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Striking Back in New Orleans; Children of the Storm

Aired February 11, 2007 - 22:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Bullets fly, insurgents hide. We've got exclusive video from Iraq.

SANCHEZ: That white house right there, police say that they've been looking into this house for quite some time. And when they go in there, the say they're going to be able to find, they're convinced, some guns and some crack cocaine.


SANCHEZ: What I found when I joined police in New Orleans is even worse. I'll take you there.

Speaking of New Orleans, remember General Russell Honore. He's back with a warning for all of us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I'm sorry, did I hit you?


SANCHEZ: The dangers of reporting. It's one of those stories you've got to see to believe.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I couldn't believe all the people who knew this.


SANCHEZ: And tonight, we reveal the secret that could change your life. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez. She is perhaps the most famous and most fought over baby in the whole world right now. And it could be, sadly enough, because she could be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Tonight, Anna Nicole Smith's daughter is back with her reported father in the Bahamas. And in just a little bit, we're going to be talking with the reporter who was there when they reunited.

But first, we want to show you these pictures that apparently show Anna Nicole Smith's refrigerator. These photographs are from a website, And they say they have verified them as authentic.

Now here they are. Most notable is the white colored bottle labeled methadone, alongside apparent vials of injectable medicine. You see right there? No word on exactly what they are. Also, a couple of cans of Slimfast were found just above the methadone. Also pictured on the refrigerator door, some yogurt, Worchester sauce, spray butter, and a bottle of nutritional supplement known as Miracle 2000.

Now you're going to recall that methadone, and this is why this is important, was noted in the death of Smith's son Daniel some five months ago. According to, Bahamas law enforcement are aware of the refrigerator's contents.

And again, we want to reiterate this. These photographs are from Smith's home in the Bahamas, not the Florida hotel room where she was found. That's important.

Now here's another important piece of information. The doctor who performed Smith's autopsy says alcohol probably didn't play - didn't play a role in her death. Broward County medical examiner Joshua Perper tells CNN he's looking for signs of infection at this point. He expects to reveal Smith's official cause of death in just a couple weeks.

In the meantime, the battle over Smith's baby is already raging. So joining us now is "Entertainment Tonight's" Mark Steines.

Mark, we understand that you talked to Howard K. Stern. Does he have the baby?

MARK STEINES, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Howard K. Stern, yes. I can tell you this. I was there when Howard reunited with baby Dannielynn in the Bahamas. It was a very emotional reunion. We have that footage of the two. And Howard, you know, held that baby forever.

And I could -- it seemed as if that's really what was keeping him strong, because he was very fragile. As you can tell...


STEINES: you could expect, he was just very, very, you know, emotional.

SANCHEZ: Well, let's get to him in a minute, but you know, my concern is the baby first, man. How's the baby doing?

STEINES: Yes. The baby's doing great. You know, she's being looked after. She was in a safe location, secret location. Basically, after the story with Anna passing away, you know, they wanted to make sure that they knew that house was going to go, you know, everybody was going to run to the house and there was going to be paparazzi and photographers there.

So the baby was moved for that reason so she could at least maintain somewhat of a normal life. And so, we were able to go inside the kind of safe house, if you will. And she's doing great. I mean, she was doing everything a baby should do.

SANCHEZ: Mark, let me ask you this. Is Howard K. Stern convinced that this is his baby? And is he hell bent at this point on keeping it, no matter what it means?

STEINES: Yes. Howard K. Stern believes he is the father of that child, a child, you know, knows - Howard's the only, you know, person he knows or she knows his father.

And you know, he told me -- I did an interview with him. And we talked about for 30 minutes. And in that time, you know, we talked from everything about the will. We talked about, you know Virgee Arthur, and how he's doing everything he can to keep that baby away from her because he's carrying out Anna's wishes. Not necessarily his own, but he's doing exactly what he feels Anna Nicole would want done. And that's to keep that baby away from her mother.

SANCHEZ: Well, listen, Mark, appreciate the time you take to talk to us.


SANCHEZ: We certainly will be talking to you again. We appreciate you sharing that with us.

STEINES: All right. Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Well, on the subject of Anna Nicole Smith, I want to share a conversation I had with some people or people just like you, people who always impress us with their insights about the stories that we cover here at CNN. I gathered up some of the people taking the CNN tour at our world headquarters in Atlanta, seeing how their views on this square perhaps with yours.


