Skip to main content
U.S. Edition


Return to Transcripts main page


Katrina: One Year Later; 100 Days...And Counting; Promises vs. Progress; Left Behind; NOLA: Reality Check; Waveland Destruction; Katrina Water Rescue; Rescued & Angry; Murder at Memorial?

Aired August 29, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: The Lower Ninth Ward. What we saw a year ago was shocking.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Even now, seven days after the storm, rescuers are still finding people trapped in their homes and flooded areas.


ANNOUNCER: Two square miles destroyed. One year later, still struggling to survive.

And an unthinkable allegation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not euthanasia. This is a homicide.


ANNOUNCER: A doctor and two nurses charged with murdering Katrina victims. Now the case may be in jeopardy. We're "Keeping them Honest."

Across the country and around the world, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360. Reporting live from New Orleans, here's Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us for this special hour of 360. You know, one year ago tonight we were just beginning to grasp the disaster unfolding here in New Orleans.

Water was pouring into the city fast, turning houses into death traps. Eventually 80 percent of the city would be flooded. It would get worse, of course, much worse before it was over.

As the days ticked by and the death toll rose, it became horribly clear that human error had made the worst natural disaster in the U.S. history even deadlier. It turned it into a catastrophe.

You can't hold nature accountable, but you can hold people responsible for their actions, as well as their failures to act. Three months ago after his re-election, Mayor Ray Nagin, the mayor of this city, promised to rebuild New Orleans. He called it his 100-day plan. Well, those 100 days are almost up.

CNN's Randi Kaye has a reality check.


MICHAEL REED, RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS: Get a single and put it up here. It's just going to be one light switch there.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We first met Michael Reed 26 days into the mayor's 100-day plan. He was rebuilding his mother's home. He's still at it, without government help.

REED: So you know that I own that property, and you sent me a tax bill, but you can't send me no help to get that property back up and running.

KAYE: Mayor Ray Nagin had promised his plan would speed up rebuilding, reduce crime, clean up debris and get the justice system rolling again. Why then just a week shy of 100 days do so many residents still feel forgotten?

REED: We are the victims of what the government is not doing. They're sitting on their hands in their offices and they're still sucking up the air conditioning, they're still doing what they did before the storm, and we're the ones that don't have our homes.

KAYE: Rob Couhig, who heads the 100-day committee says there's no magic wand.

(On camera): You told me 26 days into the 100-day plan that it was unfair for me to be critical of the progress. So now we're approaching 100 days. Is it still unfair of me to be critical or anybody else?

ROB COUHIG, 100 DAY INITIATIVE PLAN COMMITTEE: No, I think that people can be critical, and then they can be realistic. And all I'm saying is, you got to decide which side of the coin you want to dwell on. I think it's more important that we begin to look at the things that are actually happening here.

KAYE (voice-over): Like the crime rate, which Couhig says has been cut in half. Courts are holding trials again and potholes are being paved. Even some public pools have opened. But should pools be a priority when people have been living in FEMA trailers for a year?

COUHIG: No. But it wasn't as though we stopped trying to build homes so that we could open up pools.

KAYE: And what about the city's $5 million trash pickup program?

COUHIG: Is it pretty yet? No. Is it getting a lot better? Absolutely. KAYE (on camera): There are some signs of progress like demolition. Contractors are tearing down homes every day. The guy in that track hoe says he's gotten so good at it, he can take this house down in just 12 minutes.

(Voice-over): But then what? Will homes like this one be rebuilt? City Councilman Oliver Thomas.

OLIVER THOMAS, NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL: I would like to see the city take all of its capital funds, whatever we have, and just spend it. Get together with nonprofits, housing agencies and let them start have it. And let them start rebuilding yesterday.

KAYE: For Michael Reed, even yesterday is too late.

REED: 365 days, that's over three 100-day plans, and the city of New Orleans haven't even given us a plan yet. I guess you'll come back in 365 more days and we'll still be waiting on the plan to rebuild.

KAYE: Patience for many here seems to have washed away with the storm. Randi Kaye, CNN, New Orleans.


COOPER: So who is to blame? Douglas Brinkley is a presidential historian, professor of history at Tulane University. He's also the author of probably the definitive book on Hurricane Katrina right now, "The Great Deluge, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast." We are pleased that Douglas Brinkley is on the program.

Thanks for being with us again. What about Mayor Nagin? I mean, you're tough on him in your book for how he acted then. How do you think he's acting now?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it's been a disaster. You know, he gave the chocolate city speech which got a lot of notoriety, which divided this city when it need to be unified.

Then he won re-election and people had high hopes. You had to get behind whoever was going to be mayor because the magnitude of the disaster is so large.

What we got in these 100 days is a mayor who had promised everybody during the campaign, move back. I want to be a big New Orleans. I want everybody back in New Orleans East, everybody at Lake View, everybody in the Lower Ninth. But since then, he's refused to allow people to come back.

