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Nancy Grace

Fires Continue to Rage in New Orleans

Aired September 06, 2005 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, the nightmare on the country`s Gulf Coast only gets worse. Fires continue to rage in New Orleans, and now we`ve learned the water itself standing in New Orleans since Katrina slammed the city is contaminated with the deadly E. coli bacteria from raw sewage. Tonight, a state of emergency in the Southland, people begging for you to help them find their loved ones.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, a city in crisis struggles against all odds to become a city of hope. The rescue and clean-up effort in New Orleans kicks into high gear. But tonight, another challenge, finding thousands of missing people while identifying and burying the dead, perhaps up to 10,000. The job, to restore law and order, to protect survivors, to apprehend violent criminals now on the loose, battle toxic flood waters and a lack of food and shelter. We are taking you live to the Southland.

First I want to go to Sean Callebs in Houston. Sean, what do you see there?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s pretty much -- this instant city has really taken form over the past week. There are more than 25,000 people here in the Astrodome area. But think about it, Nancy. If you take the population of St. Paul, Minnesota, instantly move them to Texas, that`s basically what has happened here. Over 250,000 evacuees have flooded this state over the past eight days.

And so many, so many have horror stories. You talk about the environmental and the personal suffering -- the environmental damage, the personal suffering going on in the New Orleans area. What we see here are just legions of people who have been disconnected with their families, parents coming up saying, We`re dearly trying to find our children, brothers and sisters who haven`t seen each other.

We had one just terribly heart-breaking story a few days ago. A gentleman named David white, 53 years old, came here from New Orleans with four of his five grown children. The last time he spoke with his 20-year- old daughter was a week ago on Tuesday. At that time, she was in that nightmare that was the area just outside the convention center. She was up to her chest in water. She was screaming and frantic on the phone. The phone cut off, and he has not spoken with her since. Those are the kind of stories we`re hearing here, Nancy.

GRACE: I want to go now live to Anderson Cooper. He is standing by there in New Orleans. Anderson, welcome back, friend. What do you see?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Nancy, I see what I`ve been seeing these last couple days. And you know, it`s getting better. There`s no doubt about it. I mean, every day, more and more people are coming down here, federal agencies, local, state. And they are working around the clock, trying to make it better.

But there is -- you know, we are getting reports -- you know, a doctor we talked to a short time ago said he is outraged at sort of lack of organization that he has seen. He`s a psychiatrist from Tulane. We talked to another doctor who`s very concerned about what is in this water. I mean, as you know, Nancy, I mean, there`s human remains, human waste. There are dogs lying dead in this water. There are people lying in this water.

And these first responders are often out there in these boats, like the media are, without protective gear. It is getting very dangerous, and it`s going to get, in some ways, worse when they start to collect these bodies. It is a very hairy situation here, Nancy.

GRACE: Anderson, I understand that there is now a plan to tear down the Superdome?

COOPER: Well, I don`t want to go that far. What we have been told by a spokesperson from James Lee Witt`s office -- James Lee Witt, former FEMA director, he`s now adviser here, working for the state government -- they have said a preliminary report has shown far more structural damage in the Superdome than they had previously thought, and it is likely, they say -- likely, that`s the word they use -- that it`s going to have to come down.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water was so deep, you know, I had to come out, you know? I was running out of food. That`s why I came out, I was running out of food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When this thing happened -- when this thing happened, You got people shooting each other, stealing from each other. The only thing I trusted was my dog.


GRACE: Tonight we are going to show you photos connected with numbers of people that are missing. Right now, I want to go out to Lakerisha Boyd, reunited with her 4-year-old son, still missing others. Ms. Boyd, are you with me?


GRACE: Ms. Boyd, tell me what happened.

BOYD: Well, first of all, we had to walk a long walk. You know, we walked, like, two miles to get where we had to go. I sent my son on a truck because I felt it was better, because we had to walk. You know, we didn`t have a way to get where we were going. We didn`t even know where we were going. And you know, some friends passed, they wanted to get us all. But my brothers were behind, and I didn`t want to make my son wait behind because of my brothers, you know? And I just felt it was safer. But I thought we were going to the same place, and actually, I just lost contact with him. But I`m happy now I have him here, you know?

GRACE: Ms. Boyd, how old is the child you`re missing?

BOYD: My son is 16 months.

GRACE: And you believe that he is with your grandmother?

