.


COOPER: All right. Coming up next on 360, more from New Orleans. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Just some of the devastation here that still exists in New Orleans -- three months -- if you can believe it, after Katrina. And so many questions remain about when and if the city is going to be rebuilt, and how it is going to be rebuilt.

I should also point out we're getting a lot of e-mails from viewers about other schools that have raised money for people here.

One woman named Ellen Stall (ph) in Sag Harbor helped a lot of the schools there raise money and help other schools here in the devastated Gulf Region. Our thanks go out to all the schools and all the kids out there who have been raising money and still continue to.

In a moment, a woman's deadly encounter with a pack of dogs and how to prevent the same thing from happening to you. And unbelievable story out of Texas. First, here's what's happening at this moment.

Saddam Hussein's trial is on hold again. Pushed back another week after the defense expressed a number of concerns including those about their own safety. In court today, the deposed dictator complained about his treatment and railed against the American presence in Iraq. No surprise that.

Canada is in search of a new government tonight. This, after parliament voted no confidence in the government of liberal party Prime Minister Paul Martin, the consequences of a corruption scandal. A date for new elections expected to be announced tomorrow.

In Virginia, a big mess tonight; hot asphalt pouring from a grounded barge into the James River. How the barge ran aground and how much gunk go into the river may not be known for a while. State and federal investigators are on the scene.

And in Manchester, New Hampshire, a man is charged tonight with stealing money from a safe at the Wendy's where he works. If true, they should have seen this coming. The suspect's name -- oh, say it ain't so -- it's Ronald McDonald. Kid you not. All right. Nothing even slightly amusing here in this next story, though. Not the pictures, which may not be suitable for children and not the story itself. It is a reminder of the thin line separating man's best friend from anyone's worst nightmare. Reporting from central Texas here's CNN's Ed Lavandera.


(911 CALL)

MAURITA SMITH, DOG ATTACK SURVIVOR: Get out of here! They're right here by the truck. Watch out for'em! They're over there.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The voice you here is Weldon Smith's wife calling 911 as he fights off six dogs biting into his leg. You can hear on the call that it takes a gun to put an end to the attack.

M. SMITH: Right here...get him.


LAVENDERA: Smith and wife had stopped along this quiet central Texas road when they saw the body of 76-year-old Lillian Stiles covered in blood, her clothes ripped to shreds.

Authorities say the pack of dogs, a mixed breed, part Pit Bull, part Rotweiller, had just mauled her to death.

When Smith got out of his car, to dogs came after him.

WELDON SMITH, DOG ATTACK SURVIVOR: Like a pack of wolves. You know, like they were coordinating (ph) in on a kill. That's what they were doing. They were coordinating on a kill. And I just feel extremely lucky to get out from that with my life.

LAVENDERA: Then Styles' husband came out with a gun and killed one of the dogs. Now, he's traumatized by the brutal way his wife of 55 years was killed.

JACK STILES, WIFE KILLED IN DOG ATTACK: Had she not been in my yard I would not even recognized her.

LAVENDERA: Weldon Smith is lucky to be alive. These are the wounds the dogs inflicted. The painful scares, six bites on his right leg.

(On camera): Investigators say the dog owner is cooperating, but at this point it is doubtful criminal charges will be filed. If the dogs were properly vaccinated investigators say they could charge a misdemeanor crime for that. But that's equal to a traffic ticket.

(Voice over): That's one reason Weldon Smith is angry.

W. SMITH: It is so unnecessary. Me having a Pit Bull around is worse than having a loaded gun laying around. Cause you gotta pick that gun up and make it go off. That Pit Bull can go off at any time.

LAVENDERA: All the dogs have now been euthanized. Little consolation to Lillian Stiles husband who can only imagine the horror of his wife's final moments.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Milam County, Texas.


COOPER: Just horrific. What happened to Lillian Stiles certainly doesn't happen every day, but it happens often enough to ask what to do if you're the one facing the dogs. Joining us now from Riviera Beach, Florida is Jack Hanna, the director emeritus of Columbus Zoo.

Jack, good to see you again. This woman attacked by a pack of six dogs, riding on her lawnmower. What -- how does that happen? What might have provoked them?

JACK HANNA, DIRECTOR EMERITUS, COLUMBUS ZOO: Well, Anderson, it's hard to say. But number one, I understand the man's fence was only three-feet tall, they had an electric wire at the bottom of the fence. So, obviously he knew had a problem to begin with. Just one of those dogs is capable of doing that, but you take five or six dogs like that, one dog bites it's like watching wild dogs, I feel, in Africa.