These neighborhoods have really no electricity. They have broken sewer lines. Schools are barely functioning in town. The doctors are fleeing on a regular drumbeat and the debris, as any journalist from around the world that's been here this week has seen, is nearly as bad as it was a year ago, with the exception of some demolition, some debris removal. And you do see the houses that blew into roads have moved. But he has not lived up to anything he said. Who could believe a year later New Orleans is sitting here with money, but no plan.

COOPER: Well, that's the thing, Douglas. You know, we're talking about a plan, because, you know, I've asked the mayor this. You've asked the mayor this. Just about everybody has asked the mayor this. And I have yet to meet anyone in New Orleans who can actually tell me what the plan is. And yet the mayor says, oh yes, there's a plan, there's a plan. And then he sort of goes through this rigmarole and you're left kind of shaking your head because he's using a lot of words, but I still do not understand what the plan is. Is there actually a plan for what gets rebuilt, where it gets rebuilt, how it gets rebuilt and when?

BRINKLEY: Well, the answer is, there's not an official plan but by the inaction of the mayor, it is very clear that one, he doesn't want to be the scapegoat. If he starts saying look, tomorrow the plan is to start rebuilding the Lower Ninth, we're going to fix it and have services there, he knows people in New Orleans East will moan and complain.

He's the guy who doesn't want any enemies. So he's taking kind of the Zen approach, sit on my hands and do nothing and worse...

COOPER: What he's saying -- sorry. He's always saying, well, it's really up to people, and communities are going to decide. I just don't understand what that means.

BRINKLEY: Well, that means we're not, I'm not doing a damned thing. That means just, you know, it's disingenuous. It's telling somebody that lost their home in the Lower Ninth, for example, come back, get your house, but there will be no electricity, there will be no water. It's a fire zone. You know, on and on. The people can't move back. But by doing this, he's trying to get people to no protest him.

And it's backfiring. It's backfiring because he's developed the nickname, the Great Gerlin (ph) Rob Bennett (ph) of WWO Radio is calling him on the air every day down here, you know, Ray Nay-Gone. He's gone all the time. He's hardly been in the city this summer. He leaves on all these kind of ego junkets around the country and is neglecting the job of being mayor.

So, I mean, we're getting to a point if something doesn't happen in the next week or two or the next month perhaps, you're going to start seeing a recall effort in New Orleans under way.

COOPER: You really think there will be a recall effort?

BRINKLEY: I think it's going to start because everybody I talked to and I know your reporters are talking to, nobody is happy with the pace of the recovery here and people are flabbergasted that the federal government has money ready for us and we don't have a plan to implement it. That's unacceptable.

COOPER: It certainly is. Doug Brinkley, we appreciate you being with us. Again, the book is "The Great Deluge." If you have not read it out there, you really should. It is a remarkable day by day, minute by minute of what really happened here.

Douglas, again, thank you.

If there was a ground zero in New Orleans after Katrina, it was the Lower Ninth Ward. Probably still is. One of the city's poorest communities sits between two canals and the Mississippi River. And when the levees broke, it was doomed. Katrina nearly destroyed the Lower Ninth. What we saw a year ago, well it was simply shocking. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): New Orleans may be drying out, but in the Ninth Ward the streets are still submerged under several feet of water. On some streets the water is so deep the only way to see them is by flat bottom boat.

The water is black, a toxic mix of gas and mud, oil and excrement, garbage, and human remains. It's difficult to know how deep it is, best not to think about what's really in it. Dead dogs are everywhere. So are living ones.


COOPER: Wait, we got some water, here.

There's only so much you can do. The water is too deep, the dogs too scared. They are starving, abandoned, stranded in trees.

Around a corner we find a Coast Guard helicopter hovering.

(On camera): Even now, seven days after the storm, rescuers are still finding people trapped in their homes in flooded areas. They're trying to pluck somebody out right now from their home. It is amazing to think that this person has lasted this long living in this condition.

They're right over there. I don't know if you can see them. They're right -- look up there -- look there on the porch.

(Voice-over): A boat of rescuers from a nearby town try to radio the chopper that they can help, but they don't have direct communication.

There they go.

(On camera): What's frustrating for a lot of rescuers, though, is the lack of coordination. There's people here -- there's a crew here from Destin on boats. They could have gone in had they known these people were here. They tried to signal to the chopper that they could do it -- he's going down again. The rescuer's going down. We believe there may be at least two more people in the house. He re- enters the water and then walks into the house, grabs some protective bindings around the people and then hoists them up. It is remarkable to see.

(Voice-over): On the next block we find the Humphrey family. Dierdre (ph) and her son, Emanuel. They have rescued several dogs and don't want to leave them. If forced to leave, they say they plan to hide the dogs in their bags.

DIERDRE HUMPHREY (ph), RESCUED SEVERAL DOGS: Just be quiet. Yes, we don't want him to die, too.