SANCHEZ: Anna Nicole Smith, what a story. Why are we so captivated? Anybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think the news media.

SANCHEZ: We're doing it?


SANCHEZ: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. She's high-profile, but the news media is really making it go.

SANCHEZ: Tell us why.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been listening for years and years about the trial and her life. And she's had a very -- she's been in the media most of her life. And it's all...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...the reality show. Yes, and the controversial marriage. Is she married? Isn't she married? You know, married and now the baby. Whose is it? I mean, it's just one drama after another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And being on the front of "Playboy." She was...

SANCHEZ: You ask?


SANCHEZ: You don't think she should be famous?


SANCHEZ: Gained weight, lost weight. People say she was a gold digger because she married a man who was about 60 years her elder, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, right. Millionaire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think she was just looking for love. She wants somebody to love her.

SANCHEZ: Why is it that you put her on TV and you get a lot of people watching her?

One more time, one more time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watching a car wreck. You don't want to turn away.

SANCHEZ: Raise your hand if you think this story's going to be ending soon.


SANCHEZ: Really? Raise your hand if you think this thing's going to have a long shelf life.

You do, you do.

Why is it going to have a long shelf life?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has a daughter, unknown father, continuing lawsuit from the original husband of hers. And that's just going to continue and continue and continue.

SANCHEZ: Let's talk about this real quick. Who gets the baby? Who gets the baby?


SANCHEZ: Say it again? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The paternity suit has to be settled first.

SANCHEZ: In the meantime, people are saying, you know, her body is still warm. And they're already trying to get a DNA test to see who...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But they need to.

SANCHEZ: You agree?


SANCHEZ: Not in bad taste?


SANCHEZ: Necessary?


SANCHEZ: Really?



SANCHEZ: What America says.

By the way, Anna Nicole Smith is a perfect example of a life spinning out of control. Could she, could any of us control our fate and then somehow turn our lives around?

People who believe in something called the secret say yes. And it's now in a book form and in video form. This seems to be the latest craze. That's why we're looking into this thing. Oprah, all over it. So we decided to examine it for ourselves, this secret.


RHONDA BYRNE, AUTHOR, "THE SECRET": A year ago my life had collapsed around me. Little did I know at the time, out of my greatest despair was to come the greatest gift.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): In 2004, Rhonda Byrne went to work researching, analyzing, and redefining a new age-old world principle she calls the secret. Think of it as a massive collision between the law of attraction, the power of positive thinking, and cosmic energy.

BYRNE: I couldn't believe all the people who knew this. They were the greatest people in history. All I wanted to do was share the secret with the world. I began searching for people alive today who know the secret. One by one, they began to emerge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can have whatever it is that we choose. I don't care how big it is. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the great secret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care if you're an Indian, if you're in Australia, New Zealand, Stockholm, or London, or Toronto, or Montreal, or New York. We're all working with one power, one law, it's attraction. The secret is the law of attraction.

SANCHEZ: The law of attraction defined is like attracts like. If you think about things that make you unhappy, those thoughts attract more of the same to you. But it's not that easy. It's not just the words. It's feelings and state of mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you focus on the things that you don't want, I don't want to be late, I don't want to be late, you really are calling that into existence. The law of attraction doesn't hear that you don't want it. And so it's going to show up over and over and over again. The law of attraction is not biased to wants or don't wants. It manifests the things that you're thinking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The law of attraction is always working, whether you believe it or understand it or not.


SANCHEZ: You know, it's captivated so many people at this point, so many successful people. So if it's always working, wouldn't it make sense to somehow get the law of attraction working for you?

We're going to have that. It's in part 2 of the secret later in this newscast.

And Rhonda Byrne, the woman behind "The Secret," is going to join us to talk about it. So will Jack Canfield. He's got a big following, as you probably know, the author of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. He's going to join us as well.

And we also want to hear from you. You know, we always like to involve you in these newscasts to see how - what you think of the things that we're putting on the air.

Do you make your own life more difficult than it needs to be? Do we all do that? Give us a call. It's 1-800-807-2620. Again, do you make your life more difficult than it needs to be? That's spring boarding off this secret that we are going to be focusing on. Give us a call. We're going to air some of your responses right here later in the hour.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At times, you feel like I'm 16 and on my own.