BOYD: Yes, ma`am. He is.

GRACE: Now, you evacuated out of New Orleans?

BOYD: Yes, ma`am, I did.

GRACE: What happened?

BOYD: Well, after we walked so far, we were just waiting...

GRACE: No, I mean before that. Was your home flooded?

GRACE: Oh, yes, ma`am. We actually, me and my kids, our home was flooded after the hurricane. I went and kicked in a door upstairs in an abandoned house across the street from us, and we went up there and we stayed up there for, like, two days until people started saying that we had to leave. You know. and when I saw the water rising, I just got my kids and we started walking.

And from there, we was on a bridge for days. We stopped several places. We didn`t eat. You know, we had a lot of problems. So even though he wasn`t here, I`m glad he didn`t have to go through it, you know? But I`m just glad we`re -- you know, we`re together now.

GRACE: Ms. Boyd, what do you mean you were on a bridge for several days?

BOYD: We were on a bridge for only two days. They were giving us hot water. We didn`t have food. They were giving us chips. When we did get on a bus, it brought us to -- I don`t even know where they brought us, but it was several stops where we had to stop, and we slept outside. They didn`t give us food.

And some bus drivers just quit on us. On a bus that I was on, this lady, she said she was tired of driving, and she left and we were stuck outside. Me and my kids, we didn`t have anything to eat. We didn`t have anything to drink. We were dirty, frustrated. You know, I was worried about my other son. I mean, it was -- it was a lot, ma`am. I`m just glad I`m past that right now, you know?

GRACE: Ms. Boyd, do you have any idea if your home is still standing?

BOYD: I have no idea what`s going on in my home now. Like I say, when we went inside to grab some things, we grabbed, you know, a few clothes and we grabbed a little food that we had. And the water was, like, above my ankles then, and the water was still rising. So at this point, I don`t know what`s going on there.

At that time, my mom was there, too. She didn`t want to leave, but I had to leave, you know, to save my kids. I had to move for my children. And So I don`t know where my mom is right now. I don`t know if she even got away from there.

GRACE: So right now, you have your 4-year-old right there with you, but you`re still missing a 16-month-old baby boy, Torrie (ph), correct?

BOYD: Yes, ma`am.

GRACE: And your grandmother, Marie Matthews (ph), and your mother, Elizabeth Boyd (ph).

BOYD: Yes, ma`am.

GRACE: And you have no idea if your home is even still there?

BOYD: I have no idea. I just wanted to, you know, be -- actually, ma`am, I`m not really worried about the home, I`m just happy that we`re all alive. I mean, you know, we lost some things, but I`m real grateful right now, you know? So I`m not really worrying about what`s at home. I have my kids. Hopefully, I`ll find my mom, and I`ll be OK.

GRACE: Now, do you know that Torrie -- do you know where Torrie is, the 16-month-old?

BOYD: No, ma`am, I don`t know where he is. But I know he`s in good hands with my grandmother. But I just really want to find her and him because I`m worried about him, and I know she`s worried about us. You know, maybe she`s looking for us.

GRACE: I know she is. I know she is. Ms. Boyd, if any of your relatives are watching tonight, how can they contact you?

BOYD: Well, I`m staying at the Howard Johnson Hotel on South Main, and that`s where we`ll be for two weeks. You know, I have a place to stay, but they`re going to let us stay there for two weeks for free. So hopefully, I will get in touch with one of my family before then because after that, we don`t have anywhere to go, you know, and nobody to turn to.

GRACE: Ms. Boyd, how did you get separated from your 4-year-old?

BOYD: OK. We were walking on the bridge, trying to get away. My brothers, they left to go and get food. And as they left, a man passed, one of our neighbors from upstairs. And he was, like, come on with him. And we were going to go, but I had to wait for my brothers. And I had Cole (ph) with me. I had my 4-year-old with me. I didn`t want to make him stay behind because I had to wait for my brothers. I felt it was safer and I felt it was better for him. And so I just let him go ahead with them.

GRACE: And then what happened?

BOYD: And then we waited for the buses to help us. But he left. They had already left. They went through the bridge. I mean, you know, they went straight out. They had their own car, you know? So I don`t know what happened then, afterwards. I just was worried, you know, about him, that`s all.

GRACE: Standing there also is Lee Reed. He is with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, with their rapid response team. He is trying to put children back with their parents. Lee, welcome. How is it going?

LEE REED, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: It`s going real good. We`ve been very successful the last about three days. We have reunited out of this location 67 families with their children. It`s just a matter of getting information in to the correct databases in the national center in Alexandria, Virginia. It`s doing a tremendous job matching everything up from all the different shelters.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government picking you up, telling you, Come on, let`s go, let`s go, let`s go, let`s go. After that, they drop the ball again. You`re just out there somewhere. You might as well be in space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don`t you turn on the Goddamn pumps in this Goddamn city! Turn the pumps on! That`ll help us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Words cannot describe what I saw. I mean, bodies was trampled on, and bodies was left there. I mean, they was just putting bodies in the back with sheets on them. And it was chaos. I mean, words cannot describe what I saw.


GRACE: Back to Lee Reed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Lee, how did you get Ms. Boyd back with her 4-year- old?

REED: After the national center realized he was in Baton Rouge, and where Ms. Boyd was, we did arrange with Angel Flight to fly the child in to Baton Rouge with a social worker, at which time the child was turned over to her. This was at no cost to anyone. And it is a very, very good thing that Angel Flight does.

GRACE: And Angel Flight is what?

REED: It`s a private organization that assists people in need with medical needs when they need to fly to a different location or have to fly out of a disaster area, such as what happened in New Orleans. And it is a private organization of a multitude of different companies that loan their pilots, as well as loan their jets and different types of planes to do this.

GRACE: I want to go back to Anderson Cooper, standing by in New Orleans. Anderson, how are they dealing with people that are refusing to evacuate?

COOPER: Well, they`re going to have to -- these people are going to have to evacuate. They`re going to have to be made to evacuate. I mean, that`s likely going to happen. I mean, at a certain point, this city has to be drained and it`s got to be cleaned. You know about all the germs here. The people have to leave. There`s no doubt about it.

You know, I was listening to Ms. Boyd`s story, and there are so many stories like it. You know, if she`ll give your producers the address of her house, I can try to take a boat out there tomorrow. You know, I don`t have much time, but I can try to get a boat out, if you can let me know the address, and I can...

GRACE: OK. Hold on.

COOPER: ... just check on it.

GRACE: Hold on. Ann (ph), hold on a second. Elizabeth (ph), get that to Naomi (ph), OK? Would you do that for me? OK, go ahead, Anderson.

COOPER: So yes, no, I`m saying I`ll be happy to just try to check up on the house and talk to any neighbors and just find out their condition because there are still people living in these homes. And some of them have pets they don`t want to leave because they can`t take their pet with them. But no doubt about it, they are going to have to evacuate. It is only a matter of days, I think, before, you know, push comes to shove.

GRACE: Anderson, I was seeing reports today how now fires have started. You`ve got fires. You`ve got the water with E. coli in it. There are dead animals, dead people, human waste floating in the water. It sounds like a sci-fi movie.

COOPER: Yes, it sounds like places I`ve been in Africa after a genocide. I mean, it is -- it`s an extraordinary thing to see. We just -- I just talked to a doctor, and I telling him that yesterday, I went out with a crew. We saw a rescue happen on the ground. We were in a boat. All the water, this toxic water is blowing on me. It was blowing on my crew, on my producer. And you know, they had two face masks on them.

But I said to the doctor, you know, What does this mean? And he said, Well, you know, I hope you`ve had your shots and, you know, I hope you took a good, long shower, which, frankly, it`s hard to get showers here. And so, you know, there`s going to be health problems here for a long time to come, and you know, they are only now starting to get a grip on it.

GRACE: And Anderson, how -- everything`s submerged in water. How are the fires starting?

COOPER: Well, I mean, there`s gas in the water. There`s oil in the water. They`re telling you now not to light a cigarette near this water.


COOPER: I mean, that`s how bad it is, Nancy. We have seen bubbles coming out of homes, and that is gas leaks that is making the water froth up. You can smell the gas when you`re driving around in your boat. So I mean, there`s no telling what`s in this water. It is -- it`s everything you can possibly imagine in one just dirty soup.

GRACE: Anderson, when are you coming home?

COOPER: To be honest, Nancy, I don`t want to come home. I don`t want to leave this city. I don`t want to leave this area. I just -- I can`t believe what is going on here. And I just see no reason to come back. I mean -- yes.

GRACE: We`ll be right back.


JULIE THIBODEAUX, MISSING HER FAMILY MEMBERS: My name is Julie Thibodeaux up in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and we`re missing some family members. If anybody knows the whereabouts of any of these people, please, this is the room number we`re saying in. This is the telephone number. Please call. Let us know that they`re all right.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came out of the top window of my house over there. My home`s under water. My family`s under water. I came here to get them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m looking for Akisha Robertson (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Y`all still all right? About ready to go?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So many people will tell you, We ain`t going anywhere. (INAUDIBLE) Some shoot at you, you know, whatever, call you names. I know I`m dealing with people`s minds that`s not acting right (INAUDIBLE) So I understand that. Mine isn`t, either.


GRACE: Thousands believed dead, up to possibly 10,000, thousands missing and homeless.

Welcome back. I`m Nancy Grace. We are talking about the Southland. I want to go straight out to Juwanda Harris. She is missing her 6-year-old son. Dashawn, missing from New Orleans. Juwanda, are you there?


GRACE: Ma`am, tell me, when did you last see your son?

HARRIS: Saturday.

GRACE: Who was he with?

HARRIS: His daddy. Going to Peachtree (ph).

GRACE: When did you see him? Where?

HARRIS: Eighteen-hundred (ph) Frenchman (ph).

GRACE: Now -- now, tell me, you came out of New Orleans, correct?

HARRIS: Yes, ma`am.

GRACE: What happened?

HARRIS: It was -- everybody got split up all kind of ways when they was getting on the bus, I guess. They took people to different cities and states and stuff. So right now, we don`t even know what city he`s in. But all we know, he is in a shelter somewhere.

GRACE: How do you know that?

HARRIS: I had got in contact with his grandmother, and she said that he was -- the last time she saw him, that he was with his daddy, and she thinks they might be in a shelter in Mississippi, but she`s not sure or not if they made it out of there.

GRACE: What part of the city did you live in?

HARRIS: In New Orleans East.

GRACE: And what happened to your home?

HARRIS: Everything got under water. It flooded. Only thing to see from there is probably the roof.

GRACE: When you finally evacuated, what happened?

HARRIS: When they evacuated, they had a mandatory evacuation for most of the people. But everybody -- we didn`t -- we left for the mandatory evacuation, but I don`t think that he did. I think that he stayed in the (INAUDIBLE) with his dad, and they left afterwards.

GRACE: I want to go back to Lee Reed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Lee, how are you doing -- I mean, how do you get this woman back to her boy? I can`t get Lee. Lee is there in New Orleans. We`re going to go back to him in just one moment.

I believe I still have with me Anderson Cooper, standing by in New Orleans. Anderson, have you talked to these people separated from their children?

COOPER: Yes. I mean, it`s one of those frustrating things. You know, this thing has been disorganized. I mean, that`s not a political statement, that`s just a fact. There`s no doubt about it. And people are put on buses, left hand often doesn`t know what the right hand is doing. And so that`s how these families get separated.

I mean, what you`re hearing is most of these people likely are in shelters, and that is certainly good news. It is not, you know, a child out there in these flood waters, let us hope.

But there still are people living in these flood waters, and when you go by them, when you drive by them in a boat, you know, they say, Please call my mom in Texas, Please call my child in -- you know, in New York and let them know I`m alive.

And it`s -- you know, they`re going to have to evacuate here. I mean, the people who are in their homes in these flood waters are going to have to leave at a certain point. It`s getting -- it is just -- it is a health hazard for them. And that is just gradually becoming clear day after day after day.

GRACE: When we come back, we are headed to Biloxi, Mississippi. Standing by is Ted Rowlands. Please stay with us.



LAURA HILTON, MISSING HER SON: I`m worried about my baby. I want my baby (INAUDIBLE) Y`all don`t know how it feels. You can`t hug your child at night. You can`t look over in the bed and say, Baby, you OK? Or let me (INAUDIBLE) You can`t ask your child, Is this OK, and stuff. I want my baby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your mama and daddy has gone to the convention center, and we don`t know where we`re going from there.


GRACE: Welcome back. The aftermath of Katrina. Very quickly, to Biloxi, Mississippi. Standing by, Ted Rowlands. Ted, what`s the situation there?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nancy, this is definitely a few steps ahead of New Orleans. We`re starting to see gas lines go down a little bit. People are coming back in to Biloxi more and more each day, and we`re seeing signs of progress. But this is a long road ahead here.

The Marines and Navy sailors are here in force, helping out the Coast Guard. And the faith-based organizations and the United Way, they`re serving thousands of meals a day up and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The need is incredible because so many people have lost their homes.

And they expect, actually, it`s going to get worse. As they go into some of these neighborhoods with half-standing homes, they`re going to kick people out of what is left of their homes because they`re going to have to condemn them. They`re just too dangerous. So they expect that the shelters will actually grow in terms of population before they die down.

It`s the first day of school around the country, but here it is just a nightmare, chaos, mess, in terms of dealing with children. And it is a long road -- it`s just a long road to go here.

GRACE: Standing by in Biloxi, CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands. We`ll all be right back.


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

A week after the hurricane, engineers in New Orleans are finally beginning to pump the water out. About 60 percent of the city is still underwater. Residents who refuse to leave face exposure to E. Coli and other dangerous bacteria because of poor sanitation.

And FEMA officials now say the damage to the Louisiana Superdome was so expensive it probably needs to be torn down. The dome has been home to the New Orleans Saints since 1975.

President Bush is pledging a comprehensive investigation into the disaster, as some officials call the response to Katrina a failure at all levels. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the U.S. military can handle hurricane recovery regardless of the war on terror.

In other news, the body of Chief Justice of the U.S. William Rehnquist is lying in repose in the Supreme Court`s great hall. Rehnquist will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery after his funeral tomorrow. The nation`s 16th chief justice died at his home Saturday night after a battle with cancer.

That`s the news for now. I`m Thomas Roberts. We take you back for more of NANCY GRACE.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re missing some family members. If anybody knows the whereabouts of any of these people, please call to let us know that they`re all right.

TONY ORLANDO, SEARCHING FOR MISSING RELATIVES: My name is Tony Orlando. I`m looking for Linda Nock (ph), my sister-in-law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Britney, I love you. Please try to get in touch with me, Britney. I miss you. Just call me. We`re all right. I just want to know where you`re at, baby. I`m looking for my mama, too. I don`t know where my mama is, either.


GRACE: Welcome back. So many separated from the ones they love.

I want to go straight out to Christiane Amanpour, CNN correspondent.

Christiane, it is time now to start locating and trying to identify the dead. How are they going to do it?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you`re exactly right. You know, bodies are still floating in those fetid, fetid waters in New Orleans. But they`re trying to collect as many as possible and bring them now to a morgue that they`ve set up.

FEMA has basically commandeered a huge warehouse in St. Gabriel, which is about 70 miles from New Orleans, closer, in fact, to Baton Rouge, where I am now. The bodies will be brought over there. The refrigerated trucks are bring bodies, and those trucks are being escorted by police cars. FEMA officials tell us that that`s a mark of respect and dignity for the remains of these victims.

They`re going to go to this morgue where medical examiners and all sorts of forensic experts are going to be working, we`re told, 24 hours, basically around-the-clock, and they will provide full x-rays, full-body x- rays. They will do fingerprinting. They will photograph, and they will take DNA samples of the bodies, of the victims.

And then they will hand that information, all that forensic information, over to the state officials, the Louisiana officials, who will then try to match that information with relatives. In other words, relatives will not be coming to this mortuary in order to try to identify their lost victims.

It will be done in a very methodical and very forensic manner. And the relatives will only get the bodies or the remains back for burial somewhere down the line.

We`re told that they can do -- they can process and identify about 150 bodies per day. And the mayor of St. Gabriel told us that it could be thousands of bodies that they expect in this tiny town.

But he said this was the role that this town had been chosen to play. And this was the role they were going to play. And they were doing it willingly. He said that so much pain and suffering, and these victims really need dignity, and the families need some dignity, as well.

GRACE: Christiane, where are they getting the MEs, the medical examiners, to conduct all of these identifications?

AMANPOUR: Well, they have a lot. It`s FEMA who`s in charge of this process. And they have a huge number of people that they can call on.

We`re told there are about 100 who are going to be there, medical examiners, and all sorts of experts that you know from your own legal background, who are required to do these very detailed forensic examinations, particularly upon -- sorry to say -- remains that many of them are partially decomposed, if not very decomposed.

So it`s going to be difficult. But a lot of these are experts that have been used in all sorts of disasters in the United States and, also, some of them have worked after 9/11. And so they have a huge amount of experience.

GRACE: Christiane, do you have any idea what the death toll is?

AMANPOUR: No, to be very frank. The mayor of New Orleans has estimated -- and this is really, in his words, an estimation -- that it could be as high as 10,000. But truly, nobody knows.

We have seen bodies, and our colleagues have seen bodies, ever since this flood started. And the bodies are still in the water, in some instances. It`s only recently that they`ve started to try to collect them, because their primary efforts were on pulling the living out of their stranded locations.

So they`re only recently trying to collect them. And what they`re telling us is that we will only really know once the flood waters are fully subsided. And they expect -- today one official said that, when these waters subside, that perhaps the evidence that these waters will leave and will give up could be another wake-up call again for this country and, you know, bring the nightmare of what`s happened really back into sharp relief again.

GRACE: Christiane, are bodies from other areas coming there for identification?

AMANPOUR: We`re told, no, these are just New Orleans victims. We`re told that this is the one morgue that has been set up just for the victims who`ve perished in New Orleans, in the floodwaters in that city. And FEMA doesn`t know whether more mortuaries will be set up.

This is the first one. And, actually, they also told us that not all the bodies would be coming here, because some of the parishes, some of the counties, their own coroners, if they can, and if they have the wherewithal too do so still, will do their own identifications, and forensic examinations, and perhaps autopsies, as well.

So only those that have nowhere to go and no other way of being processed will come to this central location. But they expect the majority of the bodies to come to this central location.

GRACE: Christiane Amanpour, joining us from Baton Rouge. Thank you, friend.

I`m going to go straight to John McQuaid with the "Times-Picayune."

John, when I hear Christiane describing what they will find -- what they will find -- when the water subsides, the nightmare that is under that water -- you have been predicting this for years. You have called on the government to help you. Explain.

JOHN MCQUAID, "TIMES-PICAYUNE" REPORTER: In 2002, my colleague, Mark Schleifstein and I, worked on a series of stories that looked at the catastrophic risk facing New Orleans. And we talked to a lot of emergency managers and the Red Cross, and they outlined this scenario almost exactly.

And we wrote about it in a series that said, basically, hurricane risks in south Louisiana and New Orleans are worsening. And the government isn`t really doing anything about it.

And we described pretty much the exact scenario, in the story called "The Big One," that has unfolded over the past week. And believe me, it`s not something you want to be right about.

GRACE: John, what efforts? I mean, you`ve written about it, you`ve written about it, you`ve written about it. Why do you believe, John, that no one in Washington would listen?

MCQUAID: Well, I don`t really know. I mean, this type of risk is considered by emergency managers to be relatively remote. I mean, the Corps of Engineers rated these levees at being a one-in-300 chance each year of having this type of catastrophe occur.

And that seems pretty low. But, in retrospect, obviously, with an extreme risk that people knew could happen, then something should have been done about it.

But there were all sorts of other concerns. There was terrorism, of course, a focus on terrorism in the federal government. Even locally, there was a focus on more mundane flood-control issues.

GRACE: Yes, and they had to build that big bridge in Alaska for, what, $200 million. Had to have that.

I want to go to Rick Sanchez very quickly, CNN correspondent standing by in Baton Rouge.

Rick, are you with me?


GRACE: Rick, tell me what you see.

SANCHEZ: Well, we found out today what the plan is for trying to get some of those waters down. You know, you were hearing Christiane Amanpour moments ago describe how they`re going to try and get those bodies with the mortuary teams.

But they can`t do that until they get the water down. So we set out today to talk to some of the people with the Army Corps of Engineers who are in charge of doing just that. And they explained to us that, in the South -- you know, that`s that famous ninth ward and the area around St. Bernard Parish, those areas, they`re actually creating new breaches in the southern levees to let the water drain out of there into the slews, the swamps.

In the north, though, they now have two big pipes and two big pumps that are essentially pushing the water back over the levees into Lake Pontchartrain. And they`re hoping eventually to be able to do that and then get some help from the other pumps that they have had working in the past that are not working right now.

It`s not until they do that -- and I asked them specifically. I say, "Some people are saying 36 days. Can you do it in 36 days?" He wouldn`t give me a figure, but he says he`s optimistic that they might be able to do it even sooner.

Of course, when they`re done with that, then they can go into those homes and, especially, the attics, where a lot of people went, thinking that the waters would never go that high. And ended up, as you well know, Nancy, getting trapped in their own homes instead.

How many bodies are in attics? How many bodies in their homes? At this point, nobody knows. It`s really a guessing game, but there are many.

GRACE: Rick Sanchez joining us from Baton Rouge.

Stay with us.


GRACE: Death toll up to 10,000 people predicted after Katrina. Tonight, thousands looking for the ones they love.

I want to go straight out to Jean Lamontagne, looking for her two sons.

Jean, are you with me?


GRACE: What happened?

LAMONTAGNE: My sons were -- I`m from Bermuda. And my sons were living in New Orleans with their father going to school. And their mother called me the night that they were evacuating, their grandmother, said that her and her husband was getting out of New Orleans, but the two boys and their father was going to ride it out.

And I tried to call her back that night. I thought about it. I said, "Wait a minute. She`s going to leave my kids there in New Orleans?" So I tried to call her back and ask her to take the boys with her. But she had already left. So I haven`t heard anything since.

GRACE: These are pictures. There is Jamel Pierre Thomas (ph).


GRACE: And is it Jayjean (ph)?

LAMONTAGNE: Jayjean (ph).

GRACE: Peron Thomas (ph).


GRACE: How old are they? They`re precious.

LAMONTAGNE: Jamel is 19. And Jayjean (ph), he`s 17.

GRACE: Where were they in school?

LAMONTAGNE: Somewhere in New Orleans. I`m not sure what school he was putting them into, because they were starting the college age, and they were looking into different colleges and stuff like that to go into.

GRACE: How can you be reached?

LAMONTAGNE: I have my cousin in Pottstown, in Philadelphia. Her number is 484-524-8651. That`s 484-524-8651. Or my sister Carol in Bermuda, 441-234-0152. That`s 441-234-0152.

GRACE: Thank you, Ms. Lamontagne.

I want to go quickly to another victim, Leslie Ann Key. She is looking for her cousin, her stepsister, and her aunt.

Leslie, are you with me?


GRACE: Hi, dear. Tell me what happened.

KEY: A nightmare has happened in New Orleans. We`ve been missing a lot of family. We have found a lot of family, thank God. We are still missing my cousin, Michael Morrell (ph). We`re missing his girlfriend, Ann Spicer (ph). We`re missing my stepsister, Karen Cansick (ph) and my aunt, Ruth Ann Grousch Retolo (ph).

GRACE: Now, you`ve found your parents, correct?

KEY: Yes, we have, thank God.

GRACE: Tell me what happened.

KEY: My parents rode out the storm in Lacombe, Louisiana, which is right next door to Slidell. And I have seen the CNN coverage on the Slidell area. They`re right next door.

They didn`t have water in their home, but they had a lot of tree damage. And I was not able to have any contact with them until Saturday afternoon, this past Saturday, that they were safe, they were able to get out, and they were on their way to Georgia.

GRACE: Now, what number can we reach you if your loved ones are found? And we`re talking about cousin Michael Morrell (ph), girlfriend Ann Spicer (ph), stepsister Karen Cansick (ph).

Where do we reach you? Last seen in Metairie.

KEY: Last seen in Metairie. Those three were last seen in Metairie. They may reach me, Nancy, at 407-332-3808. And my aunt, Ruth Ann Grouch Retolo (ph), was last seen in Diamond Head, Mississippi. And anyone can call. I`ve set up a message line for my family and friends.

GRACE: Everyone, you see the number on the screen. Leslie Ann, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, as well as Ms. Lamontagne.

To Dr. James Halpern. He`s the director of disaster of Mental Health Institute.

Very quickly, sir, who are the most vulnerable after a disaster like Katrina?

JAMES HALPERN, DIR. OF DISASTER MENTAL HEALTH AT SUNY, NEW PALTZ: The children, the mothers of young children, people who are injured, people who have lost loved ones, certainly the poor and people with few resources.

And I think what we`re seeing is that almost all of the variables that predict a difficult recovery exist in this disaster.

GRACE: And Dr. Halpern, how do children react to seeing this type of destruction, being separated from their parents?

HALPERN: Listen, children do not react well. They are the most vulnerable population. They need the most reassurance and care. And, certainly, parents need to be monitoring what their kids are watching at home. That needs to be looked at.

GRACE: Right.

To Bishop T.D. Jakes, he is the pastor of the Potter`s House. He met with President Bush.

Bishop, thank you for being with us. You have visited the area hit by Katrina. What did you see, sir?

BISHOP T.D. JAKES, PASTOR, POTTER`S HOUSE: You know, it was amazing, really. There`s so much devastation and so many people that are broken.

I was in Baton Rouge with the president and then went on to the facilities, the Astrodome there in Houston with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Almost on every turn, as well as in Dallas where I live, there are people who have escaped and they`re physically out, but mentally and emotionally they are just as much in the water as some of those bodies that we`re pulling out now.

GRACE: Bishop, what words of encouragement are you giving these people?

JAKES: You know, it`s a very difficult thing, because there`s a great deal of hope and enthusiasm. But as every day passes, that hope begins to wane. While I was there in the Astrodome, many families found each other and reconciled, and they had happy moments.

But I could see tears in the eyes of others, and children, in particular, who wished that they were experiencing that joy of reconciliation.

GRACE: I want to go to Dr. N.G. Berrill, a forensic psychologist.

Dr. Berrill, welcome. Is it true that domestic violence increases when there is a natural disaster? That`s a new concern.

N.G. BERRILL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, it is to some degree. It makes sense that, with the added stress and pressure, dislocation, people are going to be in conflict. And that`s going to be a secondary or tertiary concern here.

GRACE: To Lieutenant Colonel Robert Horton, public affairs officer with the Alabama National Guard, Colonel, where are the Alabama Guard troops now?

LT. COL. ROBERT HORTON, ALABAMA NATIONAL GUARD: We`re continuing to support operations here in southwest Alabama. We currently have over 2,200 Alabama Guardsmen, Army and air, supporting operations in Mississippi.

We also have approximately 600 Alabama Guardsmen supporting search- and-rescue operations in Louisiana. Our 20th Special Forces, as of this morning, had rescued over 3,200 victims in New Orleans.

GRACE: Lieutenant Colonel Horton, how long do you expect the troops to be deployed working on the cleanup?

NORTON: Well, the National Guard is prepared to support the relief efforts as long as we`re needed. What we`re seeing is a joint operation with National Guard, reservists, and active military servicemembers working side-by-side with one common goal, and that is to provide relief, comfort, and hope to the people of Mississippi and Louisiana.

GRACE: Sir, are you getting what you need at this point?

NORTON: Well, one thing we want the public to know is that the National Guard is there to provide support. And I want the families of the Guardmembers to know that we`re going to take care of their Guardsmen. And we`re also going to take care...


GRACE: Colonel, I`ve got to go to break. When we come back, Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky. Stay with us.


GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want very much to reunite families torn apart by Katrina. Take a look at 87-year-old Nettie Lee, airlifted from New Orleans Broad Street Overpass. She has diabetes and Alzheimer`s. Probably doesn`t even know the phone numbers where she can reach her family. If you have seen this woman, Nettie Lee, call her grandson, Brian Lee, 630-862-8113. Please help them.

Welcome back. Now, the task of finding and identifying the dead.

To Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, forensic scientist. Dr. Kobilinsky, how much hope do you hold out that these people can be identified?

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Not everybody will be identified. Those people that are in advanced decomposition may never be identified.

What needs to be done is they need to be put into refrigerated trucks so that the decomposition can be retarded, and then that way they can start to do their identifications, first through very simple methods, photography. They will examine whether there are tattoos or scars, by clothing, by jewelry, and, ultimately, if that doesn`t work, then dental records, x-rays, and, finally, DNA.

GRACE: You know, Doctor, so many of the evacuees, some call them refugees, have not received any food yet. How long can a person live this way?

KOBILINSKY: Well, the issue is really water. Most people will die between eight and 10 days without water. Some may live a few days longer. But food, I guess, people can survive about three weeks.

GRACE: You know, Colonel Horton, when you sent your men and women off, did you ever think that they would be recovering the dead out of their own attics?

HORTON: Well, this is the largest and most comprehensive National Guard response to a disaster in the history of the National Guard. It`s going to be difficult for our troops. We do have chaplains on the ground to take care of their emotional and spiritual needs.

GRACE: Thank you to all of my guests. But my biggest thank you is to you for being with us tonight.

Coming up, headlines from all around the world, Larry on CNN. I`m Nancy Grace signing off for tonight. Hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Our prayers with the southland. Good night.