COOPER (on camera): So you're telling him to be quiet so that he doesn't give it away.

HUMPHREY: Be quiet. Be quiet.

COOPER (voice-over): Every day Dierdre (ph) feeds a dog stranded in her next door neighbor's backyard.

HUMPHREY: Uh-oh, it got caught on the line.

COOPER: Today her aim is off. The bag of food eventually drops into the water.

The Humphreys are going to have to evacuate. This water is toxic and this city must be cleaned.

(On camera): There's really no way of telling how many people have died here in New Orleans at this point. There probably won't be for many the days, if not a few weeks.

The floodwaters are still high. Homes are flooded. People haven't been able to -- rescuers haven't been able to get inside the homes to check on bodies. You do find bodies just floating in the water. There's a man over there, who is dead on the top of a car.

(Voice-over): As bad as it is, as horrible as it looks, it's only going to get worse. When the water is gone and the homes searched, the number of dead will finally become clear.


COOPER (on camera): Well, one of the great writers in the city, Julia Reed, is a contributing editor at "Newsweek" magazine, a senior writer of "Vogue." She's very familiar with this area. She grew up in Greenville, Mississippi, divides her time between New York and New Orleans, and she joins me now.

Julia, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: The stress of living here is something I think a lot of people who do not live here can't understand. You've been writing about it a lot. Describe life here. I mean, what is it like?

J. REED: Well, I think that, you know, when we first came back, I first came back about 10 days into the storm, you know, you were still here almost all the time then. Those were the days where you thought it couldn't get any worse. I mean, there were still floodwaters when I was here, you know, dogs stranded on rooftops, bodies floating. I mean, it was pretty grim.

You know, but there was hope starting, the National Guard was here. And you thought, OK, we're pioneers, we're going to get back at it. So, there was in a weird way, more optimism in those early days and all throughout the fall. And now we're sort of, you know, in the quagmire.

I mean, I was talking to a psychiatrist at the mental health center here, one of the few mental health centers operating in New Orleans right now, the other day. And he said the problem with saying that everybody has post traumatic stress syndrome, is that it's not post yet. I mean, the trauma is still going on. The stress is still with us.

Having said that, you know, this same shrink said look, what I told my patients that aren't really clinically ill, suicidal, that you know, think of yourself as a survivor more than a victim. And I think that that's what you see. The glimmers of hope that you do see around the city is exactly that, people just sort of taking on tasks that seem superhuman.

COOPER: It's interesting, Oliver Thomas, I was just at an event at the CIC. Oliver Thomas said the exact same thing to the crowd of people assembled, you know, think of yourselves as survivors, not as victims. But that's a hard thing to do.

I mean, if you are suicidal in this town and you go to a hospital, you're going to sit in the waiting room and there's no telling how long you're going to sit in the mental health facilities.

J. REED: For days.

COOPER: For days literally.

J. REED: Yes. There's no question that we are undergoing, that we are in the middle of a severe mental health crisis. You know, the suicide rate tripled in the months immediately after the storm. It's come back down some, but mainly because some of the mental health centers are up and operating and they at least can get people to an emergency room. But there are no psychiatric beds really left in the city.

Charity Hospital, as you know, has not been functional since the storm. Several other hospitals have been knocked out of commission. So you've got, you know, if a doctor needs to send you to the hospital, if your mental situation is that severe, you're going to be behind the guy with the broken leg or the heart attack and you might be there for two or three days before a nurse can find you a bed somewhere in the state of Louisiana.

But that's the grave situation, and that, you know, they're hopeful that some psychiatrists are going to come back into the city. The rest of us are just sort of sick of looking at mile after mile of debris. You know, is this the sort of zaniness that just happens from being assaulted with, you know, one day you're looking at sort of a lovely street corner and you're going to your favorite restaurant. If you drive two blocks out of the way, you're still looking at a pile of garbage like we've been looking at on the footage that you just showed.

It's sort of this back and forth assault on the senses that I think is taking its toll on people.

COOPER: And, of course, the big fear of a lot of people is that, you know, OK, the one-year anniversary is over. All the cameras leave and then what? No one else is going to be focused on this. And, you know, we still have the bureau here, we're going to be continuing to follow this story. But it is, I know a big concern of a lot of people here.

Julia, we got to go, but I appreciate you spending some time with us on this busy day.

J. REED: Well, thank you. And we really appreciate you keeping on coming down here.

COOPER: Well, it's the least I can do. Just doing my job. Thank you, Julia, appreciate it.

New Orleans evacuees are scattered all over the United States. Here's the raw data on the three top cities for those who fled.

According to a new study by nonprofit group Appleseed, Houston, Texas, is still home to the most evacuees, about 150,000. That's down from a high of about 250,000.

In Atlanta, Georgia, more than 80 percent of 100,000 evacuees remain. Most of them have family or friends in the area.