SANCHEZ: Sometimes you can't control what happens in your life. These young Hurricane Katrina survivors find out the hard way. But now, they're retaking control with cameras in hand.

The sights and sounds of clear and present danger in Iraq, in the neighborhood, in the gun fight. CNN gives you this exclusive look inside.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I were running al Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and pray as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats.


SANCHEZ: What? Why is the prime minister of Australia telling Americans who they should vote for for president? Find out in less than three minutes here in the NEWSROOM.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. It's appropriate that we're in the international area of our NEWSROOM here at the headquarters of CNN, because what we're going to be talking about now are some of the stories that have been coming in globally.

And we're going to start with, interestingly enough, with someone from Illinois, Barack Obama. Why? Well, he's taking serious heat from a foreign leader just a day after he entered the race for the White House.

Australia's prime minister, that's right Australia's Prime Minister John Howard blasted the Democratic presidential hopeful for his idea to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq by March of next year. Howard says if he led al Qaeda in Iraq, he'd pray for an Obama victory.


JOHN HOWARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: He's a long way from being president of the United States. I think he's wrong. I think that would just encourage those who wanted completely to stabilize and destroy Iraq and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory.


SANCHEZ: Howard, of course, is an ally of President Bush and a strong supporters of the U.S. led war. Obama says Howard should back up his own words with this.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have close to 140,000 troops on the ground now. And my understanding is that Mr. Howard has deployed 1400. So if he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric.


SANCHEZ: It's important to point out that the Australians fighting in Iraq have not been on the frontlines like the Americans. And in case you're wondering, two Australians have died while serving in Iraq. Obama dismissed Mr. Howard's claim that terrorists would support his election. Obama said a U.S. led invasion has actually increased the threat of terrorism.

I want to show you some incredible video right now out of Iraq. It's -- what you're about to see is a battle for a small town. It's near Baquba.

Those are road side bombs that are actually being detonated as you watch this. Look at this video. Some of them are fake. Others brought the operation to a complete crawl as the U.S. troops tried to go around that neighborhood that you're just seeing there.

Now the troops also faced some sniper fire from alleys and surrounding buildings. After eight hours, they managed to advance less than half a mile.


CAPT. DAMON HOLDITCH, U.S. ARMY: We've been here an hour now and trying to clear this. And if they're going to be waiting for us, and we've heard reports of RPG teams moving in.


SANCHEZ: Also in Iraq today, new evidence that Iran is arming Iraqi insurgents. Get a look at this. This is Exhibit A. It's in the case made by senior U.S. military officials, who asked not to be named, by the way. These are some of the explosives and some of the weapons said to be made in Iran and then smuggled into Iraq. The weapons are blamed for the deaths of 170 American troops as recently as Friday. An Iranian diplomat said that his country had not provided any weapons to Iraqi insurgents.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The true art of the strategic leader is to avoid a crisis.


SANCHEZ: Remember him? He's known for his New Orleans work. Now General Russell Honore wants to get every community ready for disaster.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I bought my dream home, renovated it and didn't even know it. I looked at that house. I started to cry, because I was just blown away. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Yes, you're going to recognize him. Dare to dream. We've given you part one of the secret. Part two in just a little bit.

Right now we're asking you, do you make your life more difficult than it needs to be? This has to do with part 2. So we need you to stick around. But call us now, 1-800-807-2620. 1-800-807-2620. Your responses are coming right up.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. I'm Rick Sanchez. This is the epic center, essentially our feed room, where we get videos from all over the world. We're going to start here. This is in West Philadelphia. Tragic scene. Five people dead. A mother and her four children in a house. Officials say they later went in and found so many reasons to start - this fire could have started. They haven't been able to narrow down exactly what caused it.

Now let's take you here. This is Maplewood, New Jersey. You know New Jersey as a problem with bears, right? Well, here's another one. See the bear all the way at the top of the tree? He was there for such a long time. They couldn't get him down. So they sent for someone with one of those tranquilizer dart rifles. And watch for yourself as they use the dart on the bear and what happens next.

There he goes. The good news is, the bear's doing just fine because they were able to catch him with a net.

Now let's take you to upstate New York. Places like Oswego, places like Mexico, New York. 11 feet of snow and still climbing. According to some officials, we're going to tell you why we're using the world climbing in this case.

But before we do that, let's show you some of the other reports that we've been getting from people all over the area. In fact, let's show you the first i-report we have from you. This one comes in from Jane Beltrano of Mexico, New York. Look at that. Talk about a winter wonderland.

Now let's go to the next one. This is from her as well. This is from Jane Beltrano. She sent us another one. Cars and other things suddenly turn into slides, don't they?

And Anne Joiner sends us this one. Look at that plume of snow. That's tall. That's a lot of snow, folks.

And now, back to what I was saying. It could climb, could get even higher. You know why? Because there's talk now that there could be another front coming through. For more on that, let me go over here.

And that's where we're going to pick it up with Jacqui Jeras, who's following things for us now. And when you hear about another possible front, same people being affected in the same area possibly?

JACQUI JERAS: Kind of, sort of, yes.

SANCHEZ: All right. What does that mean?

JERAS: Well, the total -- I know. That was a good answer, wasn't it? Exactly.

Well, a completely different weather phenomenon will be happening, in fact, in much of upstate New York. But this isn't going to be happening probably until late Wednesday and into Thursday.

Now Oswego could be getting it again with some blizzard type conditions, with some heavy snow and strong winds, but we're not talking about another lake effect snow event. That system finally pulling out of there. Maybe another couple of inches on top of what they already have late tonight and early tomorrow morning, but all the warnings should be dropped by 7:00 tomorrow morning. So that's some good news. So they're getting a little break.

SANCHEZ: Sounds like it may be yes, and it may be no.

JERAS: All right. Well, let's show you this next storm system that I'm talking about. And this one is still in the beginning stages. And I'm going to be honest with you here. This is one tough storm to forecast.

And part of that has to do with the fact that it's not even developed yet. Now some of the energy from our western storm system is now moving across the Rockies.

And we're expecting cyclo genesis. There's your big meteorological term for the day to take place. Basically, that means our low pressure storm system is going to be developing right in this area, we think, overnight.

And once it's developed and it's got a spot, we'll have a much better idea of exactly where it's going to be tracking. Right now, we've got cold air advancing ahead of the system. High pressure up to the north from Canada. And we're seeing a little bit of snow showers moving in across northern parts of Iowa. Snow coming down right now in Mason City right here near the I-35 corridor, and then heading on into northern parts of Illinois. Milwaukee, Chicago, could get a little bit of light snow showers through the overnight hours as well.

Now winter storm watches have been posted across much of the area. And you're seeing that here in the area all across parts there in the white. And this stretches all the way into the mid Atlantic states. We don't think that will come into play until late tomorrow night. Mostly a Tuesday event.

OK, so here's what our initial thinking is now. We think we could see some ice condition here from Kansas City, extending down towards Cincinnati. This is going to be pulling in most likely in the afternoon hours for tomorrow. Heavy snow along the I-70 corridor and northward. That includes you in Indianapolis. We think Chicago southern suburbs could get some of the heavier snow.

Pulling in the D.C. area, we think probably into Tuesday and Wednesday. But what about the northeastern corridor? Rain, snow, blizzards what? We'll have more details on the next half of this storm system, coming up in the next half of the show.

SANCHEZ: So be warned. All right, thanks so much, Jacqui. We certainly appreciate that.

Talking now about a man who had such an effect on so many people in New Orleans. We're talking, of course, about General Russell Honore. He's back in the business of helping people. This time, though, he wants to make sure he get to the problem before the problem develops. It's called preparedness.

Here now, General Russell Honore.


LT. GEN. RUSSELL HONORE, U.S. ARMY: Hey. Put those down. Put the weapons down.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Lieutenant General Russell Honore, days after Hurricane Katrina, reminding his soldiers they're there in New Orleans on a mission of peace, to save lives. These days, his mission is to train soldiers for war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And in his spare time, he's training whole communities on some of the lessons he learned from Katrina.

HONORE: And readiness to be prepared to deal with the event on earth, whether it's man made, intentional.

SANCHEZ: Honore witnessed firsthand the chaos that results from a lack of planning, strategy, and leadership in the face of a crisis.

HONORE: The true art of the strategic leader is to avoid a crisis. And that is done through preparation and procedures that are followed that the next day you can say, I'm glad we got those people out of there before the storm came.

SANCHEZ: As the general puts it...

HONORE: We live in a new normal.

SANCHEZ: The new normal, he says, are the natural disasters, industrial accidents, and terror attacks that are happening more frequently.

HONORE: If you live in a mega city, and there's industrial accident or a terrorist attack, you have to always be ready.

SANCHEZ: And the same goes for people living in smaller communities, he says. The deadly tornadoes just recently in central Florida showed what happens when a community isn't prepared for the unexpected. HONORE: Let me give you a lesson number one. Don't give grandpa another tie. Give them a weather radio. Don't take grandma another one of them little fancy picture frames so you can put your kids' pictures in it again. Give her a weather radio.

SANCHEZ: Honore says there's a ninth ward in every city, a community of poor, elderly, or infirm people, who can't help themselves in a crisis. And that, he says, is where churches and service organizations have to step in.

HONORE: But when the - in terms of a disaster of the nature of Katrina hit, that interdependence is very important, because it's impossible - as powerful as the military is, as powerful as the state government is to address all those needs simultaneously.

SANCHEZ: Honore travels the country preaching preparedness. He hopes the nation is listening. After all...

HONORE: It's best to avoid a crisis than to practice responding to it.


SANCHEZ: He's a good guy, isn't he? When you think of General Honore, you think of what? You're thinking New Orleans. So as Mardi Gras approaches, I'm going to be taking you there, back to New Orleans, to show you what police do in the dead of night. You're going to see it as it happens. The heroin, the cocaine busts, the gun seizures, the works. It's coming up. I'll take you there when I go out with them in just a little bit.


SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: I want you to record your life, what you're doing, what's in and around you.


SANCHEZ: That was director Spike Lee. He's giving New Orleans students a project. They already know the script. As a matter of fact, they live the script.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have any more to say to you. You're all full of (BLEEP). You deal with my lawyer.



SANCHEZ: Oops is right. In fact, it got much worse from there, much, much worse. A reporter just doing his job, but he didn't know what he was in for. This is all coming up in 30 minutes. This is one of those you have got to see.

This is our NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back.

Well, the Mardi Gras parades are already rolling through New Orleans, and the crowds are going to be growing larger every single day getting ready for Fat Tuesday. But the city's annual moment in the spotlight really being marred, isn't it, by the crimes, the murders you've been hearing about, the drug deals -- really, you name it. But police are trying to mount an aggressive response. A special team, it operates after dark, tries to take back the city street by street.

I went there to see what they were doing. And I also went along for the ride.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody parallel. Somebody parallel.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's a new day with a new way of fighting crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Melvin, go -- the street we just passed, that little cut by the park, got a white Camaro, a white Trans Am.

He's running. He's running.

SANCHEZ: Apparently not running for long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, you told me it was his cousin, though.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're calling him "My cousin Brian."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Bill. You ain't making no sense. Roll over. Roll over.

SANCHEZ: The suspect is caught off guard. Right next to him, police find a bag of ecstasy. A quick chase. A quick catch.

Why? Imagine 15 cops running at you all at once from different directions. It's why they're called the jump-out boys.

In just a little more than three months, this elite unit has made more than 1,000 arrests, confiscated 44 guns and taken 250 suspected drug dealers off the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do I know from? What area? I forgot. St. Claude area?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Music. All right. All right.

Ooh, that's all the killers over there, huh? SANCHEZ: It feels like a game of whose who. The goal is to end the city's murder epidemic. Hurricane Katrina has left police playing catch up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mind if we go in that vehicle before I get a dog over here?

I'm asking you, brother.

SANCHEZ: We're a mile away from the French Quarter. A tip leads the unit to a suspected dope seller.

(on camera): You see this car? Police say this is a dead give away. It's parked in the corner. You can see the windows are tinted. And the driver's seat is usually reclined because they say that's a, usually a drug seller whose customers know he's there.

Now, he doesn't want police to know he's there. That's why his seat is leaned all the way back.

And what is he selling? Here it is. It's a half an ounce bag of marijuana.

(voice-over): It's hardly a major drug bust, but the night is still young and there's new information on what could be a sizable bust, the kind that sticks in court.

(on camera): We're in the Lower Ninth Ward. This is a church in this area. It's open on Fridays, Tuesdays and obviously enough on Sundays.

Now, let me show you something right next door. That white house right there. Police say that they have been looking into this house for quite some time. And when they go in there, they say they're going to be able to find, they're convinced, some guns and some crack cocaine.

By the way, they say the hours of operation there, 24/7.

(voice-over): With warrant in hand, they're in. Three suspects arrested. They won't talk. But what police are about to find speaks for itself. A semiautomatic handgun with plenty of ammo, heroin, marijuana, and $3,400 in cash.

Still, though, no crack cocaine. The key may be to call in a canine unit. They do. And it works.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See these pieces of crack cocaine?

SANCHEZ (on camera): Um-hum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Individually bagged. See how they're all tied and knotted at the top?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Common signs of street level crack cocaine dealing.

SANCHEZ: So it's both heroin and cocaine in there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the way it looks.

SANCHEZ: And that looks to be a pretty significant amount.


SANCHEZ: That's enough to send you to federal prison for some time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than likely, yes.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): All three suspects are booked. Because they were next to a school and a church, their charges will be aggravated. In fact, one of them is a convicted felon. Could face up to 30 years in a federal penitentiary.



SANCHEZ: It's now 2:00 in the morning, and two more arrests bring the shift's total to six. But their work is not over. These officers are going to be in court tomorrow because arrests are one thing, convictions are another.


SANCHEZ: Our thanks, by the way, to Sergeant Dan Anderson (ph) there. He's the one who was doing most of the talking.

Thanks for letting us go along for the ride.

Hurricane Katrina, the next chapter begins in the morning. That's when the first of thousands of federal lawsuits against insurance companies is going to be heard. Most of the suits are by Gulf Coast property owners who say that their insurers denied claims, underestimated damage, or underpaid some of the settlements.

Well, they have gone from survivors to storytellers. The children of New Orleans are recording their daily lives, and doing so in a project that's headed by an A-list director.

CNN's Soledad O'Brien was there when these kids got to share their new assignments.


SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: Seven days a week. There should not be a day that doesn't go by where you're not filming. Can everybody make that promise?

CROWD: Promise. Promise.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The idea is very simple.

LEE: And you're each been given a camera. And we want you to record your life, what you're doing, what's in and around you.

O'BRIEN: Famed director Spike Lee and I traveled to New Orleans.

LEE: Amanda.

O'BRIEN: Handing out cameras to 11 Katrina survivors. We asked them to tape their experiences growing up in the city. They'll record through the second anniversary of the storm this August. Our photographer, David Albritan (ph), gave them a 101 before they started taping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Push that. And lightly open the door. And the tape pops out.

O'BRIEN: But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

LEE: That is the story, though.

O'BRIEN: First, there was a discussion about life in New Orleans now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I commute every day.

LEE: Every day?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An hour and 20 minutes, yes, sir.

LEE: Who are you living with now again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A close friend of mine. And it's really hard. At times you feel like, I'm 16 and I'm on my own.

O'BRIEN: The students already know what they want to show the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I want to do is make it an inspiration to kind of inspire other young people and show them, you know, even though that big, you know, tragedy happened, you still can strive through. Even though it's a big, big struggle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to show the nation that it's not anything like it used to be and it probably never will be.

O'BRIEN: Do you feel a little bit forgotten?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like we're the lost city. And really, to me, New Orleans feels like an island to the United States. We pretty much like Hawaii now. It's like they don't really care.

O'BRIEN: As the talk winds down, Spike Lee heads out and the students start to learn their craft.

LEE: So we're expecting to get some great footage. So you're doing this for the world. Remember, it's not just for yourself. So you've got to come correct. You don't want to go out and half, half, ruddy put (ph), right?

O'BRIEN: So Dave is going to teach you how to use your cameras.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So everybody turn their camera on and point it toward me and hit record. You'll see the little red dot. That means you're recording. Everybody see a red dot? And just say, hello, and give your name on the camera. Everybody do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, my name is Chantelle (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Britney (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Josh. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could give you my real nickname?

O'BRIEN (on camera): You can call me whatever you want.


O'BRIEN: I like that.

Well, Gumbo expects to see some good work.


O'BRIEN: Michelle, will you hand out my e-mail address to everybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course. This is a beautiful shot of her.

O'BRIEN (voice over): Soledad O'Brien, CNN, New Orleans.