And I think you've probably seen the wild dogs in Africa. Once a kill is made then it is just like flies on meat or something. You know, they just all go for the same thing. And it is just sad that the gentleman had five or six dogs that were capable of doing that.

But, you know, what do you do? She was on a lawnmower, number one, but if people ask me what do I do if something like that happens to me? Number one, you try and get on top of a car, you try and get in a tree. Obviously she tried to run, she couldn't do that.

So, when you take walks, now, which a lot of people like to walk the neighborhoods and you know a dog like that is here. Then you have to have stick or something, a cane or something, and what you have to start doing is protecting yourself. It is the only thing to do. Because once it starts, it is very, very difficult to stop. Those animals have some of the greatest crushing power of a any dog on the planet.

COOPER: And they don't just bite once. I mean, they continue biting, correct?

HANNA: Right, they continue biting until the victim, whatever it might be, doesn't move anymore. That's just what an animal does. And once it's gone, then obviously -- it doesn't sound like the dogs hadn't been fed or anything, but obviously they go for the kill and that's what happened. It is just so sad when I heard about this woman and her love for gardens and the outside and that type of thing.

And obviously her love probably for animals and wildlife. And to have something like this happen. You know some counties and some states, you know, Anderson, some city governments have not outlawed having these dogs in their areas.


HANNA: I mean, you know, you're talking about a Rotweiller, Pit Bull mix.

COOPER: Yeah, Pit Bulls have been banned now in Miami, Dade County, Florida, Denver, Colorado, and the entire Canadian Province of Ontario. I think.

But their owners will say, look, it is unfair to sort of say an entire breed is a bad breed. I mean, is there such a thing as a bad breed?

HANNA: Well, you know, someone said that, when they read this they said, you know, Jack, I know someone who has a nice Pit Bull. Well, you have to take the numbers. You and I both know over the last few years we've read about this time and time again in our country, where these animals have not only attacked people but killed people.

I'm sure there are some nice ones. But then, again, why did the man have only a three-foot high fence? That is ludicrous to have a three-foot high fence for animals like this. And then why did he have electric wire at the bottom of the fence? He obviously knew there was a problem with these dogs. If he did, then he should have had a 10- foot high fence, with a buried fence inside the yard, if he wanted to keep those animals with this type of temperament. So, if an animal has that kind of temperament, you'd better be prepared to take care of it.

COOPER: Yeah, I often think maybe a lot of times it's the owner more than the animal itself. I mean, a lot of these animals are kind of bred and trained to fight, which would certainly, you know, even a good dog turns bad that way.

Do dogs change behavior when they travel in packs?

HANNA: Well, once an animal sees something like that happening, the other animals is going to jump right in. Maybe only three of them are bad and the other two weren't. But who knows, they just all joined in together. And that's what dogs will do. We know that wolves will do it. We know that wild dogs in Africa will do it. Hyenas will do it. So you know these are the type that -- it's just the animal. And it is just too bad this thing has to happen. Because it could have been avoided, obviously, if the proper care was taken by the gentleman that owned these dogs.

But first off, you've seen people walking down the road, you know, macho kind of thing, with the big leather chains and the big steel collars with the big things that poke in the dogs neck. And a lot of times you see Pit Bulls and Rotweillers with this, and they animals --

I was just walking my dog, this dog here, my beautiful dog, Brass, the other day. And someone was going down the road and had one of those animals, he had to hold him back with all of his might. You know, if he didn't have those things that went into his neck, you could never do it. The power of these animals -- I weigh 200 and something pounds -- could pull me over easily.

COOPER: That's amazing. Terrifying. Hey, Jack, thanks very much. It's good talking to you, I'm sorry it is under these circumstances. Next time let's do it under cheerier circumstances.

HANNA: Sure will, Anderson. Thank you.

COOPER: All right. Take care, Jack Hanna, thanks.

Coming up next on 360, a girl allergic to peanuts dies after kissing a boy. How do you know if you're child is at risk for a deadly allergic reaction? Doctor Sanjay Gupta has the facts. From New Orleans and around the world, this is 360.


ANNOUNCER: We first hear of Jackie, Tony, Kelly, Noah, Shelly, Elijah, Tamara and Jill, when Hurricane Katrina forced them from their home at the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulf Port, Mississippi. Swept out to sea and forced to fend for themselves, they eight performing dolphins did the unlikely and stuck together surviving almost a month on their own in the Gulf of Mexico.

A rescue team was able to catch the dolphins over the course of several days and put them in temporary salt water pools. There at the Naval facility in Gulf Port, the clan has been recouping from the cuts and dehydration they suffered while out in the wild. It has been three months since their escapade in the sea and all eight dolphins are doing well.