And after Katrina, Baton rouge, Louisiana's population boomed with 300,000 evacuees. Now a lot of those, up to 50,000 who remain are uninsured, are still living in FEMA trailers and are not sure how to start their lives over.

Of course, it is not just New Orleans that took a beating from Katrina. Coming up, a look at the damage left behind in Waveland, Mississippi, then and now.

And a war vet who was saved from the rising waters in New Orleans. But one year later, he is still angry about the rescue. We'll tell you why when 360 continues.


You know, there's certainly been a lot of focus on New Orleans today and the trouble here after Katrina. But of course, a lot of other places all along the Gulf Coast took a beating from the storm. Just hours after Katrina, I headed to Waveland, Mississippi. In a moment we're going to show you what the town faces now, a year later.

But first, a look back at the destruction then.


COOPER (voice-over): In Waveland, Mississippi, the water is gone. The waves of sadness have just begun.

Are you all right, ma'am?

We found Pauline Conaway, clutching a picture she found in the rubble.

(On camera): Who is that a picture of?

PAULINE CONAWAY, WAVELAND, MISSISSIPPI: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) mother. And it survived. I mean, I don't know whose it is.

COOPER (voice-over): This is the first time Pauline has been back to her street. Her street, her home is completely destroyed.

CONAWAY: That's my chair.

COOPER (on camera): A chair. A grill.

CONAWAY: That's our grill.

COOPER: Precious reminders of a life lost.

Reporters are supposed to remain distant, observers. There is no distance in Waveland anymore.

You find just about any block you go down here in Waveland, especially along the beach, I mean, people are just coming back, one by one, and finding their home is just completely gone and it's, it's devastating. I mean, actually, that's...

CONAWAY: This is from our room. It's from our room.

COOPER: It's hard to know what to say to people when they are seeing their home is destroyed and they're coming back for the first time. And, you know, you try to help them pick up some of their possessions, but, you know, what do you say to someone whose life is gone?

(Voice-over): A few blocks away we found Doctors Bill and Judith Bradford. They survived the storm, but three of their miniature horses are dead.

BILL BRADFORD, WAVELAND, MISSISSIPPI: If there's anyone from the American Miniature Horse Association, we need someone to come get the minies who did survive.

COOPER: Nine horses survived, but there's no hay left, no food to feed them.

Block after block, homes destroyed, lives ruined. Only the suffering remains.


COOPER (on camera): And we should point out that people from the Miniature Horse Association did come down and help rescue some of those animals.

That was Waveland then. Sadly now, a year later, the city is having a tough time rebuilding.

CNN's Sean Callebs went back and is, "Keeping them Honest."


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Waveland, Mississippi, right after Katrina. This small town hasn't received the attention that's been focused on New Orleans, but Waveland was near the epicenter of Katrina's fury and was nearly wiped out.

JOANNE PONSAA, WAVELAND RESIDENT: A lot of people left in their pajamas because we thought we were all coming back. I'm sorry. We thought we were all coming back, just like we had done for hurricanes before and it wasn't like that this time.

TOMMY LONGO, MAYOR, WAVELAND: 95 percent of our residential and commercial structures were substantially destroyed.

CALLEBS: Mayor Tommy Longo says the destruction is impossible to fathom. But before thoughts of rebuilding, the city has to get rid of vast amounts of downed trees, pieces of homes and flooded cars.

LONGO: And we've removed 1.8 million cubic yards of debris from Waveland alone.

CALLEBS: That's just a mind-numbing total.

LONGO: It really is.

CALLEBS: But putting Waveland back together, the mayor says, has meant coping with headache after headache.

LONGO: It's an emotional rollercoaster dealing with life in this area and dealing with FEMA is an emotional rollercoaster.

CALLEBS: Case in point, the city's water and sewer lines. Crews run from spot to spot, patching water leaks and replacing sewer pumping stations in an effort to provide the basics for the residents still living here.

The mayor says the pipes cannot be replaced until FEMA decides if they are completely ruined. Only then will the agency pay for the repairs. LONGO: It's very frustrating. And from time to time we get angry about it. They declare it 100 percent destroyed one day and then three months later, they say it's not and we need more information.

CALLEBS: FEMA says it's unfair to blame them, saying the agency has approved $67 million for Waveland, but the city has yet to finish its paperwork to receive that money.

The mayor says without the basics, there is no way for his town to begin rebuilding. It may look like a ghost town, but Waveland originally a population of 7,000 and has seen 60 percent of its residents return.

LONGO: We're trying to move on. It's getting harder and harder to raise people's hopes.

CALLEBS: A sentiment echoed by those trying to make a go of it, despite the odds.

JAMES "BIG JIM" BARR, WAVELAND RESIDENT: I'm not here to point fingers. I really ain't. I'm just living day by day as the good Lord tells us to go about this. And hopefully he'll watch over us and never ever let this happen again.

