Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Special Edition: Hurricane Katrina

Aired September 1, 2005 - 19:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Our special coverage continues tonight in this special edition of 360.
Shocking images from New Orleans. What is happening there is an outrage. We are going to go in-depth on that tonight, as well as what is happening here in Waveland, Mississippi, and all these neighboring communities.

A special edition of 360 starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is America? Chaos, anger, a desperate city feeling abandoned.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: We want help! We want help!

ANNOUNCER: Violence, gunfire, looting, and starvation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't take this. We've been out here for three days. And we've been asking for help.

ANNOUNCER: Mothers, children, the elderly, hurricane survivors still waiting for help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breathe, man, live!

ANNOUNCER: So, where is the help?

Unbelievably, shots fired at rescuers. But when it's safe enough, they're saving those who can't save themselves. Tonight, we join teams of heroes who risked it all for those who lost so much.

They hope to find survivors. But too often, they can't. Tonight, Anderson is with emergency teams as they look for hope in places Katrina left all but hopeless.

Since its beginning, all the experts said New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never thought it would us. They always said it would happen. And I wasn't even going to leave, but I did it because of the grandkids. And now I have nothing.

ANNOUNCER: For decades, the warnings were there, but tragically ignored. How time inevitably ran out on New Orleans' borrowed time. People with nothing left take what they need for survival. Others looting what they want. Shop owners, armed and dangerous. National Guard troops now arriving to restore law and order, but how?

This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "Hurricane Katrina: State of Emergency."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Good evening. Welcome to this special edition of 360. I am in Waveland, Mississippi, a town about 50 miles northeast of New Orleans. And that is where we begin tonight.

A shocking look at what is happening in New Orleans. I want to show you a still picture, people standing on the roofs of a building, holding signs, desperate for help. There is desperation and there is danger in the city of New Orleans tonight.

And what you are about to see in this next hour is going to shock you, that this is taking place in the United States of America in this day and age. Why is it happening, and what can be done to stop it? We're going to try to examine that in this special edition over the next hour.

First, the last 24 hours. The major of New Orleans has put out a desperate SOS. That is what he calls it, a desperate SOS. There are police barricading themselves on the roofs of buildings. There are snipers taking shots at MedEvac helicopters trying to rescue wounded people and evacuate people in the city of New Orleans.

The mayor at one point has just told people there are no more buses to evacuate them out. Just get to the highway and start walking out of the city. We have never seen anything like this in the United States of America.

CNN's Adaora Udoji takes a look at the last 24 hours.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: We want help! We want help!

ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three days after Hurricane Katrina, and the situation is getting more desperate by the minute. Thousands are still stranded in misery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No food, no water, helicopters flying over our head. It's ridiculous. It's time to go.

UDOJI: The city's mayor is at his wits end. Today, he issued a desperate SOS, saying, "Currently, the convention center is unsanitary and unsafe, and we are running out of supplies for 15,000 to 20,000 people. We are now allowing people to march."

They are marching in search of food, water and relief. They're surrounded by a crumbling city and dead bodies. Infants have no formula, the children no food, nothing for adults, no medical help. They're burning with frustration, and sure they have been forgotten.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is heat. New Orleans is hot. We can't take this. We've been out here for three days and we been asking for help.

UDOJI: Just to the northwest, signs of hope. A convoy of buses continued to ferry the more than 25,000 people sheltered in the Superdome to their new home, the Houston Astrodome.

Some lined up outside the stadium, desperate to escape. The buses stopped rolling at least for awhile, after reports people were shooting at rescue workers. This morning, the buses began arriving in Houston filled with refugees, who are once resigned, exhausted and shell-shocked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just disgusted right now. I hate it. It's killing me. I'm just stressed out right now. I'm tired. I need a bed. I need a bath. I'm just overdue for everything.

UDOJI: For those left behind in New Orleans, there is anger and fear. Looting and violence are now rampant on the streets. Some took only what they needed to survive; others took whatever they could, appliances, clothes, guns.

Police abandoned their rescue and recovery operations to try to restore order, a seemingly impossible task with too few officers and communication that is sketchy at best. The governor could onto say, "Help is on the way."

GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO (D), LOUISIANA: Looting and other lawlessness will not be tolerated. I have instructed all of our law enforcement personnel at the state and local level to strictly enforce Louisiana laws and to use necessary force.

UDOJI: At Charity Hospital, already without power or supplies, sniper fire halted efforts to evacuate patients. Another hospital official says a gunman tried to take a nurse hostage, demanding a seat on a helicopter taking the sick to safety.

