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NANCY GRACE for September 7, 2005, CNNHN

Aired September 7, 2005 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, the city of New Orleans under order to evacuate, the mayor warning residents they face severe threats -- disease, fire, flood waters -- it`s called a toxic gumbo -- covering two thirds of the city. And breaking news. Local officials report 30 people dead at a flooded nursing home in Louisiana, many dead in their own bed. Tonight, across the Southland, who is helping? Can and will order be restored?
Also tonight, we go live to Houston to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina find their loved ones.

Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace . I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, a city on the brink, under siege and suffering even more violence, more looting, more battered citizens struggling to live, while the city begins the task of pumping billions of gallons of poisonous water amid growing threats of gas leaks, fires, toxic water and disease. Tonight in Houston, Katrina survivors are huddled inside the Astrodome, wondering how to find loved ones. We want very much to help.

Joining me now, there in New Orleans, CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper. Anderson, is it getting any better?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You know, I think I may be too meshed in this to see the big picture. When you`re, you know, up to your knees in muck and you`re smelling this stuff, it`s hard to be happy and think things are getting better. I`ve talked to doctors who actually know. They say yes, in the last couple days, the organization has gotten better. But often, you know, the left hand doesn`t seem to know what the right hand is doing. We`re still seeing that, and it`s not the fault, necessarily, of individuals on the ground because they are working around the clock, saving lives, as they have been all along.

But there`s -- you know, it`s a massive undertaking, and there`s just not a plan in place, hasn`t been. It looks like they`re getting there, but still, you know, we just saw a chopper go down. A civilian chopper landed, cracked in half on the rooftop of a building. Another chopper went in to help. Then some guys showed up in boats, and they could have gone in, but they had no radio contact with the other choppers.

So there`s -- you know, there`s a lot of good people here working real hard, Nancy, but often, there`s the lack of communication and a lack of information, and you kind of don`t know who`s in charge at times.

GRACE: We are trying to reunite families that have been torn apart. Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) in the Superdome because most of New Orleans is flooded. We`ve been taken from our hotel to the Superdome in an armored truck, along with everybody else. There`s about 15,000, 20,000 people here, not too friendly people, either. (INAUDIBLE) at this point. We don`t know what the hell we`re going to do to get out of here. (INAUDIBLE) right now. Nobody knows where we are, what we`re doing.

I`m sweating like anything because it is so hot in here. We don`t know what we`re going to do. We don`t know how we`re going to get out of here. The whole city is under water. We don`t know what we`re going to do.


GRACE: I want you to see as many of these victims as you can. That was a student stranded there at the Superdome, scared to death. But now his family knows at least he is alive.

Back to Anderson Cooper, joining us from New Orleans. Anderson, it`s so hard for people to comprehend just how bad it is!

COOPER: Yes, and it`s hard for me to comprehend, as well. I mean, I`ve been talking to medical professionals really for the last two days, and I mean, they are concerned. I mean, this water -- (INAUDIBLE) A doctor, a man who I respect enormously, just told me, you know, everything that is in the human intestine is in this water. And you got first responders, you got paramedics and firemen and firefighters from all around the country who -- they don`t have the protective gear. They`ve just, you know, rushed down here to help. And you would think, of all the people to try to protect, of all the people whose welfare would be of preeminent importance, it would be these first responders because you have to keep them healthy if you`re going to keep everyone else healthy.

And for the last week, there`s just been a handful of doctors trying to help these people. And it`s hard to imagine. We`re now walking around all the time with these face protectors on because, I mean, the stench, Nancy, is -- it`s indescribable. And we`re standing at the water`s edge. I mean, God knows what`s in the water behind us. And you know, during commercial breaks, I put this thing on because the smell, I mean, it makes your eyes water.

GRACE: Joining me right now, the attorney general for Mississippi. Joining us out of Jackson, Mississippi, Jim Hood. Welcome, sir. Thank you for being with us. How do you plan to restore the justice system?

JIM HOOD, ATTORNEY GENERAL, MISSISSIPPI: Well, first of all, we haven`t encountered the problems with looting as much as Charlie Fotey (ph), my colleague over in Louisiana, has in New Orleans. But you know, we`ve locked up approximately 100 looters. Many of our people there were trying to survive.

Companies have been great. Wal-Mart just opened their store for people to get water and things like that when I was on the ground there in Waveland. We`re now preparing for the next wave of fraudulent fund-raising scam artists and those contractors that will be coming in. I intend to ask the court to expedite a court calendar to allow us to prosecute looters, scam artists, price gougers and all those, so that we get those attended to very quickly.