CALLEBS: Even with faith, that seems unlikely.

Sean Callebs, CNN, Waveland, Mississippi.


COOPER: So much needs to be done.

When New Orleans was under water, the city was sinking and the survivors were begging for help. We're going to have one incredible rescue and the doctor who never gave up.

Also, his life was saved, but he wanted his rescuers to do more. And he is still bitter that they didn't. That story coming up ahead on 360.


COOPER: Well, some of the water rescues across New Orleans, there's one of those things we all remember in the days and weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

When we look back on the year since then, we not only remember the storm, we remember the stories of ordinary people, heroes really, who did just extraordinary things to save lives.

They include people like Dr. Greg Henderson. I first met him just after the levees broke.


COOPER: (voice-over): In New Orleans, you never know where the day's going to take you.

(On camera): We set out to do a story on what's in this floodwater.

DR. GREG HENDERSON, PATHOLOGIST: In this water, you can expect that anything that lives in the human intestine tract is thriving and growing in this water.

COOPER (voice-over): Dr. Greg Henderson is a pathologist. In the dangerous days after the hurricane, he says he set up a treatment center for New Orleans police and also tried to help the approximately 15,000 evacuees stuck at the Convention Center.

HENDERSON: Very simple words, this is the dirtiest water you could ever possibly imagine.

COOPER (on camera): We just started motoring around when we spotted this man wading through the water.

HENDERSON: You need help?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need everything.

HENDERSON: You need to get out of that water. Can we help this guy out?

COOPER: Of course, absolutely.

HENDERSON: Where have you been?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been in that building up there for I don't know how long.

HENDERSON: So they didn't come check you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody knew I was up there.

COOPER: Here you go, sir.


HENDERSON: My man, my man.


COOPER: Here, have a seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all watch your own self.

COOPER: We brought Thomas onto a highway on ramp. We were trying to figure out what to do next.

HENDERSON: Is there anybody else up in there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a lot of people. There's people on the eighth floor. They would leave -- they'd come to stand in the water.

HENDERSON: Has anybody been up there? Has any federal officials, anybody...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody been up there.

HENDERSON: Anderson, we spent -- a few minutes ago, you asked me what was it like at the Convention Center. 15,000 people in this condition. This man is symbolic of what was here in New Orleans and what's still here in New Orleans. This is who we got to treat. This is who we got to think about. This is who we got to take care of.

COOPER (voice-over): Dr. Henderson is fed up with the slow federal response he's seen in New Orleans. He calls it a national disgrace.

(On camera): And is it a crime what's going on here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't need none of that. I don't want nothing to get...

HENDERSON: It's about as close to a crime as you can get. I hate to call anybody a criminal. I hate to call anybody a criminal, but this is just a damn bad situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got my ID right in there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got my RTA bus card, my food stamp card.

COOPER: He says there are 25 people holed up in that building over there. He said he's seen helicopters passing overhead for days now, but no one has come to that building.

It's hard to tell exactly how accurate he's being, but, you know, then we think, all right, we'll go over there, but then they could be armed. So you think all right, well we'll try to call some police, but how do you call the police? I mean this -- there's not that level of organization at this point. You don't know who to call, exactly who is in charge. So we're going to try to figure out what to do.

(Voice-over): We decided to take Thomas to a triage center that Dr. Henderson helped set up.

HENDERSON: Everything you see right here, everything that was started and gotten running was done by people, resourceful people on the ground.

Look, man, anybody who is trying to tell you that there's failure from ground up wasn't at the ground where I was.

I was with those police officers who didn't sleep for six and seven days. I was with those police officers who had open wounds on their legs and walked in that water.

COOPER: Thomas was checked out by physicians and then evacuated to Baton Rouge. It is not clear where he'll end up.

Dr. Henderson told his emergency coordinator the location of the building where Thomas came from, where he said there were other survivors. She promised she'd check it out.

And the lesson of all of this is what? The lesson of what we saw in the boat, what we saw with Thomas is what?

HENDERSON: The lesson on the boat, is this ain't over yet. Anybody who is sitting there thinking OK, the worst has passed, the worst has not yet passed.

COOPER: There's no way to know how bad it will get. No accurate number of how many people still need to be evacuated, how many people have died in their homes.

Today one man named Thomas reached safety. The question is how many more like him remain behind?


COOPER: We're pleased that Dr. Greg Henderson joins us now.

You know, Greg you, said back then the lesson of that day was that this ain't over yet. One year on, this is the one-year anniversary, is it over yet?

HENDERSON: Anderson, it ain't over yet. It ain't over yet. You know, life in the Big Easy ain't easy anymore, and I think people may think that the acute injury is over and the acute injury is over, but we got the long-term injury. The analogy I've made many times is Katrina was like the patient who is in a car accident, and you know, just barely escaped death. But New Orleans has basically been the patient in the ICU for a year that's basically on life support and requires a lot of supportive care to help get to the next level.

COOPER: And the medical care, I mean, you're a doctor. You decided to stay in the city. You had just moved to this city right before Katrina hit. You're still here. You're practicing medicine. There are a lot of good people trying to make that work, but a lot of doctors have left. I mean, medical care in this city is in a crisis mode.

HENDERSON: It is in a crisis mode. I mean, I think when you look at the whole region, there is a crisis. Yes, there's been an exodus of physicians. I am happy to say that the organization that I work for, Ochsner, has actually had a net gain of physicians and has really led the way. We're trying to consolidate medical care in the community.

But we are really stressed. I mean, there's no doubt about it. We're having to come to the table with a degree of care and scope of care that's way beyond anything we've ever done. And you know, we really have been in a lot of ways on our knees for the federal government for a year now, saying look at what we're doing. Look at what the physicians who are staying behind are trying to do. Please, please help us out. Throw us a bone.

COOPER: You know, I got to tell you, I went back -- when I was here last month, I went to the librarian convention, the first convention in town. I went to the Convention Center to speak to the librarians, and it was the first time I had entered that building since you and I basically broke into that building, snuck in and walked around when there were still debris, there were still dogs living in there.

What's your memory on this one-year anniversary? I mean, what sticks in your mind? What wakes you up at night?

HENDERSON: Man, you know, you hit it right on the head. When we did that interview, I'll never forget that, you know, the debris afterwards. But even more beyond that, I think the thing that haunts me more than anything, Anderson, the thing that keeps me up at night, really still keeps me up at night is those people at the Convention Center. You see them now, you see those people of all walks of life, but particularly the poor people of New Orleans, and most tragically is the rows and rows of handicapped people that were basically just left there, just wheeled up there like so much trash, and left to sit there in this hot sun with no provisions whatsoever.

This is the weakest and least among us, and we denied them their dignity. And I swear to God, I will go to my grave being haunted by those people. We've got to do better in this nation.

COOPER: We just saw a picture of Ethyl Freeman, 91 years old, who survived the storm. She did not survive the Convention Center.

Dr. Henderson, appreciate you joining us today on this difficult anniversary. Thank you.

HENDERSON: Thank you, thank you.

COOPER: Back here in New Orleans one year ago, as the water was rising, people were being rescued. One man saved, was forced from his wheelchair, clinged to a tree for 12 hours. And 12 months later, he is angry. His story coming up.

Plus, shocking charges that doctors at one hospital actually killed the patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A very disturbing story we've been closely following for this year. The latest when 360 continues.


COOPER: One year ago tonight, the water was rising here in New Orleans. CNN's Jeanne Meserve and Cameraman Mark Biello were in the city. They heard the screams for help and videotaped some of the rescue efforts.

One of the victims saved that night was William Morgan, a man thrown from his wheelchair, who fought the odds to survive. You'd also think the odds are also he'd be grateful, but instead he's angry.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve takes us back.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As he knows his boat ever so slowly through New Orleans' flooded streets, Chris Mercadel and his friends heard a man stranded and calling out, but they couldn't see him.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Half way in the water and halfway out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We're coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll be right there.

MESERVE: Wedged between some brush and a house, they found an elderly man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, you better grab the rope and we can pull you out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's don't worry about that.

MESERVE: His name was William Morgan. He was 71, a veteran of Korea and Vietnam, and an animal lover.

Only well into the rescue did they realize he was a double amputee.

When Katrina raged through New Orleans, Morgan had been in his wheelchair until water surged into his home.

MORGAN: I bobbed to the ceiling, and of course, everything in the house started floating by me.

MESERVE: Soon he had only a few inches of breathing space, unable to break through the ceiling. He hadn't tried swimming his since his amputations, but he plunged down into the water, through a window and busted through a screen to get to fresh air.

MORGAN: It was like, I guess the sweetest nectar a person could ever taste. It was like being reborn again, because I thought that my chances was very, very narrow. In other words, I better take this one shot.

MESERVE: But Morgan says he did it again, swimming in and out of the house to rescue his poodle, Morgan LaFaye (ph). She stood on the roof as Morgan clung to branches for roughly 12 hours.

When Mercadel and his friends appeared, Morgan asked them to rescue the dog, too. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, can you can grab onto this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you get on that roof?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get me to the roof, Chris.


MORGAN: That's why going to the roof and pull him up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's too hard for you. He's old.

MESERVE: Morgan claims the rescuers promised to save the dog, but didn't. As they dragged him through the brush and then through the water to a nearby house, he could hear the animal barking. abandoned.

MORGAN: Back up.

MESERVE: Morgan was furious.

MORGAN: I'd have had legs, I'd have turned the boat over. That's how much I care about my dog.

MESERVE: The rescue was not pretty. Mercadel and his friends had to roll Morgan up onto a nearby roof to get him into their boat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't worry, them scrapes and bruises are going heal. OK?

MORGAN: I'm close to death.


MESERVE: CNN Cameraman Mark Biello was on board.

MARK BIELLO, CNN CAMERAMAN: You just don't reach over and you pick up someone out of the water. You have the gravity, you have the distance on the boat. It's a lot harder than it looks.

MESERVE: Mercadel recently watched Mark Biello's tape of the rescue with pride.

CHRIS MERCADEL, NEW ORLEANS RESCUER: That was a scene where I actually say yes, I think we may have helped save somebody's life.

MESERVE: But Morgan has no such sentimentality about what happened that evening. He is angry about his rough treatment and being separated from Morgan LaFaye (ph).

MORGAN: I'd much rather them saved my dog and leave me behind.

MESERVE: Morgan LaFaye (ph) did survive, her eventual reunion with William Morgan, documented by "Animal Planet."

MORGAN: All right. OK.

MESERVE: Man and dog now live in Alexandria, Louisiana, north of New Orleans. Morgan's thank you to the men who saved his life is qualified.

MORGAN: I thank them from my heart for what they've done, but they could have done more.

MESERVE: There were other human lives to be saved that day. Hundreds. But for William Morgan, there was one life that mattered more, even than his own.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Alexandria, Louisiana.


COOPER: Well, they were supposed to save lives, but now they are accused of the unthinkable. Were overworked hospital staffers desperate enough to actually kill patients during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? We've been closely following the story. We're going to meet a woman who says her husband was a victim.

Plus, my "Reporter's Notebook," New Orleans then and now. On this program, we won't forget what happened to the city. A special edition of 360 live from the great city of New Orleans. And listening to the music of one of our local favorites, Washboard Chaz, who plays on Wednesday nights at Vaughn's.



COOPER: One of the many shocking stories to come out of Hurricane Katrina is the story of Memorial Hospital. The attorney general has charged a doctor and two nurses with killing patients in the horrible days after the storm. Now, it's a story that we've been closely following.

CNN's Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin talks with one woman who says her husband was a patient at Memorial who should not have died.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Emmitt Everett was a 61-year-old 380-pound man who needed a wheelchair to get around. His wife says he was being treated for a urinary tract infection.

(On camera): Was your husband dying?

CARRIE EVERETT, WIDOW: No way. No way. No.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): On the Saturday before the storm, Everett was a patient at a smaller hospital, in a low-lying area outside New Orleans. It was run by a company called LifeCare. He was to be transferred to the company's facility inside the much bigger Memorial Hospital.

After the transfer, Emmitt called his wife, Carrie, to report he was now safe on Memorial's seventh floor.

How did he sound?

EVERETT: To me? His own self. He wasn't complaining of hurting. Or nothing. He said, I'm in Memorial. I'm on the seventh floor. He gave me the room number, the telephone number. He said, everything's fine. I love you.

GRIFFIN: Then Katrina hit. The Everetts' home in the Lower Ninth Ward was destroyed. The family fled. Phones went down. On September 16th, after days of searching, Carrie Everett finally reached an official at LifeCare to find out about her husband.

EVERETT: I said, I want to know one thing where is my husband? Well, Ms. Everett, are you -- I said no, no, no, no, no, where is Emmitt? Ms. Everett, Emmitt expired September 1st. I said, today is the 16th. When were you going to tell me? When were you going to tell me?

GRIFFIN: The death certificate says Emmitt died on September 1st, cause of death, Katrina. Carrie Everett was told the heat and the lack of water killed her husband. But last month, she was shocked to learn that the people taking care of her husband may have murdered him.

EVERETT: I'm like, who gave them the right to play God? Who gave them the right?

GRIFFIN: The Louisiana Attorney General's Office has charged Dr. Anna Pou and two nurses, Cheri Landry and Lori Budo, with four counts each of second-degree murder.

Announcing the charges, Attorney General Charles Foti said his investigation uncovered a lethal cocktail of drugs in at least four patients. Emmitt Everett was one of those patients.

The evidence from witnesses, medical records and autopsies, Foti said, pointed to one conclusion.

CHARLES FOTI, LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is not euthanasia. This is a homicide.

GRIFFIN: The affidavit from the attorney general's office, charging the medical workers with second-degree murder, uses initials to refer to victims and witnesses. It says that witnesses informed Dr. Anna Pou that one patient, E.E., was aware, conscious and alert, but that he weighed 380 pounds and was paralyzed, and that Dr. Pou decided E.E. could not be evacuated. The affidavit says that Dr. Pou told one witness a decision has to be made to administer lethal doses.

Do you think they just didn't want to bother moving him?

EVERETT: That crossed my mind. You know, let's be real. You're on the seventh floor. You have a man that's paralyzed, 6'4", 380 pounds. You want to risk hurting yourself to try to carry him down seven flights of steps?