SANCHEZ: By the way, you can find a lot more about the Children of the Storm project by visiting our -- and our visit with Spike Lee, pardon me, by going online at

And if you have questions for some of these kids, you can e-mail Soledad. Just got to That's

And be sure to watch "AMERICAN MORNING," of course, every week day, beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern with Miles and Soledad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. Oh, I'm sorry. Did I hit you? Did I hit you? Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of here!


SANCHEZ: Wow. A roving reporter and a raging businessman. What is the deal with that guy? The punches fly. That's only the beginning. We're going to show you the damage next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was attracting into my life all these different events, including this person.


SANCHEZ: Your thoughts, feelings and energy, are they the secrets to success? If you're down, feel like you can't win, there is a secret out there.

It's a phenomenon. We're into it. Find out more in the NEWSROOM as we continue.


SANCHEZ: We have gone from the NEWSROOM to the CNN control room. And we welcome you back.

I'm Rick Sanchez, checking out a couple of videos that we've been looking at there.

Let's start with this. Let's check this out. This is a routine news assignment, but, boy, does it get really ugly.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. Oh, I'm sorry. Did I hit you? Did I hit you?

Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of here! What, are you going to hit me? Are you going to hit me?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of here, all right? I'm sick of your (EXPLETIVE DELETED)! Go ahead, hit me.


SANCHEZ: The reporter was 75-year-old Peter Silverman, a consumer advocate with CityNews in Toronto. He had gone to the eyeglass shop because at least two customers believed they had been ripped off.

CNN spoke by phone with Silverman. He says the optician lured him to the store to apologize for an earlier confrontation.


SILVERMAN: Yes. He called and said that he loved us and that he saw the errors of his ways, and that he was willing to talk to us, and he had found God. I don't know about the God bit. I'm not too sure about the error of his ways, but the love bit went down the tube pretty fast.


SANCHEZ: The optician was later arrested. CityNews stresses that Silverman raised his fists only to defend himself.

And by the way, we've all been there. So life comes up lopsided and knocks you down.

Well, an Australian author has an answer that she calls "The Secret". We've been telling you about this.

Rhonda Byrne's principle is based on the law of attraction -- like attracts like. Byrne says if you channel your thoughts you can change your life. And the concept, this is something that's a phenomenon. It has a lot of people talking.


SANCHEZ (voice over): If the secret has any sort of tenet, it is this: three steps taken from the New Testament of the bible.

First, ask for what you want. At the very moment, believe and know it is yours. And finally, be prepared to receive.

DR. JOE VITALE, MIRACLES COACHING PROGRAM: And the universe will start to rearrange itself to make it happen for you.

JAMES ARTHUR RAY, "THE SECRET": Let's take this metaphor and blow it out and apply it to you and your life. Remember, Aladdin is the one who always asks for what he wants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "THE SECRET": Your wish is my command.

RAY: Then you've got the universe at large, which is this grand genie. And traditions, you know, have called it so many different things -- your holy guardian angel, your higher self. I mean, we could put any label on it. And you choose the one that works best for you. But every tradition has told us there's something bigger than us.

VITALE: Well, another people wonder about is, how long is this going to take? How long will it take to manifest the car, the relationship, the money, whatever it happens to be? Well, I don't have any rule book.

BOB DOYLE, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: Size is -- it's nothing to the universe. It is no more difficult to attract on a scientific level something that we consider huge to something that we consider infinitesimally small.

The universe does everything it does with zero effort. Grass doesn't strain to grow. It's effortless. It's just this great design. It's all about what's going on up here. It's about what we put in place, saying this is big, it's going to take some time. This is small -- oh, I'll give it an hour. You know, those are our rules that we define. There are no rules, according to the universe.

SANCHEZ: No rules. But here's a good first step.

Byrne and her advisers suggest writing out a list of things for which you are grateful. She says it will shift your train of thought and be a great introduction in the book you're about to author called your destiny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all around us. All we've got to do is open our eyes and look.


SANCHEZ: The author and the famous follower (ph) join us next in the NEWSROOM. You're going to hear about "The Secret". What is it? What can it do for you?

We know. We want to know. You want to know. So we're going to ask.

All this when we come back.


SANCHEZ: We promised "The Secret" in a bit, and we're going to give it to you. But first the secret regarding weather and how you're going to be able to get around tomorrow.