A field clinic set up at the city's airport is overwhelmed with more than 1,000 people in dire need of care. While it's hard to take your eyes off the horrors happening in New Orleans, other towns hit hard by Katrina are struggling, too.

In Biloxi, Mississippi, the grim task of searching for the dead goes on, amid unfathomable destruction. The town of Gulfport has all but disappeared under piles of debris that were once seaside homes.

While these desperate people beg for help, the government struggles to answer the question, why? Why is help so slow in getting to the victims of Katrina? All they can say is, "We're doing what we can."

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We continue to pour in additional supplies every hour in this area, massive quantities of water, ice and food, 5.6 million MREs, over 13 million liters of water. We have 2,800 National Guard in New Orleans as we speak today; 1,400 additional National Guard military police-trained soldiers will be arriving every day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That was Adaora Udoji reporting on the situation in New Orleans.

It is shocking. Politicians may be saying they're doing everything they can, but the people here in Waveland, Mississippi, the people in New Orleans, are asking, is that really true? Is really everything being done? Are there enough troops coming, enough National Guard troops coming?

Chris Lawrence right now is in downtown New Orleans. He is barricaded on the roof of a police station, as I understand, with police, who are expecting a night of violence.

Chris, what is happening around you?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're seeing police at an incredibly high state of alert right now, unlike anything I've seen in the past couple days here. Literally, police officers going out in vehicles, six, seven, eight strong, assault rifles hanging over the side.

They aren't taking any chances. And the security situation here has just been deteriorating. I mean, I think it's one thing for the governor to say, you know, "This isn't going to be tolerated," but it's a completely different situation on the ground.

When we were on Canal Street a few hours ago, the police came by and strongly advised us to get off the street, and just said, you know, it's slipping, you know? You have to get off the street now. It's not safe at all to be on the street.

Some women were walking by. The police officers told them -- ordered them, in fact, that they could not go down one particular street, told them that there have been groups of young men going around, shooting people, attempting to rape women, and ordered them to continue walking in the other direction.

As I stand here right now on the top of the roof, helicopters are literally swarming the entire city. I see police helicopters, Red Cross helicopters, the larger military Chinooks are circling the city.

And off in the distance, over the Mississippi River, I can see just a thick cloud of black smoke rising up over the bridge. One of the police officers tells me that that is Oakwood Mall pretty much burning to the ground right now.

Just a scene you never thought you'd see in a major American city like this.

COOPER: And what is being done to stop it? What can be done to stop it? That is what people want to know tonight. Chris Lawrence, thanks for that. Try to stay safe, as safe as you can. Certainly, stay off those streets.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is also in New Orleans. He's been at a hospital all day where they are under intense pressure.

Sanjay, what is the latest there?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a really remarkable situation here, Anderson.

As expected, they're trying to get all the patients out of these hospital, critically wounded and ill first. Two hospitals, we're in downtown New Orleans.

First, Charity Hospital. This is the biggest hospital in New Orleans. (INAUDIBLE) and Tulane Hospital right next to it are sharing a landing zone now for helicopters. You may hear some of those behind me.

For the first time, we're starting to get some choppers in bound to evacuate a lot of these patients. (INAUDIBLE) remarkable, Anderson. I was hearing some of the early reporting on the sheriff, talking about sniper fire (INAUDIBLE) talk to some of the doctors (INAUDIBLE) the area where some of that sniper fire occurred.

It doesn't appear to be safe now, but it seems that a sniper standing atop one of the buildings just above us here and firing down at patients and doctors as they were trying to be evacuated, unbelievable. It just boggles my mind, actually.

What's going on now here is (INAUDIBLE) I'm looking at a parking structure here. A couple of patients, critically ill, who should be on ventilators are just sitting here (INAUDIBLE) the doctors are (INAUDIBLE) next to them, pumping air into their lungs (INAUDIBLE) and they've been doing this since about 8:00 this morning.

So, you know, nineteen hours now this has been going on. And two days there's been a lack of (INAUDIBLE) the city here waiting to be evacuated.

You know, I didn't know what to expect. (INAUDIBLE) I did not know what to expect. (INAUDIBLE) People are literally dying while they're waiting to get out of here. And on top of that, you add the sniper fire. And it's just a mind-boggling situation, Anderson.

COOPER: That is Sanjay Gupta in New Orleans. He has been monitoring the situation at two hospitals, at Charity Hospital. They are under attack. The city of New Orleans -- I mean, this is chaos in the city of New Orleans. It is an outrage that this is happening in that great city, in that old city, which has seen so much.