GRIFFIN: While the Everetts wait to see if criminal prosecution will go forward, the family has filed a civil lawsuit. Their home is destroyed, their lives torn apart, and only three water-damaged photographs remain of the man Carrie Everett says should still be here.

You think this was murder?

EVERETT: Yes. Yes, I do.

GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, New Orleans.


COOPER: Well, so many things here have changed in a year, so many scars from the storm, things that can't be forgotten are now fading away. A look at those in my "Reporter's Notebook," coming up.

First CNN's Rick Sanchez has a "360 Business Bulletin" -- Rick.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson. Good job out there.

There's a comeback on Wall Street. The markets were slumping earlier today off of weak consumer confidence report, but losses turned to gains after brief notes from the last Federal Reserve meeting were released. The information convinced investors that the fed is done raising interest rates. Though it remains to be seen whether that's truly the case at this point. The Dow rose nearly 18 points to close at 11369. The NASDAQ closed up 11 points and the S&P gained 2.

Also helping the stock market, a drop in oil prices. They fell sharply for the second straight day today, down to $69.71 a barrel. The reason for the fall, Tropical Storm Ernesto. Many traders were worried that it was going to hit the oil and gas region off of the Gulf, but now we know that that's not going to happen because it's a lot weaker than some had expected.

Also in Detroit, Automaker G.M. is sweetening the deal on some of its 2006 and 2007 models, offering between $500 and $1,500 in bonus cash. G.M. says these deals are not a sign that it's backing away from its plan to bring sales prices closer to sticker prices. Instead, the company says it's just part of their annual Labor Day sale, which means the deals end next Tuesday. They say.

Anderson, back over to you.

COOPER: Rick, thanks.

Here in New Orleans today, a mark of mourning and a celebration of life. A year after Katrina, a look at the city then and now.

My "Reporter's Notebook," when 360 continues.



COOPER: Today there was a jazz funeral in New Orleans, a procession to remember the dead, and to honor the living. It is a uniquely New Orleans tradition, just one way people here remember what happened.

In the days after the storm, a New Orleans police officer said to me, mark my words, man, it's all going to be cleaned up and forgotten. At the time his words surprised me, but now there are many people in this city who fear he was right.

We thought we'd look back at some of the images from Katrina then and show you what those same places look like now. Here is my "Reporter's Notebook."


CROWD: We want help! We want help!

COOPER (voice-over): One year later, one year. At times it's hard to believe. So much has happened, so much seems the same.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two days with no food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't see how a bus can't pick somebody up.

COOPER: One year later you go to spots you remember and it's hard to tell what once happened there. Where there was water one year ago, today there are roads. Where boats once were needed, now there are cars. Streets of fear are now highways for limousines. Where people once fled, now they stroll. Where people once died, today there is grass, no marker, no memorial to signify the spot.

Then and now, one year later, one year on. This city that was rubble is slowly cleaning up. The Superdome has been scrubbed. Outside where people once waited, there's no sign of their suffering. You can no longer hear their cries for help.

It's not all been erased. Some places remain the same. One year later, one year on, a destroyed house remains untouched. There's still so much work to be done, then and now.

That which once seemed unforgettable slips from memory. Time dulls the anger, the fear, the pain. Perhaps that is as it should be, progress is progress, life must return, but in New Orleans, the past is also important. It always has been. This is a city which holds onto its memories. And residents will tell you the memory of what happened here must never be forgotten.

It's up to all of us to remember what's been lost. So many people, so many faces, their names we never even knew. Some called them bodies, corpses, but they were our neighbors, our countrymen, abandoned in life and also in death. They deserved better than this.

Do you remember Ethel Freeman? She died at the Convention Center, waiting for a bus, waiting for a doctor. They put a blanket over her head and left her on the side of the road. She was 91.

Do you remember the animals? Left behind, their owners unable to evacuate with them. Alone, desperate, barking into the night.

Do you remember the failures, the slow response, the lack of answers, the buses that never seemed to come?

Do you remember the heroes? Men and women, police and volunteers, Coast Guard pilots and divers, doctors and fireman, animal rescuers, individuals who did whatever they could. One year later, one year on, it's hard to believe, hard to remember, but we must never forget.


COOPER (on camera): We must never forget. We'll have more of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.


COOPER: A year ago we met a woman named Miss Connie. She was blind, living alone. She refused to leave the city if her dog, Abu, couldn't come with her.

We've been down here dozens of times since the storm and we've always tried to find Miss Connie. We never could. And frankly, we feared the worst for her. That was Abu right there.

Tonight, just minutes ago, we heard that Miss Connie is doing fine. She's living in London, Kentucky. And believe it or not, but her dog, Abu, is with her now, after all this time. That is some good news to end with tonight from New Orleans.

It's been an honor and a privilege to report this story over the past year. And we will continue to report this story over the course of this next year. We will never forget.

"LARRY KING" is next. Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow.


CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines