Thursday, August 26, 2010

AC360: In Katrina's Wake

Anderson Cooper opened tonight's AC360 Special Report, In Katrina's Wake: Building Up America, by saying "Good evening from New Orleans. Five years since Katrina. We're coming to you tonight from Musician's Village a new complex built here in the upper ninth ward to honor local musicians and others by giving them a place to live, being built by volunteers with Habitat for Humanity some of whom are here tonight, along with AmeriCorps workers and others. There are 82 homes and duplexes built here and 90 more homes under construction in the neighborhood. One of the many signs of re-building and re-birth in this city."

KEEPING THEM HONEST & 'BROWNIE' ON KATRINA MISTAKES: Anderson Cooper's background on past failures and interview with former FEMA Director Michael Brown


TWO TRAILERS, TWO FAMILIES, FIVE YEARS AFTER KATRINA: Report by Soledad O'Brien & follow up discussion with Anderson and Soledad



FIVE YEARS AFTER KATRINA, THE HEALING CONTINUES: Anderson Cooper's with Douglas Brinkley and LT. Gen. Russel Honore


NOLA SCHOOLS, A SUCCESS STORY: Anderson Cooper's interview with kids from Thurgood Marshall-UNO Early College High School & follow up discussion with Andre Perry, CEO, Capital One-UNO Charter Network


MUSICIAN'S VILLAGE, HARRY CONNICK, JR., ELLIS MARSALIS HELPING NOLA: Anderson Cooper's interview with Harry Connick,Jr. & Ellis Marsalis


See you tomorrow night, live from NOLA.


Photos "tweeted" from last night.

Katrina: A look back. (I swear I did not know that AC360 was going to add the Dr. Henderson segment when I added this!~Wonz.)

One of the people Anderson interviewed in the days following Hurricane Katrina was Dr. Greg Henderson. From Anderson's book, Dispatches From The Edge - A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival: "Dr. Henderson is a pathologist. He was in New Orleans for a conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel when the storm struck. Rather than flee the city, he decided to stay and see if he could help. He approached several New Orleans police officers who told him there was no clinic for first-responders, so he decided to set on up in the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street."

I couldn't find video of the interview - but I did find the following in CNN Reports Katrina State of Emergency.* Please click on the image to enlarge.

* CNN Reports Katrina State of Emergency is available for purchase on

Set your DVRs -- Anderson will fill in at the co-host desk on Live with Regis & Kelly on Friday, September 10th. Scheduled Guests are Kate Gosselin & Dara Torres.

From the August 18th episode of The Daily Show ~ enjoy!

photograph by H. Darr Beiser

The cover story for Sunday's USA Weekend is the 5 year anniversay of Katrina. Anderson Cooper contributed the following article:

Katrina 5 Years Later

My father once said to me, “New Orleans is a city of memory.” He was born on a farm in Mississippi, but his mother had moved the family to New Orleans looking for work during World War II. He loved New Orleans and brought me back several times.
As a child, I didn't understand what he meant. Now, after having made dozens of trips here in the five years since Hurricane Katrina struck, I think his words provide an important clue to the way people here respond to disasters and recover from them.
My father graduated from Francis T. Nicholls High School on St. Claude Avenue. It's now called Frederick A. Douglass Senior High, but the old name is still etched in stone over the school entrance. Nicholls was a former Confederate soldier who became governor of Louisiana in the late 1800s.
In any other city, the name would have been chiseled off the building, an ugly reminder of the city's segregationist past. But New Orleans does not rewrite history. Even that which is painful is not erased. A new name, a new layer is simply added onto the old. Walking the streets, looking at buildings, it's like reading the rings on a tree.
Much of the country may have moved on, but the people here have not forgotten what this place has been through — the lives lost, the families who have not returned. The city is still scarred, still battered, but it's back, on its feet, alive and moving forward.

The spirit of New Orleans

The Spotted Cat is jumping. The small music club on Frenchmen Street reopened last year, and the New Orleans Cotton Mouth Kings, tonight's band, are seated in the front window, singing, sweating and playing their hearts out. A handful of young couples swing dance, while dozens of others stand nearby, talking, drinking and tapping their feet.
All along Frenchmen Street, locals, eager to avoid tourist-clogged Bourbon Street, stroll from bar to bar, band to band. It is a quintessentially New Orleans scene: sultry, slightly seedy, but authentic and pulsing with life. Five years after Katrina, and facing yet another disaster, the beat may have changed in New Orleans, but the music goes on.

Resilience. Restoration. Renewal

Despite new hardships created by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Katrina's fifth anniversary should be a celebration of how far New Orleans has come. Tourism has finally been bouncing back. More restaurants are open in the Crescent City than before Katrina, and conventions have rediscovered New Orleans as an economical destination.
The city is smaller by about 100,000 residents than it was in 2005, but thanks to $30 billion in federal reconstruction aid, unemployment is low compared with the rest of the recession-hit country. Many city-owned properties are still flood-damaged and vacant, but construction is booming. Hundreds of miles of levees and floodwalls that make up the flood protection system around New Orleans have been rebuilt or repaired.
The public school system also has been undergoing a transformation. More than half the city's public school students are now enrolled in charter schools. Test scores are rising. And this year, the long-losing Saints won the Super Bowl, allowing many here to believe the good times were rolling once again.
Some neighborhoods have bounced back better than others, of course. The Lower Ninth Ward, which was devastated when the levees broke, has seen very little new construction. Brad Pitt has built a number of new “green” houses here, but they are the exception, and on many blocks in the Lower Ninth, the only new thing you'll find is waist-high weeds.
Crime is still a major problem. The per-capita murder rate is 10 times the national average, and the health care system is inadequate. There is a new mayor in town, however, who was elected with widespread support.

Coping, hoping again

While the region continues to recover from Katrina, it now faces the cleanup from the oil spill. More than four months after the well exploded, the full economic and environmental effect of the disaster is still unknown. “When the hurricane hit, it did its damage,” says jazz legend Terence Blanchard, “but this oil disaster is an ongoing tragedy.”
Mitch Jurisich would like his son to follow in his footsteps. A third-generation oyster farmer, he goes out every day to check on the 14,000 acres of oyster beds that he and his brother lease. He is worried that several generations of oysters may have been killed off.
“You're sad, you're angry, you're frustrated,” he says, examining oysters for any sign of oil. Like many in Louisiana, Jurisich has no doubt he will survive one way or another, but he wants his culture, the way of life passed down to him by his father, and his father's father, to survive as well.
“Katrina changed our way of life, ” he says. “We adapt. But we take a great sense of pride out here in our heritage. It cannot be replaced.”

City of Memory

More than 1,800 people died during Hurricane Katrina, and 11 men perished when the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up. New Orleans does not forget, and neither should we.
We all must continue to bear witness to what happens here. We must visit New Orleans, walk the streets, hear the music. This still-great city has much to teach us about survival, resilience and moving forward while still remembering the past.

AC360 Transcript

AC360 Podcast

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things Anderson and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.


judy said...

Tonite was 100% better than last nite because 360 was PREPARED. It showed work and there were no throw aways to fill air time.
I especially liked AC's Michael Brown interview. AC was very objective. HOWEVER, CNN was NOT. The man came on the show, and was sincere in his efforts to answer AC's questions on the mistakes that were made. There was no need to run the banner underneath referring to him as "Brownie ON Katrina mistakes." We all know that W. made a fool out of him. He wasn't the fool. W. was the fool and once again CNN is treating its viewers as though we are idiots who have no capability or memory.
I'm not defending Michael Brown but if you want the opposition to come on your show, be kind enough to show some respect CNN! Im also certain that others were asked and said NO. This comment is directed at CNN MANAGEMENT.
Also liked Soledad's report on the toxic FEMA trailers. I don't know why that couple opened the windows for FEMA to pass the test. Are people really that naive?
Liked the music and the variety and wish ALL 360's were like this one. Hoping tomorrow's wouldn't be a repeat.
Thanks Wonz for the Jon Stewart/Gomer Pyle clip. Saw it originally.
@Tedi B. Yes. It is true. Sometimes 360 DOES "suck." YOUR words not mine.

aries moon said...

A much better program than Wednesday--they must've had more time to put together a variety of reports and topics and it helped that the sole focus was on Katrina/NOLA without the intrusion of unrelated reports. I really liked the interview Anderson did with the charter school students--they were good kids and he seemed to enjoy talking to them. Glad to have seen an update on Dr. Henderson. "Brownie" is incapable of redemption, imo. Soledad's FEMA trailer piece was sad--it was terrible to see that couple trapped in that toxic home with no way out.

I watched Rachel Maddow's coverage of NOLA as well and between her and AC, you can get a really good overview of how the city is doing in the aftermath of Katrina. I'm looking forward to Friday's show--I thought I heard AC say he'd be live in NOLA. Thanks for the extras and the R&K heads-up.

Tedi B said...

The show had a lot of great content about Nola tonight. I enjoyed the school segement and, of course, the Edge from U2. My favorite band and my favorite member on my favorite reporters show :)Anyway, it was nice that they completely focused on Nola.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post :)

Anonymous said...

@Tedi B. Wow, I come here and express my opinion of AC360 without criticizing other posters, but you feel the need to criticize my opinion? Thanks for making newcomers feel welcome. I don't watch Fox or MSNBC, but thanks for the invite.

The show was a complete turnaround from last night. I thought it was the best 360 in months. It had a focus and stuck to it, with a variety of stories and updates. I like how AC stressed that they don't want to just show the rosey side of things now, but the reality as well. This is the AC360 I enjoy watching.

On_Love_Street_With_Jim_Morrison said...

360 was so much better last nite. It was actually about NOLA! Michale Brown still doesn't seem to bright.

The FEMA trailer story was sad. FEMA ought to be in some sort of trouble for selling that toxic trailer to those people. And telling them to air it out so it would get better scores was beyond ridiculous.

I really enjoyed Anderson's interview with Harry Connick Jr. Its great that Harry Connick Jr has done so much for NOLA.

All in all 360 was pretty good last nite and its about time they devoted a whole show to NOLA.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for the posts. Loved the video with Jon Stewart.

I thought last nights show was great. I hope that Anderson is just as great tonight.


Anonymous said...


Nebraska Fan said...

Thanks for the clip from USA Weekend. One of the things I really admire about Anderson is his writing ability. His words always move me.

Anonymous said...

Have to say I agree with Tedi rfom yesterday. These special shows take some preparation which was clearly being done while AC was in New Orleans coving the oil spill. Yet everyday, he was called a slacker.

I think AC is pulled in a ton of directions right now and it is likely wearing him down. He doesn't cancel vacation for Pakistan, so he's a jerk who doesn't care. But when he DOES cancel vacations, he's a jerk who isn't letting other people at CNN get their big shot to guest anchor. He can't win.

I hope CNN gets some focus so they can start putting together quality shows like last night every day - and not just for AC360, but ALL their programming.

Tedi B said...

I wasn't directing my opinion at one person.

I guess I just don't understand why people keep watching it if they don't like it so much. There are a lot of other things to watch. I don't watch 360 if it's something I'm not interested in.No show is fabulous all the time. What a good show to one person is can be a horrible show to another.

There is just so much negativity in the world and I enjoy escaping that by watching AC in his different projects or by coming to the blog. It's just hard to have fun with it anymore. But, hey that's souly my opinion and if everyone else has a different one, that's okay. Complaining is fun to some and that's okay too, I guess. Keep on keeping on then, if you want, because freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. :)

Anonymous said...

If you think you're so great at picking up the faults of not only 360, but CNN as well, why don't you become an employee there and report back to us on how hard it is to work there?

@Tedi B
I agree with everything you said. It's nice to see some constructive comments without resorting to whining.

Anonymous said...

@5:31PM CNN is widely critized and if you read more you'd know this and if you want to criticize others be brazen enough to NOT hide behind Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

According to TVN, 360's numbers were poor, with a 448 in totals. Numbers were down across the board.
It is August and a lot of people take the last two weeks off. However, many viewers are really tired of seeing reports from NOLA.
If there is anything both "old and stale," it is NOLA. We all felt sorry then and we felt sorry about the Gulf region, but enough is enough. JMO
@11:58AM: "I think AC is pulled in a lot of different directions right now."
Speculation, speculation, speculation.

Anonymous said...

I'm from New Orleans and I wish that the media would show the recovery of the average New Orleans citizen and not just focus on the poor.