And while they wait for the Oceanarium to be rebuilt, officials plan to move them to a temporary home in the Florida Keys, just in time for the holidays.



COOPER: Welcome back. We are live in New Orleans. There is a reason why many food labels carry warnings about peanuts. About 1.5 million Americans are allergic to the nuts, some severely. And each year between 50 and 100 people in the U.S. are going to die from an allergic reaction.

That's apparently what happened to a girl from Canada, who was exposed to the lethal risk by a boyfriend's kiss. CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has the story.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Could it really have been the kiss of death? A 15-year-old Canadian girl died after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten peanut butter.

The girl had a sever peanut allergy and for her, and others like her, even 1/1000ths of an peanut can spell disaster.

That's the case for Michelle Risinger. She's been severely allergic to nuts for as long as she can remember. She and a boyfriend also found out about the severity of her allergy the hard way.

MICHELLE RISINGER, PEANUT ALLERGY SUFFER: He started kissing me and my lips started tingling. And immediately I was like, we have to stop and I need to go take Benedryl.

COHEN: And she's not alone. More than 1 percent of Americans are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had all these hives all over my back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't breath and then I looked started wheezing.

RISINGER: Within 20 minutes I was completely unconscious on the front porch.

COHEN: All these reactions from peanuts and nuts, trace amounts they didn't realize were in the foods they were eating.

Doctor Robert Wood is an expert on peanut allergy and has had a life-long allergy to peanuts himself.

DR. ROBERT WOOD, JOHNS HOPKINS CHILDREN'S CENTER: I have certain rules that I abide by and one of those rules is I don't eat any baked goods.

COHEN: The one exception he thought he could safely make, accepting a homemade gift from a colleague, an expert on food allergies, like himself, who assured him it was safe.

WOOD: It turned out that they had made peanut butter Christmas cookies and non-peanut butter Christmas cookies and they had used the same spatula, maybe even the same cookie sheet, without cleaning them in between.

COHEN: Wood found himself in the middle of a massive allergic reaction called anaphylaxis which includes hives, swelling and difficulty breathing. It took five shots of epinephrine to stop the reaction.

That's why those with serious food allergies need to carry epi- pens, adrenaline in a tube. Without it these reactions could lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure or worse.

WOOD: I've lost three patients through anaphylaxis, one was a baked good, one was Chinese food, one was a candy. None of them had epinephrine available.

COHEN: All these foods had peanuts or peanut oil hidden inside. And these reactions are not as rare as you might think; 11 million Americans have food allergies, accounting for 10s of 1,000s of emergency room visits and 150 to 200 deaths a year.

But perhaps the most startling trend, according to Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the number of American children allergic to peanuts doubled in five years.

As for Michelle Risinger, she gives all of her dates a choice, it's either peanuts or her. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.


COOPER: Man, imagine such a terrible thing. Even a trace amount of peanuts can cause a severe allergic but how do you know if you're allergic to nuts. For answers I spoke with Senior Medical Correspondent Doctor Sanjay Gupta.


COOPER: Sanjay, is it true that peanut allergies are on the rise, and if so, why?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they are on the rise and it is actually a point that a lot of people are trying to figure out.

A couple of theories on this, Anderson. One is that the dry roasting process; tend to get a lot of dry roasted peanuts in the Western Hemisphere. And people believe that actually makes the allergies worse. The surface of the peanut actually causes the allergy.

The other thing that I actually think is more interesting is something call the hygiene hypothesis. Making our societies, our communities too sterile, so we're not sort of exposing children and young people to some of these allergens early in life. So you actually see a rise in peanut allergies, and dairy allergies as a result also. But no one really knows for sure why, Anderson.

COOPER: I was once on an airplane where they made an announcement don't eat peanuts because someone on board had an allergy. I guess that's part of the reasons they stopped serving peanuts on some airlines.

GUPTA: It's so interesting as well, because, you know, some airlines still do serve peanuts but a lot of them don't do it. And it is for that very reason. What I found most interesting, Anderson, is that you could actually open a bag of peanuts a few rows back from someone who has a peanut allergy and even though the person is not anywhere in contact with you, they could still develop a severe anaphylactic type reaction from the peanut allergies that they might have -- just from opening a bag a few rows back.

So people a lot of times will make announcements, for example, if someone with severe peanut allergies is on the plane not to open any bags with peanuts anywhere near that person. COOPER: But I mean, you know, a kid kissing another kid who had eaten peanuts. It's so bizarre to think about. How can someone protect themselves?