So many questions. What is the federal government doing? Should more have been done early? I mean, we knew this storm was coming. If we knew an attack on the south of the United States was coming, you would think some military forces, National Guard forces would be mobilized in a high degree. Was that done? We're going to try to figure that out tonight and in the days and weeks ahead. But what it has boiled down to at this point is, the federal government needs help. That's what now they're asking for. Organizations, charities need help.

If you want to know how you can help, we're putting some numbers, some organizations, on the screen. You can also go to CNN.com to find out more about how you can help. It is incredible to think how this could happen.

A man came up to me in Waveland today and said, you know, "Don't we pay taxes for protection? Don't we pay taxes for the federal government to be protecting us?" But now, it is boiling down to people needing help and people being asked to make donations to the Red Cross and organizations. We're going to look at how this could have happened.

We're also going to look more at the situation in New Orleans and the situation here in Waveland, Mississippi, where there is just utter devastation in large parts of this community. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm John Padgett (ph). I live here in Paskershin, Mississippi (ph). My house is gone. Everything I own is gone. Right now, we're camping out in the woods. I just want to let all my family and friends, people I work with offshore, know that we're OK. We're scraping. We're alive. But we'll get over this, and we'll get on with our lives eventually.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We're trying to help people get connected to their relatives and their loved ones, who they're can't able to find. We're trying to do it tonight. We're going to be trying to do it over the next several days. There's just -- you know, no one has phones here. There's no information going around.

It is very frustrating for people here in Waveland and elsewhere in Mississippi. And over and over, people stop me on the streets, and, you know, they're asking me, how can this have happened? Where is the Army? Where is the National Guard?

We saw them for the first time today here in Waveland. And they're doing hard work, and they're trying their best, but was enough done? Was enough done early on before? I mean, we knew this storm was coming. We asked Ed Henry to take a look into that very question.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Stunned by the utter devastation in his home state of Louisiana, former Senator John Breaux says warning signs were everywhere. FMR. SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: We've always know that New Orleans had a bulls-eye right smack in the middle of the French Quarter.

HENRY: But people in power have been running from the problems, literally, as far back as 1927, when a flood killed 200 people. Decade after decade, the alarm bells rang. In 1965, Hurricane Betsy flooded the city, death toll 61, and 60,000 left homeless.

Shortly before 9/11, the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared that among the most likely disasters in America, a risk nearly on par with a terror attack in New York, was a catastrophic storm in New Orleans, like Katrina.

DR. SUSAN HOWELL, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS: It was a perfect storm, because everything went wrong. You have a city in a vulnerable area. The levees was sinking. The city was sinking. Coastal erosion brought the Gulf closer, and really not as much has been done to have stopped that as could have been done.

HENRY: After six died in a flood seven years ago, Congress created a massive project for the Army Corps of Engineers, to renovate the 13 levee systems which protect New Orleans. But the Bush administration cut funding for the flood control project, known as SELA, at a time when the Army Corps is also stretched thin from rebuilding Iraq.

LT. GEN. CARL STROCK, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: Certainly, if more funds were available, we could finish the project more quickly. In this case, I'm not sure that, had the SELA been completely intact, that it really would have helped this, because this was about a levee breach.

HENRY: Federal officials have also ignored pleas to protect Louisiana's coast, which acts as a barrier for storm surges. But because of ongoing erosion, experts say, this year alone, Louisiana will lose another 25 to 30 square miles of delta marsh, an area as big as Manhattan.

JOHN RENNIE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN": That means that, if you didn't do anything to try to stop that, that rate of disappearance, by the end of this century, New Orleans would be exposed right to the open ocean, at which point there is no New Orleans anymore.

HENRY: For years, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana has been pushing a plan to restore the coast. The estimated cost is high, $14 billion, but a drop in the bucket compared to the tens of billions of dollars it will cost to recover, repair, and rebuild New Orleans.

Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Joining me from Baton Rouge is Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. Senator, appreciate you joining us tonight. Does the federal government bear responsibility for what is happening now? Should they apologize for what is happening now?

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Anderson, there will be plenty of time to discuss all of those issues, about why, and how, and what, and if. But, Anderson, as you understand, and all of the producers and directors of CNN, and the news networks, this situation is very serious and it's going to demand all of our full attention through the hours, through the nights, through the days.

Let me just say a few things. Thank President Clinton and former President Bush for their strong statements of support and comfort today. I thank all the leaders that are coming to Louisiana, and Mississippi, and Alabama to our help and rescue.

We are grateful for the military assets that are being brought to bear. I want to thank Senator Frist and Senator Reid for their extraordinary efforts.

Anderson, tonight, I don't know if you've heard -- maybe you all have announced it -- but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating.

COOPER: Excuse me, Senator, I'm sorry for interrupting. I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated.

And when they hear politicians slap -- you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there's not enough facilities to take her up.

Do you get the anger that is out here?

LANDRIEU: Anderson, I have the anger inside of me. Most of the homes in my family have been destroyed. Our homes have been destroyed. I understand what you're saying, and I know all of those details. And the president of the United States knows those details.

COOPER: Well, who are you angry at?

LANDRIEU: I'm not angry at anyone. I'm just expressing that it is so important for everyone in this nation to pull together, for all military assets and all assets to be brought to bare in this situation.

And I have every confidence that this country is as great and as strong as we can be do to that. And that effort is under way. COOPER: Well, I mean, there are a lot of people here who are kind of ashamed of what is happening in this country right now, what is -- ashamed of what is happening in your state, certainly.

And that's not to blame the people who are there. It's a desperate situation. But I guess, you know, who can -- I mean, no one seems to be taking responsibility.

I mean, I know you say there's a time and a place for, kind of, you know, looking back, but this seems to be the time and the place. I mean, there are people who want answers, and there are people who want someone to stand up and say, "You know what? We should have done more. Are all the assets being brought to bare?"

LANDRIEU: Anderson, Anderson...

COOPER: I mean, today, for the first time, I'm seeing National Guard troops in this town.

LANDRIEU: Anderson, I know. And I know where you are. And I know what you're seeing. Believe me, we know it. And we understand, and there will be a time to talk about all of that. Trust me.

I know what the people are suffering. The governor knows. The president knows. The military officials know. And they're trying to do the very best they can to stabilize the situation.

Senator Vitter, our congressional delegation, all of us understand what is happening. We are doing our very, very best to get the situation under control.

But I want to thank the president. He will be here tomorrow, we think. And the military is sending assets as we speak.

So, please, I understand. You might say I'm a politician, but I grew up in New Orleans. My father was the mayor of that city. I've represented that city my whole life, and it's just not New Orleans. It's St. Bernard, and St. Tammany, and Plaquemines Parish that have been completely underwater.

Our levee system has failed. We need a lot of help. And the Congress has been wonderful to help us, and we need more help.

Nobody's perfect, Anderson. Everybody has to stand up here. And I know you understand. So thank you so much for everything you're doing.

COOPER: Well, I appreciate you joining us on the program tonight. I can only imagine how busy you are. Thank you very much, Senator Landrieu.

LANDRIEU: Thank you, Anderson. Thank you so much. Thank you.

COOPER: And good luck to you and all the people working to solve this problem. Because, at this point, it is very hard to try to figure our how this problem is going to get solved. There was a desperate search that we have been following for a baby. We have some great news. This baby has just been found. We're going to talk to the parents of this child. We are just getting this information in. Stay with us. There is a lot ahead to talk about in this next hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're joining you from Waveland, Mississippi, a town which just has been devastated. I just want to show you a shot of some people from this town who have just driven by, a man holding up an American flag that has survived this storm.

We are seeing things like this, just an outpouring of love and care for people in this community. And people in this community are helping one another and standing by one another.

There has been some looting, yes, but, well -- sorry, I'm joined on the phone by -- I'm joined by some parents, Tad and Helena Breux, who, they're baby -- they had to leave their baby behind in a hospital in New Orleans for the last couple of days.

They've been trying to find their baby. Within the last 15 minutes, when they just arrived here, they got some great news. Their baby is alive. It's in Ft. Worth.

How you are guys doing? How are you holding up?

HELENA BREUX, MOTHER: We're great, now.

TAD BREUX, FATHER: We're great now. It's just fantastic.

We spent Sunday night -- we had to leave. Saturday was the last time I had a opportunity be with my son, Zachary. And the nurse took some pictures of us. And it was Saturday afternoon that the doctor had advised us that it wouldn't be advisable to take him with us, because they didn't have any of the proper medicine, and we couldn't get a hold of a monitor to take him, because all the monitoring companies were closed.

And everybody was leaving to leave for the hurricane. And we knew he was in great hands and everything was fine, as long as we were able to hear from the hospital on a daily basis. And then, when the phones went out, and things started deteriorating, and then our cell phone went out, we just...

H. BREUX: Didn't know where he was.

T. BREUX: Didn't know where he was. We got a phone call from the nurse's sister out of San Diego who told us that everything was doing fine, the hospital had been damaged. It had taken in water.