GRACE: Now, tell me this. With us, Jim Hod, the attorney general for Mississippi. Courthouses damaged by Katrina, but what will it be like when people try to go back to the hall of justice after this much time off? All the files are gone. All the evidence is gone there in Louisiana. I mean, how do you go forward? I can imagine, as a former prosecutor, having a murder case and going back to the courthouse, trying to go to trial on Monday morning with no evidence, no file, no nothing.

HOOD: Well, our only courthouse that is severely damaged is that of the county, Hancock County, that borders Louisiana. And that is an old structure that we will have to temporarily move to another court facility. Ours in -- the two courthouses in Harrison County will be able to get up restored probably within three weeks, and probably the same in Jackson County. So I don`t think that we`re devastated as far as loss of evidence. The DAs office down there in Harrison County is in good shape, so I don`t anticipate any major problems in restoring our criminal justice system here.

GRACE: To Leonce and Karen Bailey. They are joining us out of Houston. They`re looking for their family. I want to go straight out to Leonce. Tell me what happened.

LEONCE BAILEY, LOOKING FOR SON, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW, 6 CHILDREN: Well, we last spoke with them on Sunday, right before the storm, and they was getting ready to leave. And that`s the last we heard of them. You know, we don`t know where they`re at, where they are. You know, we just don`t know. We haven`t heard anything from them.

GRACE: Karen, who exactly are you looking for?

KAREN BAILEY, LOOKING FOR SON, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW, 6 CHILDREN: Well, I`m looking for my son and my daughter-in-law and my six grandchildren.

GRACE: Names?

KAREN BAILEY: Darryel Sutton, Graceita Sutton, Cyril, Akirian, Joseph, Darian, Darryel III and Ave.

GRACE: Karen, what happened when the hurricane hit?

KAREN BAILEY: Well, they`re staying in Slidell, Louisiana. And they were supposed to evacuate before us on Saturday, so I called them and I told them that they needed to get out. My son was at work and my daughter- in-law was at home, so they -- I suppose and I`m hoping that they got out. But Sunday morning, when we got up, New Orleans was told to evacuate. And everything was just chaotic, and we didn`t get a chance to really get back with each other. And everybody just evacuated, so we lost contact with them. So we have no idea where they are. We haven`t heard from them since Saturday. And we are very, very concerned about them.

GRACE: If you could get a message out to your family tonight, Karen, what would it be?

KAREN BAILEY: I would say, Darryel and Graceita, we are praying for you all. We hope you all are safe, and we want you all to come back to us. We have a contact number with your cousin, Sharon (ph). We are in Houston, and we can be reached at 713-436-8449. And we`re in Houston, Texas, and we`re waiting to hear from you, anything from you. Please call.

GRACE: What about the 6-month-old? Where is that child?

KAREN BAILEY: Well, we`re just devastated because we hope -- we`re hoping that all the children are OK, and especially the 6-month-old, because we know it`s very hard to travel with one or two children, less on six. So we`re just praying that every child is OK right now.

GRACE: Leonce, you have a daughter serving in the military right now. Do you want to speak out to her?

LEONCE BAILEY: Yes, Nancy. I would like to say hello to our baby girl, Britney Cristina Bailey (ph). She`s in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I just want to let her know that her daddy`s safe and I love her, and stay strong in boot camp.

GRACE: I hope that she is listening tonight. Can you imagine?

Back to you, Anderson. On top of everything, Anderson, that you`re telling us about, can you imagine trying to get a message to your mother that you`re alive, a 6-month-old baby, you don`t even know where it is?

COOPER: You know, this is a world of instant communication. This is a world where we`ve got the Internet, we`ve got cell phones. And the fact that seven, eight days -- you know, I don`t even know what day it is. The fact that so long after the storm, we`ve still got people using TV to get messages to their loved ones is extraordinary.

I mean, just think about it. You know, this is not some faraway land. And I got to tell you, when you`re standing here, for the people who are working here, it feels like the rest of the world is very far away. But you know, it`s not, and there should be some better, faster way for people to get in touch with one another.

There are a lot of organizations out there, the American Red Cross, which tries to put people in touch with one another, but you know, that often involves having a Web site or having -- you know, even though they have a toll-free number, having a cell phone. You don`t have that down here. And there are cell phone companies which are moving in and trying to help out people here, and that is a great thing.

But it has been one of the main frustrations of people. They come up, they hand you pieces of paper and they say, Please somehow get a message to my mom in Alaska or my dad in New York, let them know I`m alive. And we give our phones out, our satellite phone out as much as possible. We`re getting some cell service. We give phones out all the time. But man, it`s taking a long time, Nancy.

GRACE: I mean, Anderson, as I`m looking at you and hearing what you`ve been telling me these past nights, what if you had to turn around to that water, smell what you`re smelling, see what you`re seeing, seeing bodies float by, and on top of it all not know if your mother was dead or alive?

COOPER: Yes. I mean, I got lucky. I mean, you know, I feel like Howard Beale kind of yelling on TV a lot the last couple nights. But you know, I got it good. I mean, I got a clean, dry place to sleep. I got water, and I got, you know, canned food to eat. What is going on -- I mean, you know, the people out here are the story, and what is going on is just extraordinary, and the fact that they can`t even communicate with one another and hear the -- you know, person who`s closest to them, hear them on the phone -- it`s devastating.

GRACE: I want to go now to CNN correspondent Betty Ngyuen. She`s joining us from the Houston Astrodome. Betty, thank you for being with us. How many people are being housed in shelters there?

BETTY NGYUEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Nancy, that number has just changed. Within the last hour, we`ve learned that there are now 9,259 people being sheltered in these four main shelters here in Houston. Earlier today, that was at 8,100. Now, that is a far cry from the number we heard last night when we arrived Nicole Houston, where there were some 27,000 people that were being housed here in these shelters. So those numbers continue to change by the day and even by the hour.

GRACE: Do these evacuees, these people, displaced, do they want to go back to their home, or do they just want to leave and start over somewhere else?

NGYUEN: You know, it depends on who you talk to. I`ve spoken with so many people here today. Mainly, they`re looking for loved ones, looking to get jobs, as well, and get their children in the school system because this is home for now. But when you talk to them and you really dig deep, a lot of them really do want to go back to New Orleans. That is their home. That`s where they grew up. That`s where their life was.

But right now, Houston and all these other states in which evacuees have gone, this is where their life is, and they`re just trying to make the day by day, and hopefully, one day can go back. But there are those who say, You know what? I`ve lost everything there, there`s nothing to go back to, I`m going to start anew here. And that`s what they`re trying to do.

GRACE: Betty, what about all the children in shelters? It`s time for school to start.

NGYUEN: Right. And that`s something that started today, especially at these four main shelters, including the Astrodome, which you see behind me. They started enrolling students in the Houston independent school district. And they`re hoping that thousands will take up this offer because, as I spoke with the public information officer for HISD, he said there are 13,000 spots available within the district for these students, and they started those enrollments today. School actually starts, Nancy, tomorrow morning. Buses should be coming down this street around 6:30 in the morning to pick up kids and take them to school.

GRACE: Here in the studio with me, Dr. Lauren Howard. Lauren, is this normalcy for children, to try to put them in school out of, like, the Astrodome?

LAUREN HOWARD, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: The best thing that could happen to these children is for them to have some semblance of a normal life. They`re not going to be in their homes. You know, the day-to-day is not going to be the same. But putting them in school amongst their peers with each other in their social group, in an active, focused, oriented society, culture for them, would be the best thing that could happen for them. I would encourage any parent there to absolutely try to get their kid into some kind of normalcy.

GRACE: I want to go back to Betty Ngyuen, CNN correspondent there at the Houston Astrodome. Betty, tell me about these children that are there. What do they do all day? Who`s able to take care of them?

NGYUEN: You know, I was walking on the floor of the Astrodome, oh, about three hours ago, and I saw a lot of children just sitting on cots. Some of them are sleeping, of course, but a lot of them did appear bored. And I as I spoke with parents today, many of them were just elated at the fact that their children were being enrolled in schools because what they were saying most of all was school is not only where they need to be, they need to be learning, but school also takes their minds off of what they`ve been through. And that`s so important when it comes to healing.

GRACE: You know, a lot of times, when children, they look bored in this case, I would imagine they`re depressed. They`re away from their home. They`re in the middle -- they`re on a cot in the middle of the Astrodome. Betty, I`m so afraid I`m going to lose the satellite connection to you. Just let me ask you one more thing. How long are they planning to have this set up for the evacuees?

NGYUEN: Well, this is the main intake area for evacuees. And I do have to point out that I learned today that while not as many, obviously, are coming in, many of those evacuees who left early and went to hotels and relatives and whatnot, they are running out of money. So they`re coming to the main shelters here in Houston and they are being admitted into -- whether it`s the Reliant Center, the Reliant Arena or the Astrodome. These shelters are going to stay here. It`s the main intake area.

But I have been told by a lieutenant with the Coast Guard today that`s assisting in all of this, and he hopes to have homes, not just shelters but homes for these families by next Sunday. And he hopes to have these shelters closed by then and everyone -- everyone in these shelters in a home.

GRACE: Hey, Betty, I`ve got to go to break, but do they have phones in the Astrodome? Phones?

NGYUEN: They do have phones. Well, here`s the deal. They have Internet service. They have a registry. The Red Cross has a registry for people to go on line, type in their information, and hopefully, connect with people that, you know, lost loved ones, missing loved ones.

But mainly, a lot of folks are going out, they`re buying their own cell phones and coming up to us, saying, We have a phone number, we need to find so-and-so, please help us. So a lot of people are taking it upon their own initiative to get phones for themselves.

GRACE: Betty Nguyen, thank you, dear.

NGYUEN: You`re welcome.

GRACE: We`ll all be right back. Please stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a two-story house about six foot above grade, so we`re hoping to save stuff off the second floor. The house there on the left. I never thought in a million years I`d see something this bad. My baby`s room room`s upstairs. I`m going to try to get her some clothes and see if I can grab some pictures. I have a lot of questions still to be answered. We don`t know what we`re going to do.


GRACE: welcome back. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us. I want to go straight out to a reporter with "The Austin American Statesman," Tony Plohetski. Welcome, Tony. When you first got to New Orleans, what happened when the levee broke?

TONY PLOHETSKI, "AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN": The photographer I was working with, Matt Wark (ph), and I, actually were spending the night in an SUV, in a Ford Expedition. And we parked the SUV on high ground, thinking that we were in a safe place. We went to sleep in the back, and when we woke up around 6:00 AM the next morning, there was water all around us. And we knew then that something was going on.

GRACE: And then what happened?

PLOHETSKI: Well, we actually decided that we need to seek high ground, obviously. We started driving, and we realized we had a flat. Then we drove a little bit more just to get to high ground and realized we had another flat and had used the one spare that we had. So at that point, we realized we were in real trouble.

But it was really fascinating to see that, you know, water that had been ankle-deep in some places the day before was now knee-deep. Knee-deep water was chest-deep, and so on. It was really frightening. And frankly, hours passed before we were able to learn that there, in fact, had been levee breaks.

GRACE: Tony, where did you sleep, and what did you do for food and water?

PLOHETSKI: Nancy, we went in really prepared. We drove in from Austin to New Orleans, and we bought lots of supplies. We bought lots of bottled water. We also bought two five-gallon drums...

GRACE: Where did you sleep?

PLOHETSKI: We slept the first night in "The Times Picayune," on the floor. The second night, we slept in our SUV. And then from there, we headed to Baton Rouge at the end of every day, frankly, for safety reasons.

GRACE: Tony, what do you recall? What did you see?

PLOHETSKI: You know, Nancy, so much. And I`ve got to tell you, I think the story that may be getting lost here is the absolute heroism that we witnessed while we were there. We were in New Orleans at a triage center, and there was a group of nurses on duty when the hurricane struck. And they, frankly, stayed with their patients. They got them to safety. Then they hugged them and said good-bye.

GRACE: With me, Tony Plohetski with "The Austin American Statesman." We`ll all be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everywhere you look, there`s water, water, water, some places water up to your stomach, some places up over your head. And a lot of times, you see people floating in the water, dead bodies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve seen dead bodies floating in the water, laying on the sides of streets. It was horrible.


GRACE: Welcome back. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us. I want to go straight out to New Orleans and Anderson Cooper. Anderson, I was just listening to Tony Plohetski describing heroism of nurses in a hospital. What about there?

COOPER: Yes, you know, he said -- he said that that`s the kind of the untold story, and that is the untold story. We`ve been trying to tell it every night on our program. There are so many doctors and nurses here who came here not because some federal government sent them, not because they were, you know, paid big money to come here. They came here and they stayed here. They got their families out, hopefully, most of them.

But they were working in impossible conditions without medicine. They were having to break into pharmacies with the help of the New Orleans Police Department just to get medicine. These are doctors in the United States.

I just want to tell you, a guy named Bill Essig (ph), Dr. Dan Diamond (ph), Dr. Juliet Soucey (ph) and Dr. Greg Henderson (ph), who we`ve been spending the day with -- I mean, these are the heroes of this story. And there are so many. it`s the people on the ground who are here, who just said, You know what? I see a need. Let`s do it. Let`s not wait for the bureaucracy. Let`s not wait for some agency to come in and get an organizational flow chart going. Let`s break into this pharmacy. Let`s get some medicine and let`s start treating people because there are people dying because they don`t have IVs to put in their arms. There are children who are, you know, dehydrated and dying, and old people who have just been dumped in a convention center, and there`s only a handful of doctors to treat them with nothing more than a stethoscope.

I mean, these are the people whose stories need to be told and, you know, sung from the rooftops, Nancy.

GRACE: Anderson Cooper, joining us from New Orleans. Stay with us.


THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I`m Thomas Roberts. And this is your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."

There are visible signs of progress in the Gulf Coast. Twenty-three pumps in New Orleans are now working and water levels have dropped five feet in certain areas. That`s key, because officials now say people should avoid any contact with the filthy flood waters. As many as 15,000 people remain in the city. Vice President Dick Cheney and the U.S. attorney general head to the region tomorrow.

The response from Americans really has been overwhelming. Private homeowners, small towns, non-profit groups, churches, even hotels and schools have stepped up. Roughly 30 states have volunteered to accept evacuees.

A new report said millions of dollars in foreign aid is being delayed by U.S. bureaucrats. More than 90 countries and international organizations have offered to assist in the relief effort, but some of the shipments have been caught up in red tape. Offers include a Swedish water purification system, a German cellphone network, and two Canadian rescue ships.

That is the news for now. We appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us. I`m Thomas Roberts. And we take you back for more of NANCY GRACE.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anybody`s seen my daughter, please, I need you to contact me. I don`t have a number, but I`ll be here until I get her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are dying, literally in our face. You could see the people dying.


GRACE: Welcome back. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us.

I want to go straight out to Wanda Brown. She is looking for her four children.

Ms. Brown, are you with me?


GRACE: Ms. Brown, how did you get separated from your children?

BROWN: We was at the bus station when those helicopters dropped us off. Not at the bus station, under the bridge in Baton Rouge. Under the bridge in Baton Rouge, we all was together. And the crowd was so large, so many people out there, millions, thousands, probably, of people.

And some kind of way, they got pushed to the front and I got pushed to the back. And I watched my kids, my kids go on one bus. I tried to explain to the man that that was my kids that was in the front, and now, by me being in the back, he couldn`t get to me in no kind of way because the crowd wouldn`t let him through and they wouldn`t let me through, either.

Everybody was trying to get to their destination. And there was no kind of way I could reach out to them at all, under no circumstances. So I`m looking for my four kids, 9 years old, 12 years old, 14, and 13 years old.

GRACE: Robert Brown, 14, Ronnie Brown, 13, Robin Brown, 12, Wanda Brown, 9 years old, correct?

BROWN: Yes. Correct.

GRACE: Ms. Brown, the four of them are together, right?

BROWN: No, from my understanding, three of them are together and one are not, because I ran into a friend of mine in the dome, the Reliant Center, where I`m located at. She says she seen three of my kids over at Civic Center in Homer (ph), if I`m not mistaken, that she seen three of them.

And the other one, apparently, he`s supposed to be with another cousin of mine. Her name is Sharika Gerich (ph). And where they`re located at, I have no idea.

GRACE: And you are there in Houston, correct?

BROWN: Yes, Houston, Texas.

GRACE: Thank you, Ms. Brown.

You know, Lauren, to have as a child this in your head the rest of your life, and I`m assuming that she`s going to find them.


GRACE: At that moment, where your mom goes off on one bus.

HOWARD: She will find them. Absolutely. Absolutely.

GRACE: And the crowd is tearing you apart.

HOWARD: It happens in a supermarket for five minutes, and it`s traumatizing. This is for days.

The good news is that the three kids have each other, and the one is with a relative. So the fact is, for children, they`re resilient, and they will bounce back. They just have to be reunited.

I feel for the mother right now. The mother is in more -- in worse shape, from the point of view of she feels guilty about being separated from her kids.

GRACE: I want to go out to Jackie and Jordan Levine. Jackie`s son, stranded for seven days, has just been found.

To Jackie, what happened? That must have been awful. I can`t even imagine being separated from my family this way. What happened?

JACKIE LEVINE, WENT TO FUNERAL TODAY FOR POLICE OFFICER WHO KILLED HIMSELF: After the hurricane, we really didn`t think it was that bad, because the area that we live in, there was no flooding. And I also had cellphone service.

And my son went over to his friend`s house, because he thought it was, you know, wanted to check it out. And after that next day, we could never connect. And I just spent until Wednesday searching for him, until I finally realized that I had to leave.

GRACE: How were you finally able to find him?

LEVINE: Through a lot of friends and my family, posting on the web, and really retracing his steps to figure out where he had ended up going, and just a lot of detective work. And we had narrowed it down to four houses that he could possibly be in.

And on Monday -- I flew back down to Baton Rouge on Sunday. And on Monday, my brother met me. And then four NOPD officers met me at the Crescent City Connection. And I gave them the addresses. And we went in and searched until we found him.

GRACE: Jackie, what can you tell me about the police officer out of New Orleans that committed suicide?

LEVINE: He was a very -- he was a PIO. I make documentaries, true crime documentaries. And for the past four years, I had become very close to him, because any access that I would need, I would have to go through him.

So we really bonded and formed a friendship over the past few years. And I went to his wedding. We used to go out for sushi all the time. And today was his funeral, and I went to his funeral.

But it was really -- it was shocking to me. But, at the same time, when I learned that he had killed himself, my son was missing, so my emotions were so numb at that point that I didn`t know what to feel.

GRACE: I want to go to Jordan.

Jordan, do you remember that moment when you first saw your mom again?

JORDAN LEVINE, SEPARATED FROM MOTHER FOR SEVEN DAYS: Yes, I do. It was kind of weird seeing my mom. And, also, the police agents came in before my mom came in. And they came in with assault rifles drawn, and it kind of scared me.

So I wasn`t really sure what was going on. They were just, like, screaming, "Are you Jordan Levine?" And I`m like, "Yes." And then they brought me out to my mom.

GRACE: I want to go quickly to Rick Sanchez, joining us from New Orleans. Tell me what`s going on with the police, Rick.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, General Honore was quoted by one of my colleagues, Barbara Starr, this morning as saying that he`s not going to be using his forces to go into any of these homes and physically removing Americans from their homes.

He also said he would not starve them out. So I went down to city hall to have a conversation with some of the police officials here to ask them, point blank, whether they were willing to do just that. And I asked them, "Will you extricate -- will you physically remove people from their homes, if they`re not willing to leave?"

And what these police officials told me is that, indeed, that`s exactly what they`re going to do. I asked if anyone had been removed just yet. He said no. I asked them when they planned to do this, whether they`d wait for the waters to recede, or whether they`d do it prior to the waters going down. He said they might be doing it in the next couple of days.

It`s a very difficult thing, especially when you consider that many of these police officers, those are their neighbors that they`re going to be asking or pulling, literally, out of these homes -- Nancy?

GRACE: Well, speaking of the police officers in New Orleans, joining us is New Orleans police officer Jonny Carroll.

Welcome, Jonny. Thank you for being with us. When did the situation begin to fall apart in New Orleans?

JONNY CARROLL, NEW ORLEANS POLICE OFFICER: I would say probably on the -- maybe the second day after the storm. The storm, it devastated the city wind-wise. And then, all of a sudden, the water started coming up in the city. And that`s when it all broke loose.

GRACE: Were you shot at by the looters?

CARROLL: By the people of New Orleans?

GRACE: The looters.

CARROLL: The looters, we were taking gunfire. We didn`t know where it was coming from. It may have been coming off of buildings, but we were definitely shot at, and we were taking gunfire.

GRACE: Jonny, what happened as night fell?

CARROLL: It was very eerie in the city of New Orleans. New Orleans, if anybody`s ever been, is a very vibrant city. It`s full of life. It`s full of people there to have fun.

It`s dark. You ride in the streets, and you see nothing. It`s so surreal to know that you may turn a corner, and there may be somebody looting, and doesn`t want to get caught, and may fire his weapon at you, because you`re trying to keep peace in a city where chaos has been -- it`s just totally out of control.

GRACE: Did you guys, the police, have any communications to try to handle the situation?

CARROLL: Our communication system went down for the first day, but we have a regional talk channel which is set-up, I`m sure, along with the local agencies in the area, metropolitan area of New Orleans. And it was just very hard to get in. The radio signals were kind of weak. And we did have radio, but it was very hard to communicate, very, very hard to communicate.

GRACE: Jonny, what do you say to allegations there are cops walking off the job, handing in their badges? We know of two suicides.

CARROLL: As far as police officers walking on the job -- walking off the job, I didn`t see it personally. You only hear rumors and innuendos. My district, which is the police Eighth District of the city of New Orleans, we were all stuck together. We fought together as a team.

And with the leadership of Captain Kevin Anderson, we stuck together. I don`t know of anybody that left the job. And, I mean, if they did, then so be it. They live with that.

And we signed up for this. And we knew this was a reality, living in the city of New Orleans, with hurricanes. And, you know, we`re in for the long haul. We`re going to be there. And if you signed up to be a New Orleans police officer, let`s do our job, and let`s move forward, and recover, and rebuild this city.

GRACE: With us, Jonny Carroll, New Orleans police officer.

Quick break, everyone.

But as you know by now, it is day two of mourning for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Tuesday, eight pallbearers carried Rehnquist`s coffin up the steps to the Supreme Court. One of the pallbearers, federal Judge John Roberts, President Bush`s nominee to replace the chief justice. Confirmation hearings for Roberts, Rehnquist`s former law clerk, set to begin Monday. Rehnquist`s funeral, this afternoon.


GRACE: The aftermath of Katrina, nearly 10,000 believed to be dead.

Welcome back, I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us.

Very quickly to Mary Snow, CNN correspondent. Mary, where are these up to one million evacuees going?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nancy, that`s what we`re trying to look at now. And just to take a look at the Red Cross shelters, we`re seeing evacuees all over the country. Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi have the highest population of refugees.

The Red Cross says alone it has more than 142,000 people in its shelters. But that is not counting people who have left the region and are staying with family members, maybe staying at hotels.

Texas, of course, we see the Astrodome, that is one of the largest centers of these refugees. And state officials now scrambling for school enrollment for children, for instance.

Philadelphia is one of the latest states to see refugees arrive. About three dozen people arrived this afternoon in Philadelphia.

And also, we`re seeing people as far away as Utah. About 600 evacuees were taken there over the weekend to -- and they`re staying at an Army National Guard base. People are staying in schools, boy scout camps, church camps throughout the entire country.

Now, one thing FEMA is doing -- because we`re seeing these heartbreaking stories of people not being able to find one another -- FEMA has told some states that were bracing for evacuees that they don`t want to remove all these people from the Gulf Coast region. They`re trying not to transport them too far away.

GRACE: To Rick Sanchez there in New Orleans, Rick, how many people do you believe are still there in New Orleans refusing to evacuate or, simply, unable to evacuate?

SANCHEZ: The number is somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000. It`s hard to get an exact number because sometimes it`s hard to tell who`s actually going through, or who`s part of the rescue, or who`s with the media. There are so many people there.

The areas of concentration, though, Nancy, are the Ninth Ward, St. Bernard Parish, part of Orleans parish, and still part of Jefferson Parish, as well. Those are the ones that are still underwater.

And it`s funny, because it changes from day to day, because as I think I may have mentioned in the past, you may talk to somebody today who says, "I`m not leaving. I`m staying right here." But the next day you may come by and they might say, "You know what? Now I`m ready to go."

That`s tough for some of these officials to try and deal with.

GRACE: To Michael Greco, president of the American Bar Association.

Welcome, sir. What are we, as lawyers, trying to do to help?

MICHAEL GRECO, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION: Nancy, the American Bar Association is mobilizing the legal profession in America so that we can be in a position to help.

I have appointed a task force. In fact, even as the storm was raging, I started to appoint a task force that is chaired by a former ABA president, Lee Cooper of Alabama. Also serving on that task force is another former ABA president, Dennis Archer, former mayor of Detroit. There are 20 lawyers serving on this task force.

GRACE: To do what? What are we going to do to help these people?

GRECO: There are, as we heard a moment ago, there are a million displaced people. There are 10,000 dead. The lawyers of America are going to respond.

We will help children who are now without parents to have guardianship and conservatorships appointed. We will help small businesses. We will help individuals with their insurance claims, with property claims.

This is unlike any disaster that the American legal community has ever seen, and the American Bar Association responded immediately to this crisis. And, tomorrow, the task force that I appointed is meeting in Chicago. We will plan a strategy for the next 12 months.

But even as of the last two days, the ABA web site,, is receiving calls from people who need help. And lawyers are volunteering to help all over the country, from all over the country.

GRACE: Here, joining me, Anne Bremner, Seattle lawyer, who is volunteering.

Anne, what about all the legal issues? What`s going to happen to the survivors once they survive the hurricane?

ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Well, the legal issues are all the same, every subject we had in law school, when you think about it, from family law, to, you know, helping children, to criminal law, to consumer protection, to all kinds of different -- probate, of course, with all the deaths involved in the disaster, Nancy.

So I think -- I`m going to repeat it again --, www. This is a call for all lawyers to volunteer.

I`m volunteering. You can get on the web site. It goes through all of these areas, in terms of what you can volunteer, your services as a lawyer. And I think it`s what should be done. It has to be done. And every lawyer in America does pro bono service, but they should definitely, definitely be doing it here, because everyone needs so much legal help, and this is a central service now for lawyers.

GRACE: Let me go back to Mary Snow, CNN correspondent.

Mary, the task of locating and identifying the dead is going to be daunting. And I`m just thinking about it from a forensic point of view. What about these makeshift morgues? How is that going to work?

SNOW: Well, the largest makeshift morgue is right now about 70 miles outside of New Orleans in a town of St. Gabriel. And medical examiners are not really saying how many bodies have been taken there so far. Some reports say about 80.

But this is going to be a monumental task. There`s a staff of about 100 people, as a unit of FEMA. And officials are saying that they can process up to 140 bodies a day. But they say they have no idea how many bodies will ultimately be brought there.

And one thing that the medical emergency director had stressed is that they are trying to really point out that they are treating each body with respect. And there is a sign, in this makeshift warehouse, where bodies are being taken that says, "Let the dead teach the living." And it`s going to be a very grim task.

GRACE: To Lauren Howard, psychotherapist, what can people do to help themselves after this?

HOWARD: The most important thing for them to do is to not think that they can imagine what the future holds, that they have to stay in the moment, and actually embrace what their life is in this moment.

Because the thing that happens to people in this kind of circumstance, Nancy, is they lose control over their life, and they cannot have it back until they sort of let go and go with the flow. And that`s literally what they have to do, one day at a time.

GRACE: Stay with us.


GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help reunite families torn apart by Katrina. Take a look at Stella Dumas, from New Orleans, not seen or heard from since the storm hit. Her son desperately seeking her.

If you have information, please call him, Troy Valdary, 214-707-3992.

Welcome back, everybody. Let`s go straight out to New Orleans and Rick Sanchez.

Tell me about the triage center there at the airport.

SANCHEZ: I just checked, as a matter of fact, with the airport director moments ago, Nancy. And he tells me that they still have some people in there. They`ve been coming in, and we`ve been watching throughout the day behind us. They`ve been coming in, in drips and drabs.

Nothing compared to what you and I were watching taking place here earlier in the week, with what`s just a massive relief, with people lined up for blocks and blocks to be able to get in there. They handled that, you might say, quite well, once they had the operation going.

And we might have some news to share with you right now. In my conversation moments ago with the airport director, he says he`s going to be making an announcement on Friday. He says that he hopes to have part of this airport open, possibly in the next couple of weeks. And he says that they won`t have a full schedule, 170 flights or so, but they will have maybe 20 or 30.


GRACE: Finally, some good news coming from Rick Sanchez there in New Orleans, a possibility that the airport may be working on a limited basis.

Very quickly, to Officer Jonny Carroll out of the New Orleans Police Department. What message do you want to send back to your fellow officers there in New Orleans?

CARROLL: Just hang in there. Fortunately, I was able to leave through the help of the mayor`s office. They coordinated some flights to Atlanta, where I had sent my family. And they`ll get their turn to leave, too, in five days, and I`ll be coming back Saturday.

And I just want to tell them to hang in there and be tough. And we`re going to rebuild the city together. I have no doubt in my mind that New Orleans will be bigger, better, and stronger after this. And with the help of Mayor Nagin, and Chief Compass, and Chief Riley in my district, and my fellow officers, we`re going to do it together.

GRACE: Thank you, Officer.

CARROLL: Thank you.

GRACE: I want to thank all of my guests tonight. But my biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting all of us into your home.

Coming up, headlines from all around the world, Larry on CNN. I`m Nancy Grace signing off for tonight.

Tonight, our thoughts and our prayers with the Southland.

See you here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp. Until then, good night, friend.


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