Sunday, August 29, 2010

Anderson Cooper - A Katrina Retrospective, Part 2

Anderson Cooper circa 2005 to 2009 -- A Katrina Retrospective -- Part 2

We left off last week with Anderson signing off from Waveland, MS. It was time to head back to NYC and the CNN studio. I managed to find a few extra "goodies" from that first month in the Gulf Coast, so we will start tonight with more from that time, before moving forward.

Anderson wrote a blog post on getting from Meridian to Gulfport, MS. (Please remember to click on images to enlarge.)

From CNN Reports - Katrina State of Emergency.

Anderson Cooper appeared on HBO's Bill Maher program from Biloxi, MS to discuss the failures on the ground.

Once Anderson made his way into New Orleans he interviewed Dr. Jeffrey Wise, a psychiatrist at Tulane University ~

and, also, Hugh Kaufman of the EPA ~

Anderson expressed what the first responders were experiencing ~

And filed this Reporter's Notebook on what he was experiencing ~

(Above five images from CNN Presents - Katrina State of Emergency*)

Anderson was interviewed by Charlie Rose on September 12, 2005 from New Orleans, LA ~

And summed up his reflections on his time in NOLA with this Reporter's Notebook ~

From CNN Presents - Katrina State of Emergency

During one of his several trips back to NOLA that first year Anderson filed this report on NOLA musicians ~

First Year Anniversary

Anderson opened his broadcast on August 29, 2006 saying, "Thanks for joining us for this special hour of 360. You know, one year ago tonight we were just beginning to grasp the disaster unfolding here in New Orleans. Water was pouring into the city fast, turning houses into death traps. Eventually 80 percent of the city would be flooded. It would get worse, of course, much worse before it was over. As the days ticked by and the death toll rose, it became horribly clear that human error had made the worst natural disaster in the U.S. history even deadlier. It turned it into a catastrophe."

Yesterday's post contained Anderson's Reporter's Notebook from the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In case you missed it ~

He closed that show saying, "A year ago we met a woman named Miss Connie. She was blind, living alone. She refused to leave the city if her dog, Abu, couldn't come with her. We've been down here dozens of times since the storm and we've always tried to find Miss Connie. We never could. And frankly, we feared the worst for her. That was Abu right there. Tonight, just minutes ago, we heard that Miss Connie is doing fine. She's living in London, Kentucky. And believe it or not, but her dog, Abu, is with her now, after all this time. That is some good news to end with tonight from New Orleans. It's been an honor and a privilege to report this story over the past year. And we will continue to report this story over the course of this next year. We will never forget."
Sometime during the next year Anderson did a follow-up interview with Herbert Gettridge - someone we met in the first days after the storm ~

Second Year Anniversary

Anderson opened the August 29, 2007 edition of AC360 with, "Good evening.
We don't care much for anniversaries on this program, solemn remembrances of stories long since past. But, tonight, we come to you from New Orleans to report on a story which is still very much unfolding. Two years ago tonight, these streets were filling with water. Levees poorly built over decade on shifting sands failed. And, two years ago tonight, what was a natural disaster became very quickly a manmade one. Now, two years later, the recovery of this city, this region, is under way. And it, too, is manmade. Two years ago tonight, governments failed. The people here have not. New Orleans is rising again."

And closed the program saying, "We've met a lot of people ... over the past two years. It remains the one great privilege of the work here. Their patience and warmth with an outsider is welcome. Even more so, their willingness to share anything even when they're got next to nothing to give. I say seemingly because in the past two years I've learned there's so much more to the people in New Orleans and the gulf and what you can see in an hour of television or a week or a month. And as much as I'm grateful for their time and their stories, I'll always consider that realization their true gift to me. That said, some quick thoughts on two years. I mentioned earlier that I'm not really big on anniversaries, especially ones recognized by television. They always seem artificial to me. Maybe I'm just cynical about TV. But whenever I hear a newscast making a big deal about the anniversary of an event, I always assume it must be a slow news cycle. ... So why then on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina are we here in the Gulf Coast? I guess it's because today more people around the country may be willing to take a few moments to remember what happened and what continues to happen here in New Orleans and Mississippi. ... I'm proud that CNN has remained committed to telling this story. A lot of other news organizations seem to have moved on. Katrina fatigue, that's what some people call it. As anyone in New Orleans or the Mississippi Gulf Coast will tell you, the only people who have a right to Katrina fatigue are the people still waiting for their insurance company to reimburse them or those waiting for the long-promised Road to Home money, or those still trying to find help rebuilding their homes or their businesses. I know today a lot of reporters will descend on New Orleans, many for the first time since the last anniversary. I'm glad they're here. The city, this region needs all the coverage it can get. But let's not forget that tomorrow the cameras will leave. The television anchors will fly home, myself included, but the people and their problems will remain. It's not enough to only think of them on this yearly anniversary. What they're going through is happening every day, every week, month after month. Let's keep that in mind. Let's keep them in mind, not just today but every day until their lives, their homes are restored. ... We look forward to that day when all of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast is rebuilt and renewed. We promise, as we did two years ago, to continue to cover their struggle. Not just on this day but in the difficult days and weeks and months ahead."

We couldn't find any video from the second anniversary program, but we did find an AC 360 'Keeping Them Honest' report on why two years after the storm bodies still still lying in "bureaucratic limbo" from around that time.~

Third Year Anniversary
Anderson opened the August 29th, 2008 edition of AC360 saying, "We are live in New Orleans tonight. We're at the new pumping station where the 17th Street Canal meets Lake Pontchartrain. Now, the Army Corps of Engineers built it to prevent what happened three years ago today, when lake water surged back into the canal system, flooding the city after Hurricane Katrina. People here took note of Katrina's anniversary today, but, for the most part, they are busy getting ready for Hurricane Gustav, with very real doubts about how prepared their city will be, including whether or not these floodgates will actually work." And closed the program with a Reporter's Notebook ~

Fourth Year Anniversary

Anderson opened the August 27th, 2009 edition of AC 360 with, "And good evening from New Orleans. " And further into the program, "Four years ago tonight, the country -- well, four years ago on Saturday night, as this week is the four-year anniversary, the country watched this city as a massive hurricane zeroed in on the Gulf Coast. And this Saturday marks the anniversary of Katrina's landfall. Now, we all know what happened next. We all know how a force of nature collided with human error, with government indifference, and a catastrophe was caused. Well, today, New Orleans continues on its road to recovery. The city is back. The city is alive. The numbers are encouraging. The city has recovered 77 percent of its pre-storm population. For jobs and occupied homes, it's 70 percent. Challenges, of course, however, remain, like public school enrollment. It's about half of what it was before Katrina. Crime, low-income housing. But there are hope, and there is progress. There are hard- working people who every day are making progress and a big difference. People like those here at Musicians' Village, Habitat for Humanity, AmeriCorps. Seventy-two, as I said, new homes and counting in this one neighborhood. The homes here for musicians who need affordable housing, started -- the idea was started by Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis. They're behind the project. ... A lot has changed in New Orleans in the four years since Hurricane Katrina hit. No doubt about that. Much of it is for the better. More than $20 billion has been invested in the infrastructure, community facilities, housing like this Musicians' Village. And as we mentioned earlier, the population is back to nearly 80 percent of pre-storm levels. Some people are returning, and others are moving here for the first time, like the ultimate Washington insider, James Carville, a Louisiana native, who along with his wife, Mary Matalin, moved outside the beltway, back here to New Orleans. James gave us an up-close tour of his hometown today."~

And Anderson ended the program with, "For tonight's "Shot," the sounds of New Orleans. This is Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs. Jazz, blues. No matter the form, the music will always be heard and played here. It's part of the city. So what better way to celebrate the continued rebirth of New Orleans than with a song from local musicians? Listen."

I hope you've enjoyed this look back on Anderson's reporting on Hurricane Katrina. Today, Sunday, August 29th, marks the Fifth Anniversary. Anderson payed tribute on Thursday night's AC360. If you missed that program, here's a link to the post. ~ Wonz.


Anderson's Foreward from Kathleen Koch's book Rising From Katrina - How My Mississippi Home Lost It All and Found What Mattered
(used with permission of John F. Blair, Publisher )

Anderson's interview with Spike Lee on the 5 year anniversary of Katrina from

And Anderson's segments from Spike Lee's HBO Documentary If The Good Lord Is Willing & Da Creek Don't Rise. ~ (I added a little to the video to help give context to Anderson's remarks.)

Blogger's Note: Both Kathleen Koch's book Rising From Katrina - How My Mississippi Home Lost It All and Found What Mattered and CNN Reports Katrina State of Emergency are available for purchase through

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


On_Love_Street_With_Jim_Morrison said...

Anderson's blog posts from Katrina were really good. I like when he blogs and give an insgiht into what's gonig on. Wish he would blog more.

I liked his forward in Kathleen Koch's book. I thiought it was a touching one.

judy said...

Bill Maher's interview with Anderson sent him right to the top as the go to journalist. It would be nice if AC appeared on Bill's show again, which is beginning sometime in late September.
This retropsective must have taken you all a very long time to put together. Congratulations ATA on your hard work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post :) Hmmm Dont think I can go through them all today. Will find some time tomorrow. Guess they are all great. Good very-early morning!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Re Spike Lee's HBO Documentary If The Good Lord Is Willing & Da Creek Don't Rise: Where to find the whole documentary, pls? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting Anderson's Katrina reporting. I did not remember most of what happened during that time due to my dads pasing. I do remember crying just about every time I saw the news.


Anonymous said...

to echo Judy's sentiment: Congratulations ATA Team on your hard work in putting together the Katrina retrospective. You women are remarkable. ftm

aries moon said...

Really great post, thanks for your efforts in bringing us this excellent look back at Katrina. Good job ATA team. :)

Anonymous said...

According to TVN, even though AC was live from NOLA, his ratings were very poor in totals with a 383
Taking Fridays off didn't help him either. Viewers expect him not to be there, and expect reruns, so this possibly could have hurt him.
Viewership was down across the board, but people ARE tired of triubtes to NOLA.
Surprisingly, or maybe not so, Sudden Fury, which AC narrated did better than his actual appearance.
Perhaps this is a sign that people like to "listen" to him if he's telling a story about REAL people.
The focus is not on him, it is on the content and that is what CNN often lacks.

Wonz said...

@Chi2:13am -Spike Lee's documentary "The Good Lord Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise" premiered on HBO last week. Sometimes, HBO makes some of their programs available for sale after a certain time. I would suggest you visit the HBO Website or Amazon, but it will probably not be available right away, if at all.

AC Fan in CA/IL said...

AMAZING POST ATA! That clip of Anderson on Bill Maher was when I discovered who he was. I had a friend down in Katrina (who is safe and sound) so I was watching the news very closely.


The ATA Team said...

@ everyone, we wanted to agree with all of you about the wonderful retrospective posts and give full credit to Wonz. The team can't begin to imagine how much time it took her to research and compose her posts the last two Sunday nights. Thank you Wonz, you are a treasure.

Lauren--NY said...

Thank you, thank you ATA team and especially Wonz. What a tremendous compilation and so educational if someone who doesn't know as much about Katrina should happen to stumble upon it. This will do a world of good. Thank you, ladies.