They had brought patients down from the -- to the fifth floor and up from the second floor, but the baby was fine. He was healthy. And he eating like a pig. And that kind of the last we'd heard of him for a day or two. And then somebody else had called and said they thought he had been evacuated to Charity. And then, we have been listening to CNN and heard all the terrible stories of everything that went on with Charity, and just been going in circles, calling every hospital in Arkansas, and in Texas, and in Louisiana.

COOPER: So for two days, you haven't known?

H. BREUX: What's today, Thursday? Four days.

T. BREUX: Yes, we haven't known -- we known he was going to be safe. And today we found out that he had been -- finally, they evacuated Methodist around 11:30. But no one could know where he was. And no one could tell us where he was.

We've just been going crazy, calling phones, and getting on the Internet, and looking up hospitals, and just calling I'm sure...

H. BREUX: Everybody.

T. BREUX: I'm sure all of our friends, and family, and even people and family we don't know who have been calling. And it's just been sort of a snowball that each person we've called empathized with our situation, and gave us a suggestion to call, and said they would call the local chief, and they made phone calls.

And, I guess, finally, he just landed somewhere. And somebody had a number and called and found him.

So we're just so elated. We lost our 97-year-old grandfather who was in a nursing home. And no one could get in touch with him in Algiers in New Orleans. And we got a phone call this morning that Zady (ph) was found, and he turned out to be at a nursing home in Houston.

So that was a great rush and a great high. We rode that for an hour or two. And then kind of got back to work on the phones. And then someone just called, probably 30 minutes ago, and he's in Lake Charles...

H. BREUX:

T. BREUX: It's Ft. Worth. So it's just fantastic. We can go get our little boy.

COOPER: Tad and Helena, thank God. I'm so happy for you. It's been a tough couple of days for all of us. And that's the best news I've heard in a long time. Thank you so much for joining us.

And I just want to put a little picture up of your little boy, just on the screen. And that picture is something to for all of us as we try to make it through these difficult days. Tad and Elena, God bless you. I hope you're reunited very soon.

T. BREAUX: Well we would like to thank everybody in Houston for the hospitality, and certainly all of the media, and CNN, and everyone who's helped, and all of our friends who've called from all over the place, volunteering anything they could do, whether it was to fly us some place, or to make phone calls, and then people we don't know who have helped us find our little boy which is, it was just a fantastic day when he was born, and another fantastic day when we finally found him.

COOPER: Well, I hope, when you guys are reunited, I hope you take a picture, I want to see that picture, because that's going to be a great moment. Tad and Helena, take care. And I hope you get reunited very soon. We have a lot ahead on this Special Edition of 360. Take care. That is the best story I've heard in a long time.

There are people here now who are just returning to their homes. We see it every hour here in Waveland, Mississippi. You are going to see the emotional homecomings in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: When we came down the street in Waveland, Mississippi, just yesterday, the first thought in my head was I have to show you this street, because it is one of many in Waveland, there's nothing really special about this street, but just, I mean, look around on the different cameras we have positioned. As far as the eye can see, there are just planks of wood. And all of these used to belong to people's homes. And the homes are just gone. And this is block after block after block between the railroad tracks and the bridge, and the water I should say, here in Waveland, Mississippi.

Every day, every hour we are seeing people walking down this street, returning home, and, it's -- well, it's hard to describe. Here's what it looks like.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

(on camera): Are you all right, ma'am?

(voice over): We found Pauline Conaway clutching a picture she found in the rubble?

(on camera): What's that a picture of?

PAULINE CONAWAY, SURVIVOR: My mother. And it survived, I mean, I don't know who's 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: A chair. A grill.

CONAWAY: It's our grill. COOPER: Precious reminders of a life lost. Reporters are supposed to remain distant observers. There is no distance in Waveland, anymore.

(on camera): 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 homes just completely gone, and it's devastating, I mean -- actually, let'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 seeing their homes destroyed and they're coming back for the first time. And, you know, you try to help pick up some of their possessions, but you know, what do you say to someone who's 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.

DR. BILL BRADFORD, LOST MINIATURE HORSES: If their's anyone from the American Miniature Horse Association, we need someone to come get the minis who did survive.

COOPER: Nine survived, but there's no hay left, no food to feed them. Block after block, homes destroyed, lives ruined, only the suffering remains.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: CNN's Kathleen Koch, you grew up in this neighborhood just a mile down the beach.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did. And, I think I, like everyone else here -- we are in a complete state of shock.

COOPER: Is your home there?

KOCH: No. There's a concrete slab. I called my mom and dad today to tell them. They just sold the house. So we didn't still own it. But we lived there for ten years when I was in middle school, high school and college.