SANCHEZ: Meanwhile, "The Secret," now known round the world. We've been talking about it throughout the night.

Rhonda Byrne is the author. She stumbled across this concept when her life was falling apart.

Author Jack Canfield, of course, also joins us from Los Angeles. He wrote the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. Boy, talk about something that took off, huh?

Rhonda, we're going to start with you. And I guess the obvious question here is, what is "The Secret"? The short version of what "The Secret" really is.


The short version is we've revealed the law of attraction, which the law of attraction is that like attracts like. And basically, in a nutshell, whatever we are thinking and feeling we are attracting into our lives. So we are creating our lives with everything that we are thinking and feeling.

So it's actually...

SANCHEZ: So we need to know that what we think expands, that what we think becomes what we are?

BYRNE: That's -- yes, that's -- that's true. Whatever you think and you feel you send out, and you draw that and magnetize that back to you.

So, in other words, what "The Secret" is saying is there is incredible power inside every single human being, because they're the most magnificent magnet in this electromagnetic field of the universe. And all you have to do is think and feel what you want in your life and you will magnetize it to you.

SANCHEZ: Jack, how do you make sure something like this isn't just gobbledygook, that actually it could change people?

JACK CANFIELD, AUTHOR, "CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL": Well, basically, what I've experienced in my life -- I've taught "The Secret" to literally tens of thousands of people over the last 30 years. I've used it in my own life to sell over 100 million books in 47 languages.

And just to give you a sense of how powerful there is, one of the women who watched "The Secret" and saw in my part how I manifested $100,000 in one year when my annual income was $8,000 previous to that, decided she wanted to make $100,000 in one month to prove it was possible.

And then her mind said, no, no, no, it's got to be bigger than that. And so she ended up deciding to raise $300,000 in 30 days and feed three million children. And what she did was, in that 33 days, without any sense of how it was going to manifest, actually pulled it off.

SANCHEZ: So what is it, Jack? I mean, there are people sitting at home saying, you know, I waited for you guys to explain this to me. Is it a consciousness, is it a way of thinking, is it a new way that we have to treat ourselves?

CANFIELD: Basically, what "The Secret" is saying is whatever you think about comes about. And so you have to start being really conscious about what you want and getting rid of all doubt.

SANCHEZ: Give me an example. Give me an example.

CANFIELD: Basically, let's say that you want to be on a TV show. And -- but you're going, no one knows me, I couldn't possibly do that. Or you want to travel to Europe and you say, but I don't have the money. And as soon as you say "but I don't" or "I can't," you basically cancel the invitation.

See, it works through quantum physics. The universe is an endless sea of energy, and what I think about actually...

SANCHEZ: So... CANFIELD: ... creates the flow of energy to me. Think of it as the Internet.

We all use our cell phones and we make wireless phone calls from New York to Hong Kong. Every thought you think sends out a wave that goes literally a minimum of 25,000 miles. We have research to prove that. It's like sending an e-mail to everyone on the planet who can help you achieve your goal.

SANCHEZ: That's -- I've got to let you go because we're running out of time. It's fascinating. I guess people are going to have to do a lot of research on this.

It's certainly something that's caught on. It's a phenomenon. And we thank you both for being on and talking about this on this day.

We appreciate it.

CANFIELD: Thank you.

BYRNE: Thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: All right.

Well, gas prices going in the wrong direction. Details at the top of the hour.

But first, more of your responses to our call now.

The question that we asked: Do you make your life more difficult than it really needs to be? Here you go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. This is Mary Ann (ph) calling from Denver.

I think definitely I do make my life more difficult than it needs to be. I think we all do in this culture of ours. And I try to remember that less is more. And therefore, instead of overwhelming myself with tasks and multitasking, it's important for me to take time out and just appreciate what I have and simplify my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, my name is Stephanie (ph) and I'm calling from Maryland. And I'm a true believer that we all make our lives more difficult than they need to be by putting more stress on ourselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Richard. I'm calling from Fullerton, California. And yes, I make my life more difficult because I keep allowing negative people back in my life after I realize that they're not healthy emotionally for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. My name is Dorothy. I'm calling from Yuma, Arizona. I believe I make my life harder than it has to be by worrying about things I can't change and not changing things I can. (END AUDIO CLIP)



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