GUPTA: Yeah, you know, it's interesting. And there have been a couple of studies on this, trying to figure out how long do the peanut proteins actually stay in your mouth. They think four or five hours maybe. But you know there are some concrete things you can do to protect yourself. In this particular case, for example, just letting people know that you have a significant peanut allergy. There is some speculation that the boyfriend here may not have even known that the young lady had peanut allergies.

Two, is that there are these things called epinephrine pens. These allergies can be dealt with. People don't have to die of these allergies. I have one of these epinephrine pens here, Anderson. Take a look, it's pretty simple. You can actually just jab it into your thigh. It can go right through your clothing. It's pretty easy to take, you should also call 911 at that time as well.

Also, recognizing what a true allergy is. It could be something dramatic like your throat closing off, but it just might be a general feeling of unease, your hands might feel itchy, you might start to develop some mild hives on your face around your eyes. If anything of those things are happening after you've eaten something that you are allergic to. Certainly, take the epinephrine. Call 911. And make sure the people around you know about it, as well.


COOPER: Well, coming up next on 360, the fate of a few square blocks -- well, it shouldn't matter much, but if those few blocks are world famous, it does matter. Tonight the French Quarter: How it's faring now. Live from New Orleans this is 360.


COOPER: And welcome back. Welcome back. We are live in New Orleans for this special edition of 360. There are really two New Orleans to speak of right now. There is the New Orleans of Bourbon Street, that we're going to show you in just a moment. And then there is the rest of New Orleans, the New Orleans that is really little changed in the last three months.

This is actually the London Canal. This is one of the levees that broke. And when -- a lot of people think a lot of the levees were just overtopped, that water overran them. But that's not the case. They actually failed. This is one of the levees that failed.

I'm actually walking through the levee right now. This is one of the breaks on the levee. You can see it was -- this is where it would be connected. This piece of plastic was just actually right in the center of the concrete. That was connecting it to the other and it just came completely separated from this levee. And they have to build this entire road just to get to the levee and they're now still trying to fix it. This, of course, levee is going to be rebuilt. The question is what's going to happen to this neighborhood? It is one of the many neighborhoods still in doubt. There are so many neighborhoods people aren't sure whether or not to rebuild. They're waiting for some sort of word. And there's not a great sense of who is charge, of who is going to be making that decision. It is one of the frustrating things about life here.

The other thing about life here is that some parts of the city are back up and running, Bourbon Street for one, and the French Quarter. Of course, it never flooded. It is really the lifeblood of the city. It provides about a $1 billion worth of tourism every year, especially around Mari Gras time. It really brings in a lot of money.

But even now, Bourbon Street is up and running. CNN's Jonathan Freed is standing by live there.

Jonathan, what's the scene?

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I can tell you, you know, Bourbon Street is pretty well been up and running for the better part of two months now. And if you visited New Orleans before Katrina, you'd know that a Monday night is generally a little bit quieter, but you know what? Comparing what I'm seeing tonight to the average Monday night, it's pretty close.

Come over here and take a look. Pretty well, every piece of neon, every strip of neon that could be on, on this street is on, on this street. And, Anderson, it would be very easy to get the feeling, if you were just dropped down right here in Bourbon Street, very easy to get the impression that life in New Orleans is back to normal. But of course that is not the case.

You can pretty well walk a couple of blocks in any direction around here and be immediately reminded of what this city has been going through for the past three months.

COOPER: Hey, Jonathan, I assume you tossed it back to me. I couldn't actually hear you there.

It's amazing, though, the difference when you hear Jonathan on Bourbon Street, you hear the music. That really is not what is happening in New Orleans right now. I mean, there in the Lower Ninth Ward, in New Orleans East, in the Lakeview section, here in the Third District, I mean there are just block after block of complete devastation. The homes here are exactly the same as they were three months ago. We were by on this street, this was the scene exactly three months ago. Little has changed here.

People are just kind of waiting for insurance companies. They're waiting to hear whether or not they can rebuild in these neighborhoods. Until the levees are repaired, in some of these neighborhoods a decision hasn't been made. There is some talk of even just bulldozing all these houses and turning them it into a park, because it is so below sea level at this point. That is part of the frustration of living here. Jonathan, thanks very much standing by for us on Bourbon Street. A lot more from New Orleans and around the world in a moment.


COOPER: Welcome back, we are live in New Orleans, the Bourbon Street, of course a very different scene were we are here in the Third District. You hear people in Washington talk about Katrina fatigue, the only people who really can talk about Katrina fatigue are the people who live here in New Orleans and all throughout the Gulf who are still waiting for answers from their leaders and from Washington.

Thanks for joining us. Larry King is next.


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