COOPER: What did you say to them? And what is that phone call like?

KOCH: One of the most difficult I've ever made in my life. You say it's gone, it's all gone. But that's -- I've been going around Bay St. Louis all day, that's where our home is right before the border with Waveland, and that's all I've been saying all day. The church we went to every Sunday where my sister was married, gone. I mean, the interior is gutted. The ice cream parlor we ran when I was in high school, we had a little small business, it's gone, empty. And I've found friends, most of my friends are alive, as far as I know, but it's so hard to have the people, friends coming up to you, saying, you know, can you help us. Where's the Red Cross? Where's FEMA? We need clothes, we need food. I heard --

COOPER: And what do say to your them, what do you say to your friends?

KOCH: I say I'm trying to get the word out. I will do everything I can to get the word out.

COOPER: Because that's all you can say.

KOCH: It makes me want to throw down my microphone, and just take all the water that we have in our vehicle and give it to them and start driving up and down the streets. They were telling me stories of people in wheelchairs, who can't get to where there's water out here on highway 90. How are they supposed to get there? They are wheeling through the mud down the street to try get water. Old people trapped in their homes. And they can't get out. And no one is coming. No one is coming down the streets.

COOPER: I know it's been --

KOCH: And they just say can't you help us, can't you do something? I told them we are doing all we can.

COOPER: I appreciate it. Thank you. Deb Feyerick takes a look at the problems of restoring law and order right now. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

Deborah FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): One state senator summed up the danger, you can't rescue people when you are being shot at.

SEN. ROBERT MARIONNEAUX, LOUISIANA: Right now the plan is to restore order. Because you can't get even get the emergency response personnel into the city for the evacuation purposes for food and water purposes, as long as there's disorder.

FEYERICK: the situation's so out of control the governor called for reinforcements. Two hundred military police ready to enter New Orleans. Hundreds more on the way ready to join an unprecedented number called from the National Guard.

GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO, LOUISIANA: I've asked for no less than 40,000. But if we hit the 40,000 mark and still feel like we need more, we will get them.

FEYERICK: The desperate steal diapers. The dangerous steal guns and try to break into hospitals..

KRIS WARTELLE, LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE: Those people are probably part of a criminal element. They probably caused trouble before this storm, and they are probably using this storm as a opportunity. And we are going to do everything in our power to stop those people.

FEYERICK: There have been few arrests. That could soon change.

COLONEL HENRY WHITEHORN, LOUISIANA STATE POLICE: It may be in the form of handcuffs and shackles, but we will start securing these individuals. These individuals will not take control of New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Want to talk to two representatives of Louisiana law enforcement. I've just been getting their names. Cathy Flinchum, and Louisiana State, of the Louisiana State Police, Sergeant -- and also Lieutenant Clyde Vaughn of the Louisiana National Guard. First of all, Lieutenant, what is the situation right now where you are. What is the worst that you are seeing -- director of the Army guard? Can you hear me sergeant, can you hear me? OK, clearly we are having some problems. Lieutenant Vaughn, can you hear me? Director of the Army National Guard, can you hear me?

LT GEN. CLYDE VAUGHN, DIR. ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: I can hear you. I've got you loud and clear.

COOPER: OK -- I appreciate that. What is the top priority for the Army National Guard? I mean, how do you restore order?

VAUGHN: Well, our top priority is to flow forces as rapidly as we can in there in support of the governors. And we're going tomorrow into Louisiana, you'll see 3500 soldiers appear down there in Louisiana. And you'll see 2500 going into Mississippi.

We are going to flow the equivalent...

COOPER: Is that enough?

VAUGHN: We're going to continue to flow forces until someone tells us to stop. We've got a competent and caring force that wants to get down there. Every state has responded. We have 30 states that are offering up and sending soldiers and airmen down.

COOPER: Sergeant Flinchum, how bad is the looting?

SGT. CATHY FLINCHUM, LOUISIANA STATE POLICE: Well, sir, we still know that it is going on. I would like to share with your viewers that Louisiana State Police has sent every possible resource we have. These folks that are praying on the individuals that we are trying to get in there and rescue, they are not representative of the individuals that live in our cities, in our states.

We are going to get things under control. We know we have help on the way. And we know there are some desperate people out there, facing some dire straits. And I can assure you, we are doing everything possible to get in there and rescue them.

COOPER: But, I mean, do you have anymore troops available -- I mean, do you have any more police available to you, law enforcement?

FLINCHUM: I can tell you, we have over 250 policemen that have gone into the city, 170 of those are state troopers. We do have law enforcement officers coming from other states: Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky...

COOPER: But in terms of Louisiana State Police, you're maxed out. I mean, you have every resource you have available to you?

FLINCHUM: We have pulled every resource, yes, sir. We are holding back nothing.

COOPER: And what do you do with people -- if they are looting, what do you do with them, do you arrest them? Where do you put them?

FLINCHUM: Well, sir, we have contingency plans in place. I don't have numbers of arrests. But as I said, can I assure you, our first priority is the safety of those people that have been left in the city.

COOPER: Well, appreciate both of you joining us. I'm sorry we are having some audio problems. I know you have got a lot of work to do. Appreciate all your work. Thank you very much.

We have seen so many extraordinary rescues, so many people, law enforcement, Coast Guard, working hard literally around the clock, saving lives. And they have saved so many lives. We will show you some -- an extraordinary rescue when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Waveland, Mississippi tonight, a scene of utter devastation, and so many parts of this small community, block after block, scenes like this, planks of wood that used to be people's homes. We have seen this all along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi over the last several days.

CNN's Rick Sanchez is embedded with a swift water rescue crew out of California. They have gone to New Orleans, and they are saving lives. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICH SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is where the nightmare ends for the people of Orleans and Jefferson Parish who have lost everything but their lives. They are brought to shore on boats too small to get enough of them, but large enough to rescue at most a half dozen at a time. Families have to be split up, children carried out in twos.

(on camera): Kindra (ph), are you happy to be here?

KINDRA: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Can you stand at all?

(voice-over): The elderly, like this woman, who was found trapped inside her home in water waist deep are pulled onto boats and brought to shore.

When she finally gets up, she realizes she can barely breathe and needs help walking. Her feet are swollen and pruned from the rising waters from which she's been unable to escape for days. It's a race for survival with no end in site. There are too many to rescue, and not enough rescuers.

We accompany teams of swift water recovery units from California. Their first job, to clear out the hospitals and a school, said to have more than 100 people trapped inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you are on operational frequency.

SANCHEZ: They come from Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego. Their task is daunting.

This is what used to be Airline Highway, one of the most important roads leading into New Orleans. Now, it's a waterway, used to ferry out the sick and desperate.

What used to be an exit ramp is now a boat ramp to disembark survivors. What used to be an entrance ramp is where they put in.

We put in with a retired sheriff's deputy on an airboat, because it has no underwater propeller, it is perfectly suited for shallow waters. Once under way, we realized what an advantage that is on a street now turned into a channel which is filled with unseen obstacles below the surface like cars, signs and fences.

We wanted to see for ourselves what has happened to this community that was suddenly flooded by a breach on the 17th Street Canal. These waters, once held by back levees along Lake Pontchartrain to the north, now engulfed thousands and thousands of homes and businesses, many with people trapped inside. Along the way, we see for ourselves the horror of those that didn't make it: corpses left unattended, because rescue workers say they're too busy dealing with the living.

(on camera): Most of these neighborhoods have tens of thousands of homes in them. Rescue officials say they can't get everywhere and they can't get to every one. So, when you go out, you may be exploring areas that no one else has yet been to.

(voice-over): And back here, where no one has been, you occasionally hear faint voices crying out for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello! Do you hear me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we just found somebody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody up there?

SANCHEZ: Like an elderly woman that got our attention by hollering out the window. She says, come and get me in the morning, I'll be fine, but please, help my neighbor's babies. Then, we hear what she's talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been here since the hurricane, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have just yourself in this building? How many people else are there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm the only in this building here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are people -- three women with babies next door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We are going to get some rescue boats over here.

SANCHEZ: Inside the home next door, we hear the voices of children, screaming through the walls to be rescued. Turns out, there are 15 to 20 people inside, too many to put on our boat or any other. So, we assure them they will be out soon. We contact the swift water units, and several boats are dispatched for rescues.

By night's end, each of the units from California has rescued hundreds of people, but there are still thousands more to rescue. Each of these homes may have someone trapped inside by the rising floodwaters. And then again, it may not.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Those swift water recovery units we were talking about in our report are not going to be going in the water any time soon. FEMA is concerned for their safety. They want to make sure they have security for them before they go back out. It's a tough call, because there's a lot of people who could really use their help.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Unbelievable. It is simple unbelievable. Rick Sanchez, appreciate it. Stay safe, Rick.

360 next, survival at sea. CNN's Gary Tuchman, who always finds remarkable stories, found a story that's hard to believe. A man who rode out the storm on his shrimp boat. His story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm David Carpenter (ph). I'm here in Waveland, Mississippi, with my family, my brothers and sisters. We are all OK over here, but for Lucille Bourgeois (ph) down in Burgess (ph), wherever you are, I just want you to know, we're OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: There are so many stories like that. We just wanted to try to get as many people connected to each other as possible, because there is still no communication down here. It is very difficult for the people living here. Lack of information is one of the hardest things. You know, we've all heard stories about people riding out this storm in their homes, or in shelters. CNN's Gary Tuchman found the story of a man who rode out this storm at sea in his shrimp fishing boat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fishing boats in an inlet next to the Gulf of Mexico, destroyed and tossed like toys in Pearlington, Mississippi, where the eye of Hurricane Katrina went through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get somebody to climb up on that water tower, and they can give us an aerial view.

TUCHMAN: Firemen from Hooper, Alabama are brought in, to look for bodies in case any of the fishermen decided to ride it out.

They spray-paint an X where no body is found.

There is nothing on this boat, either, the Anna Belle. But there was somebody on this boat through the entire hurricane.

DAN TRAN, SHRIMP BOAT OWNER: I've been here since 1978.

TUCHMAN: Dan Tran is originally from Vietnam, and has been a shrimper in Mississippi for many years. He felt his small home near the beach wasn't safe, and he has no car, so he rode out the 135-mile- per-hour winds on his shrimp boat.

TRAN: I was thinking a lot about my family, and about my kids, and my relatives, and I wish they would be all right.

TUCHMAN: Dan, who supports his wife and children, who live in Texas, tied the boat to a tree with a rope to stop it from disappearing in the Gulf. It is still tied.

(on camera): What do you think would have happened if the boat went into the Gulf of Mexico?

TRAN: Would have died.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dan was terrified. The eye eventually came through, and the wind shifted. The boat started falling apart, and heading towards land.

As the Anna Belle started to flood, Dan sought protection in his quarters.

(on camera): Must have been really dark and scary in here?

TRAN: Yeah. It's very scary.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The winds felt like they would never end. Dan says he tried to stay focused.

TRAN: Just stay on the boat, hang onto the boat.

TUCHMAN: Katrina finally weakened. A grateful Dan Tran says he will now give up fishing and move to Texas to join his family.

(on camera): Some people might say you shouldn't have been on a boat during a hurricane. What do you say?

TRAN: They're right. They're right.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The firefighters did not find any bodies here. Most of the fishermen had evacuated. The ones, like Dan, who remained, were very lucky.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: Now that he's looking back at it, Dan knows he should have figured out a way to get to a shelter, but he was right about his house. His home near the water was completely destroyed.

COOPER: Well, I mean, he is so lucky, because, I mean, there are so many people who tried to ride out the storm in their homes. We want to show you some of the shots of this field that we're in. I mean, this is an entire community. It goes for blocks and blocks and blocks. It's between the beach and Waveland and the train tracks. Have you ever seen anything like this?

TUCHMAN: I would say this block that we're standing on right now here in Waveland, Mississippi is the worst block of damage I've ever seen in any disaster I've covered -- tornado, earthquake, hurricane. It's just unbelievable.

COOPER: We should point out that search-and-rescue people have been through this area on this block. They have not found any bodies on this block, though they have found bodies in other locations. And a lot of the people who are immediately next to the beach decided to leave, but it's in some of the inland areas, you know, even a mile or so from here, that we found six bodies yesterday.

TUCHMAN: What's really hard, Anderson, is walking in these neighborhoods and seeing people who lived in the neighborhoods and them saying, you know what, my neighbor, I know they didn't evacuate. But they haven't found them. Where are they?

COOPER: And rescuers, you know, they'll get a house address to go to from someone like that, but you can't find the address, because there is no house and there is no address left.

Gary, appreciate you joining us. A great story.

When we come back, an amazing story of hope. The best story we have heard in a long, long time. Parents, their child, their infant was missing in New Orleans for days, just found alive. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just wanted to let you all know, momma and I made it, and the dogs are alive. We lost everything -- house, business, cars. We lost everything. And that's all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: There is so much sadness here in Waveland tonight, and there will be for a very long period of time in the next days and weeks to come.

A story of hope, though, just to end. As we learned in this hour, just about a half-an-hour ago, a little child, boy, Zachary Breaux, eight days left, was left in his -- by his parents in a hospital in New Orleans. They were forced to leave him there. He needed medical attention soon after being born. He has been missing for days. They just found him alive. He is in Ft. Worth, Texas. They're going to be reunited. It is a story of hope to hold on to in the dark days ahead.

CNN special coverage continues right now with CNN's Paula Zahn -- Paula.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
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 CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines