Gone but Not Forgotten: Lower 9th Ward

This project hones in on utilizing themes, artifacts and research to build an evocative narrative around the rebuilding of the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.

The 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is this month. There’s a been a ton of coverage–remembering what happened, and stories about the rebuilding. But the Lower Ninth, is a special case, because this is the part of the city that was not supposed to come back. You remember this, right after the storm? City officials said, “Forget it. Don’t let anybody back there…”

I began by listening to the podcast created by This American Life, titled “Lower 9 + 10”. There are six parts to the story in total. Each act represents a stop on the bus tour that goes around the ward, allowing people today to see the remnants of the Lower 9th Ward. Residents feel odd about the fact that this bus tour exists. In the podcast, one resident describes it as feeling like they are zoo animals to be stared at. It’s another opportunity for outsiders to come and point fingers. They can sympathize but they cannot really begin to understand what it must feel like to return to the area after the disaster only to see that where your best friend’s home used to be, is now an empty grass lot.

“Residents of the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans felt so strongly against hurricane tours after the storm, that legislation made the bus tours illegal there. Ira Glass talks to residents about the problem with bus tours, and takes us on a walking tour of the area, to meet people who are there now, 10 years after the storm.” — This American Life

Before even beginning to think about who the characters will be in my visual story, I’m already presented with a handful. The interviewers talk to a range of people from those who lived through the storm to those who just moved to Lower 9 and bought up a cheap house in the neighborhood. These individuals are already setting the stage for the narrative. They share personal stories that become reoccurring themes.

Gentrification is a problem there. Racial tensions have only gotten worse since Hurricane Katrina. People have been suffering from identity crisis. They came back to see that their homes were destroyed…that their next door neighbor drowned in the house that now has the letters “DOA” painted over it, signaling “Dead Upon Arrival”. They have been trying to rebuild their neighborhood. But it seems like there isn’t much support and understanding from the “outsiders”.

People don’t realize how badly their relationships have been affected. Best friends have been separated. Children have been lost. Husbands and wives have passed away. Families got scattered across the nation. Many of them were known to move from one state to the other, making it hard for others to keep track of how they were doing or if they were still even alive.

Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Katrina

Katrina was the costliest natural disaster that had ever happened to the States. Over 1,200 people died in the hurricane and floods. The estimated cost of property damage came out to be around $108 billion dollars. Katrina hit several different areas, spanning from Florida to Texas. Water went past the beach by 6–12 miles. Much of the damage was a result of over fifty breaches that the New Orleans hurricane surge protection system had during the event. The majority of deaths caused by Katrina were due to failure from levee and floodwall protection. Many point fingers at those who constructed and designed the levee system. They had wanted to save money so they used shorter steel sheet pilings.

Preparation

President of the United States George W. Bush declared a state of emergency in selected regions of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi on August 27.[15] “On Sunday, August 28, President Bush spoke with Governor Blanco to encourage her to order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans.”[16]
However, during the testimony by former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Michael Brown before a U.S. House subcommittee on September 26, Representative Stephen Buyer (R-IN) inquired as to why President Bush’s declaration of state of emergency of August 27 had not included the coastal parishes of Orleans, Jefferson, and Plaquemines.[17]
The declaration actually did not include any of Louisiana’s coastal parishes, whereas the coastal counties were included in the declarations for Mississippiand Alabama.[18][19] Brown testified that this was because LouisianaGovernor Blanco had not included those parishes in her initial request for aid, a decision that he found “shocking.”
After the hearing, Blanco released a copy of her letter, which showed she had requested assistance for “all the southeastern parishes including the City of New Orleans” as well specifically naming 14 parishes, including Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines.[20]

Damage

The breaches in the flood protection structures caused New Orleans to become almost completely submerged. Mississippi and Alabama were both affected by the hurricane.

Over 100 people are still categorized as missing. We will never be able to know just how many people died from this disaster. Many people died from the direct impact of the hurricane but many also passed away from other causes related to firearm deaths and gas poisoning. Three million people had no electricity after the hurricane.

On September 3, 2005, Homeland SecuritySecretary Michael Chertoff described the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as “probably the worst catastrophe, or set of catastrophes,” in the country’s history, referring to the hurricane itself plus the flooding of New Orleans.[48]
Venice, Louisiana (Wikipedia)

Life After Katrina — Myths and Media

There was an effort to re-establish governance in New Orleans. People began looting stores for resources. There was not enough food and water. The amount of crimes shot up in the aftermath. Supposedly there were many more thefts and murders but reports also showed that this wasn’t necessarily true. Armed forces were sent to New Orleans to help the situation. The National Guard and federal troops arrived at the end of August. At one point in September, there were close to 50,000 of these individuals based in New Orleans. The guards came to re-establish order in the area however it was not an easy task. There were several shootings that were a result of this period of unrest.

In West Virginia where roughly 350 refugees were located, local officials took fingerprints to run criminal background checks on the refugees. The background checks found that 45% of the refugees had a criminal record of some nature, and that 22% had a violent criminal record.[111] Media speculation fueled a popular perception that the displaced New Orleans residents brought a wave of crime into the communities where they relocated, however, detailed studies of crime statistics in these communities did not reveal a significant increase in violent crime.[112][113][114]

Government Response Criticism

People were upset about how the government had handled the situation, saying that they were way too late coming in days/weeks after with supplies and resources. Many felt like the government didn’t respond quickly enough and that maybe their reaction had to do with class, race and other factors.

Criticism was initially prompted by televised images of visibly shaken and frustrated political leaders, and of residents who remained stranded by flood waters without water, food, or shelter.
Deaths from thirst,exhaustion and violence days after the storm had passed fueled the criticism, as did the dilemma of the evacuees at facilities such as the Louisiana Superdome and the New Orleans Civic Center. Some alleged that race, class, and other factors could have contributed to delays in government response.
For example, during A Concert for Hurricane Relief, a benefit concert for victims of the hurricane, rapper Kanye West veered off script and harshly criticized the government’s response to the crisis, stating that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”[131]

Impact of Media

News anchors and radio broadcasters helped the refugees get the help and attention that they needed. Media representatives could get the word out about the situation in New Orleans which was critical.

Many representatives of the news media reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina became directly involved in the unfolding events, instead of simply reporting. Because of the loss of most means of communication, such as land-based and cellular telephone systems, field reporters in many cases became conduits for information between victims and authorities.
The authorities, who monitored local and network news broadcasts, as well as internet sites, would then attempt to coordinate rescue efforts based on the reports. One illustration was when Geraldo Rivera of Fox News tearfully pleaded for authorities to either send help or evacuate the thousands of evacuees stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.[169]
The role of AM radio was also of importance to the hundreds of thousands of persons with no other ties to news, providing emergency information regarding access to assistance for hurricane victims.

NOLA.com — Community Journalism

The storm also brought a dramatic rise in the role of Internet sites — especially blogging and community journalism. One example was the effort of NOLA.com, the web affiliate of New Orleans’ Times-Picayune. A group of reporters were awarded the Breaking News Pulitzer Prize,[171] and shared the Public Service Pulitzer with the Biloxi-based Sun Herald.[172] The newspaper’s coverage was carried for days only on NOLA’s blogs, as the newspaper lost its presses and evacuated its building as water rose around it on August 30.
The site became an international focal point for news by local media, and also became a vital link for rescue operations and later for reuniting scattered residents, as it accepted and posted thousands of individual pleas for rescue on its blogs and forums. NOLA was monitored constantly by an array of rescue teams — from individuals to the Coast Guard — which used information in rescue efforts. Much of this information was relayed from trapped victims via the SMS functions of their cell phones, to friends and relatives outside the area, who then relayed the information back to NOLA.com.
The aggregation of community journalism, user photos and the use of the internet site as a collaborative response to the storm attracted international attention, and was called a watershed moment in journalism.[173] In the wake of these online-only efforts, the Pulitzer Committee for the first time opened all its categories to online entries.[174]

Lower 9 Videos/Documentaries

“When I got on the roof and looked back, it looked like a lake. Not like a neighborhood.” — Lower 9 Promo Video

Google Earth: Lower 9th Ward Before & After Hurricane Katrina

It’s really terrifying to see how much of the area changed. It’s almost unrecognizable. I’m glad that from above, it seems like the area has reconstructed most of itself by the end of the video. But just like the lady said in the podcast, looks can be deceiving.

Video portrays the before and after of what the area looked like through Google Map images.

I Was There: Hurricane Katrina: Superdome Survivor | History

When Hurricane Katrina forced New Orleans poet Shelton Alexander to evacuate his home, he took his truck and video camera to the Superdome. He escaped the chaotic shelter a few days later with a truckload of people and video documentation of history.
“You may or may not care. I was there.”
“Shoved and pushed forward over food — a shortage.”
“Asked a member of the national guard: Why are we being held as prisoners of war? He responded, Following orders.”

Shelton Alexander’s Story

Shelton is a Hurricane Katrina victim who decided to stay in the Superdome during the disaster. He had his video camera with him to document what was going on. The History Channel interviewed him for answers.

  • Decided to drive and then traffic was backed up for hours
  • Knew that the Superdome was an option. Figured that things would blow over in a few days and things would be okay again.
  • National Guards searched every person that tried to come in.
  • “Why can’t I leave? This is not a war. Why am I stuck here?”
  • “The toilets were backed up. Not having drank water, it was real bad.”
  • “Elders were sitting in place for days at a time not moving.”
  • “We know what gun shots sound like in New Orleans. Maybe you‘re not going to see a bunch of reports on it but I can tell you I witnessed it.”
  • “They won’t let us out. They’re going to starve us. Let me out of here. I’m going to take my chances on our side.”
  • The Superdome was still swelling…The people coming out of the shadows…They call it survivor’s guilt. I think about all the people that I had to pass by, you know?
  • It almost feels like it was yesterday. But then it feels like it’s been forever too…It’s been a lot of heartache and a lot of pain.
  • I couldn’t breathe. I learned that it was anxiety later. But it was real, real tough…You don’t want everything to be the same. You still want it to feel like home. At different times, you look around and it doesn’t remind you of what this place was.
  • “You can rebuild a home. But you need to rebuild the mind, spirit and the soul.”
  • Following Katrina, he’s returned to help teach creative writing at schools.

Hurricane Katrina: The Drive: New Orleans Lower 9th Ward

  • Breached levees caused flooding for 145 square miles. Water covered 80% of New Orleans.
  • Lower Ninth Ward: “No words to describe the extent of the damage done by the flooding. The only way to understand is to drive through the affected neighborhoods.”
  • Population: 14,008
  • Race: 98.3% African American
  • Owner Occupied Households: 59%
  • Number of Bodies Found: Over 60
  • “This drive takes place 4 months after Hurricane Katrina and the Lower Ninth Ward still looks like a bombed war zone. What is left are piles of debris and memories of what once was an established and functioning community.”
  • Lower Ninth Ward: Settled at the start of the 19th Century on the Easy Bay of the Mississippi River. Adjacent to the Industrial Canal. Levees, canals and ports help serve commerce.
  • “A picture doesn’t even describe this down here unless you step foot on this land down here and see for yourself.”
  • “This block is very, very quiet. We all know our neighbors. We know everyone around here.”
  • “Katrina didn’t do all this. The levee and the boards did. And the floodgates.”
  • “The government is helping people in other countries and they’re not helping and doing what they need to do to help those in the United States.”
  • “Throughout the drive one thing is constant. Block after block, mile after mile, the devastation never seems to end.”
  • “Thousands of homes sat in a toxic soup for weeks.”
  • “Rescue teams left painted tattoos on homes and businesses.”
  • “People want to come home but there’s nothing to come back to.”

10 Years Forward: The Ninth Ward (Part 1)

  • “Katrina took all the family that I had. I’m an only child. It was just me and my mom. Katrina took what I had.”
  • “Imagine: four lives lost in one day.”
  • “Today, she still lives on Flood Street — two doors from where her daughter, sister and two nieces drowned. For her, Katrina is too painful for her to discuss.”
  • 2 Years after the Storm — 1 in 12 adults suicidal.
  • 4 Years after the Storm — 1/3 of low income mothers suffered from PTSD

“Katrina’s Hidden Race War” Four Years Later

Interviewing people in New Orleans to better understand the racial tensions that have torn communities apart following Katrina. Specifically, they’re interested in learning more about a private vigilante that has been roaming around the streets of a community.

  • Vinnie Pervel organizes a private militia. These individuals are armed with lots of weapons to “keep criminals away.” He says he “uses the second amendment to protect” himself.
  • “It was like pheasant season in Alabama. If you moved, you shot it.”
  • “Police in the military were no where to be seen.”
  • “Across the city, people died of gunshot wounds and violence. There was no real effort from law enforcement to figure out what happened to these people.”
  • “I believe that those guys were hunting black people.”

Researching Political Conflicts

It’s clear that people were and are still upset that the government didn’t, according to them, respond quickly enough to the disaster. I’m hoping to find out more about what exactly caused the tension and how people dealt with it. What was the media response? What did the government officials have to say for themselves? I was particularly interested in doing some research on Spike Lee’s documentary: When the Levees Broke. Some themes that are explored are shown below:

  • Nagin vs. Giuliani
  • Bush vs. Johnson
  • FEMA vs. General Honore

From a transcript between NPR and Spike Lee:

“Mr. LEE: The residents of the Gulf Coast were not a priority for this administration. Actions speak louder than words, and two times this past — in the last years, with earthquakes and tsunamis the United States of America have gone more than halfway around the world and was there in two days. And it took the same government four days to reach New Orleans.”

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees–CNN.com

Hurricane Katrina, State of Emergency Transcript: http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0509/02/acd.01.html

“Why so late? Is this enough? The role of race?
Amid the flood of criticism, a growing trickle of hope. Military supply trucks now rolling through flooded streets, but what about crime and chaos?
Emergency care. The nightmare when doctors and hospitals’ needs are critical.
Amid the devastation, the stunning power of the human spirit.”

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was horrible. Human waste, animal waste, rodents, anything you could possibly imagine. That’s what we had to deal with

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A woman had a baby last night with no medical assistance, but the baby didn’t make it. We’re suffering…

NAGIN: I don’t want to see anybody do any more goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city, and then come down to the city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can’t even count.

Don’t tell me 40,000 people have come in here. They’re not here. It’s too doggone late. Now get off your asses and let’s do something, and let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country. — Nagin

SANCHEZ: And to make matters worse, the mayor says that the city’s last functioning clean water facility is breaking down. Another ominous sign, fires, including a huge chemical explosion, difficult, if not impossible, to fight effectively with many streets flooded and water pressure nonexistent.

COOPER: You see so many things in the debris here in Waveland, Mississippi. It is hard to get used to seeing a tattered American flag lying on the ground in a tree like that. So much work needs to be done here.

COOPER: I asked someone here that I told them I was going to be talking to you tonight. And they wanted to ask, was part of the problem that a lot of these National Guard troops are in Iraq or overseas? I mean, are the forces so depleted, is that an issue?

LOTT: Anderson, only the news media is asking that question.

COOPER: Sir, I can guarantee you that is not true.

LOTT: I’ve been digging through rubble in my own yard…

COOPER: Sir, a man who lives right here on this corner was asking me that question.

LOTT: No, that is not accurate. We’ve got the National Guard troops that we need. They’re coming in there. They’re coming in 1,200 a day into Mississippi. We’re going to have 6,000 to 7,000 in Mississippi alone, not just Mississippi National Guardsmen, but Alabama, all the way to Michigan are going to be there. We’re all pulling together.

Look, I don’t want to minimize the difficulty or the magnitude of this problem. It’s a big one, we’ve to get everything in there that we can. But we’ve had problems like communications. When you get stuff there, distribution center, the people can’t get there. You’ve got to get it out into the community. We have a problem with fuel. I’ve got people that want to go — my own son hadn’t been there because I told him if you in there, you can’t get back because you won’t have gas.

But it is not just the news media that is asking these questions. There’s a man named Charles Kerney (ph) who lost his home. He came up to me today, heard an interview last night, and he said, “I want to know, I mean, why aren’t there more National Guard? And it’s not enough,” he said.

LOTT: I am pleased with the federal government response. And by the way, while they’re hurting, and I understand it, this is not a time for complaining. This is a time for specifying what help we need, and let’s make sure we get it in there. I’m really shocked at some of the comments that are coming, you know, a day or two or three, a week from now.

But when a guy like you comes down there and comes in among us, that helps us explain to the people in the country and the world the magnitude of the problem and the help we need. And I just want to say, thank you to you and other media people. They’re doing a great job. They’re down there sweating and crying with us. I want to thank the volunteers and everybody that’s trying to help us. And all I got to everybody else, we need you. Send more help. Send bodies, send people.

L. BREUX: We’ve evacuated New Orleans as a couple, at least five times, and were gone for three days, and we knew this was a big storm so, OK, maybe it’s going to be a week. OK, so for a week, we’ll know he’s safe and, you know, we’ll just come back.

OPPENHEIM: But, of course, there was no going back. By Tuesday, Lanie and Tad now at a hotel in Houston, started getting calls Methodist Hospital was to be evacuated. Their son was just a week old and they had no idea where he was or where he was being taken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many of these Americans who now are struggling to survive are Americans of color. Their cries for assistance confront America with the test of our moral compass as a nation.

UDOJI: Sixty-seven percent of New Orleans residents are black. Nearly 30 percent of the city’s population lives below the poverty line without the money or the means to leave town despite dire warnings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost every person we’ve seen from the families stranded on their rooftops waiting to be rescued to the looters to the people holed up in the Superdome are black and poor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I’m calling for them to take care of Americans regardless of their color. Significant numbers of people in the gulf are African Americans and we stand here because we are concerned about them.

COOPER: We are joined by the Reverend Jesse Jackson from New Orleans, Reverend Jackson thanks very much for being with us tonight. Do you really believe race has been a determining factor in the rescue and recovery efforts going on and the response by the federal government?

REV. JESSE JACKSON, PRES., RAINBOW-PUSH COALITION: It is at least a factor. Today I saw 5,000 African Americans on the I-10 causeway desperate, perishing, dehydrated, babies dying. It looked like Africans in the hull of a slave ship. It was so ugly and so obvious. Have we missed this catastrophe because of indifference and ineptitude or is it a combination of the both? And, certainly I think the issue of race as a factor will not go away from this equation.

COOPER: So, you’re saying if the majority of these people in the Astrodome or in the shelters were white you say the evacuation, what, would be done faster, would be done better?

JACKSON: We have an amazing tolerance for black pain and for too long after our slave ships landed in New Orleans, you know, we tolerated in the name of God slavery for 246 years (INAUDIBLE) for another 100 years. We have great tolerance for black suffering and black marginalization.

And today those who are suffering the most, in fact, in New Orleans certainly are black people and I think what I think pains me today we got seven more busloads of people out of New Orleans. There were about 5,000 people. All of them were African American and no busses had been there until we got — they were sent to (INAUDIBLE).

Indifference, incompetence or both and both are unacceptable. — Jackson

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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Special Edition: Waveland, Mississippi

Aired September 2, 2005–19:00 ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: More bodies found here in Waveland, Mississippi. The search and rescue efforts continue, so does the response. A lot of outrage, though, here on the ground in Waveland. We’ll have all that and in the next hour in this special edition of 360. It is 7:00 p.m. on the east coast, 6:00 p.m. here in Mississippi, and 4:00 p.m. in the west. 360 starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The mayor of New Orleans explodes in a radio interview.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: Now, get off your asses and let’s do something. And let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

ANNOUNCER: And President Bush, before heading to New Orleans, admits efforts to help have fallen short.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The results are not acceptable.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, thousands still trapped, desperate. No food, no water, no way out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help us please. If we could have got out, we would have. We need help.

ANNOUNCER: Again, tonight, Anderson asks the hard questions. Why so late? Is this enough? The role of race?

Amid the flood of criticism, a growing trickle of hope. Military supply trucks now rolling through flooded streets, but what about crime and chaos?

Emergency care. The nightmare when doctors and hospitals’ needs are critical.

Amid the devastation, the stunning power of the human spirit.

TAD BREUX, FATHER OF ZACHARY BREUX: It’s just fantastic. We can go get our little boy.

ANNOUNCER: Parents reunited with their missing newborn.

This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360. Hurricane Katrina, state of emergency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Welcome back. We are live in Waveland, Mississippi, the same town we were in last night. A small town, but a town we think worth staying in because, well, the people here are suffering and they need the world’s attention as much as possible, as much as possible. All along this coast, people need the attention.

I want to just show you a few shots around me. This street that we are on, just the complete devastation. Frankly, we could have picked any street in this entire swamp from the beach to the railroad tracks here in Waveland. Whatever camera angle you’re looking at it from, this is what Katrina has left behind. And days after the storm has left, all of this remains.

There have been some bulldozers here, some roads have been cleared, and that is certainly good news, but there is much that still needs to be done. The question tonight, is enough being done? Was enough done ahead of this storm to prepare? Some tough questions that need answers tonight, and the people here want answers.

First, what happened over the last 24 hours? It’s hard to know if things are getting better on the large scale when you’re here in a town like Waveland, where you can’t get much information. It doesn’t feel often like things are getting better because the adrenaline is gone from the storm, from surviving the storm, and now the realization is setting in. What lays ahead? The difficult, dangerous, dark days ahead. CNN’s Rick Sanchez takes a look if things are really getting better.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If New Orleans looks like a war zone, it is because it is a war zone.

VIRGINIA KEYES, EVACUEE: If we wade in that water, dirty, filthy water, and we’re dirty. This is not the way we live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was horrible. Human waste, animal waste, rodents, anything you could possibly imagine. That’s what we had to deal with.

SANCHEZ: For five days, tens of thousands of people have waited to be saved. For some, it was too late.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A woman had a baby last night with no medical assistance, but the baby didn’t make it. We’re suffering.

SANCHEZ: This afternoon, help finally arrived. A row of amphibious vehicles loaded with relief supplies rolled through the flooded waters of downtown. Their destination, the convention center.

There, armed National Guardsmen filed past men, women and children in dire need of food, water and medicine. Last night, before help arrived, the mayor vented his frustration. NAGIN: I don’t want to see anybody do any more goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city, and then come down to the city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can’t even count.

Don’t tell me 40,000 people have come in here. They’re not here. It’s too doggone late. Now get off your asses and let’s do something, and let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

SANCHEZ: And to make matters worse, the mayor says that the city’s last functioning clean water facility is breaking down. Another ominous sign, fires, including a huge chemical explosion, difficult, if not impossible, to fight effectively with many streets flooded and water pressure nonexistent.

Congress has approved $10.5 billion in emergency funds for the stricken area. Leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus hailed the move while harshly criticizing the pace of the administration’s response and expressing concern that the money would be put to the best use.

REP. CAROLYN KILPATRICK (D), MICHIGAN: I’m ashamed of America. I’m ashamed of our government. And as a member of the appropriation’s committee, I want to make sure, yes, we should approve the $10.5 billion. But it’s got to go right to the people.

SANCHEZ: The stress is now spreading to Houston, where many of the New Orleans evacuees have been relocated. Promised a wed at the Astrodome, thousands who traveled hours there have nowhere to call home.

BUSH: You’re doing a heck of a job.

SANCHEZ: Today, President Bush went to the Gulf Coast. He was briefed live on camera about the growing human catastrophe.

BUSH: The federal government’s job is big and it’s massive and we’re going to do it. Where it’s not working right, we’ll make it right.

SANCHEZ: Also, the first lady thanked Americans for opening their hearts and homes and urged people to volunteer.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to urge people who have the ability to be able to come to Louisiana, or any of the Gulf Coast states that were affected and volunteer to try to do that. If you can’t do it this week, there will be next week and the next week, and it’s going to go on for a long time.

SANCHEZ: Later, the president toured New Orleans, where evacuees were being removed. He called the $10.5 billion relief package, passed by the House and Senate, just a down payment, and assured everyone that more is on the way. Meanwhile, the airlift and the busing continues, by the thousands. This is threat latest group. They’re from Tulane University Hospital. They’ve been stuck there for several days. They all come with their individual stories, but none perhaps like this. Hospital officials are telling us that many of the nurses resorted to giving themselves IVs just to remain hydrated.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Louis Armstrong International Airport, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: You heard the mayor of New Orleans on that radio interview a little bit ago, just outraged, blasting the idea of having press conferences. We’ve got some new pictures in right now of the Astrodome. I want to show you these images, we are just getting them into CNN. These are the first time we are seeing these images. The scene there obviously chaotic. It is, well — just several days after this storm, it is extraordinary that all of this is still going on.

A night to remember for Chris Lawrence, last night. Last we talked to him, he was on the roof of a police station in New Orleans, barricading himself onto that roof with the police officers there in New Orleans who are working around the clock trying to do as best they can. Chris, what was the night like?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just an incredible night, Anderson. I’ve got you right now, first thing’s first, all those police officers are OK. But it was a scene you would never expect to find in any major American city. Police officers having to defend their own police station, taking fire at night, having to return fire. Just an incredible scene.

As we stood up there on the rooftop, you could hear gunshots. You looked down on the ground, entire neighborhood were flooded around them. And undermanned and overwhelmed, these men and women decided to stay the course and continue to defend that station.

Police officers under siege in New Orleans prepare to defend their station.

COOPER: We obviously lost contact with Chris Lawrence. As you know, it is very hard to maintain contact inside the city of New Orleans. We’ll try to get him back later on in the program.

Coming up later on 360, why did the response take so long? That is the question so many people here have been asking. Yes, Mississippi National Guard, some elements are on the ground here in Waveland and other parts. There’s so much more that needs to be done, and people here, the anger is white hot on the streets here in Waveland tonight. Some answers to some questions, let’s hope, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: You see so many things in the debris here in Waveland, Mississippi. It is hard to get used to seeing a tattered American flag lying on the ground in a tree like that. So much work needs to be done here.

There is a lot of anger, as I’ve said, and a lot of questions remain. And people want answers here. They don’t want responses to questions, they want answers to questions. And they’re not feeling like they’re getting them, frankly, in many spots here.

Kelly, you know, it’s easy to cast blame, though. There are a lot of hard-working people, a lot of people from FEMA here who’ve been here for days, doing search and rescue around the clock, and a lot of good people from the federal government working very hard.

But certainly, not enough has been done, not enough is being done, and more could be done. CNN’s Kelly Wallace takes a look now at systematically, day by day, of the five days since this storm. We’re now in day five. What exactly has been done? What has the response really been? Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Frustration in New Orleans. Why did it take so long for federal aid to arrive? The government’s response did begin before we even knew the scope of Katrina’s wrath. President Bush declaring a state of emergency in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

BUSH: These declarations will allow federal agencies to coordinate all disaster relief efforts with state and local officials.

WALLACE: New Orleans’ Mayor Ray Nagin ordering residents to leave.

NAGIN: I am, this morning, declaring that we will be doing a mandatory evacuation.

WALLACE: On Monday, after the eye of had hurricane hit well east of New Orleans, city and state officials thought they might have escaped the worst, until Tuesday, when a second levee broke, leaving 80 percent of the city under water. Then came the looting and reports of gunfire. The mayor expressing frustration about the coordinated response to the disaster.

We just need to all make sure that we’re on the same page, and we’re moving with a tremendous sense of urgency to get things done.

WALLACE: On Wednesday, the situation becomes dire. The governor draws up plans to evacuate everyone, including tens of thousands at the Superdome. More help is needed.

GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO (D), LOUISIANA: We’re in crisis mode, and we simply have to move people and get them to safe ground.

WALLACE: CNN has learned that the governor called President Bush Wednesday to express her frustration with the speed of the federal response. It was after Governor Blanco visited the Superdome Tuesday night and didn’t see any FEMA workers that she decided to call the president, her aide said. On Wednesday, Mr. Bush flew over the flooded city on Air Force One, cutting short his vacation, promising federal help.

BUSH: We’re dealing with one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history.

WALLACE: More than 10,000 National Guard troops were called up, Coast Guard helicopters began rescuing the stranded, and the president on Thursday enlisted the aid of former presidents Bush and Clinton for an unprecedented fund-raising effort.

But, at the same time, New Orleans’ mayor issued a, quote, “desperate SOS” for his city, and slammed the speed and size of the federal response in an interview with WWL-Radio’s Garland Robinette.

NAGIN: Don’t tell me 40,000 people have come in here. They’re not here. It’s too doggone late. Now get off your asses and let’s do something, and let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

WALLACE: And then this, the first convoy of military vehicles, with desperately needed troops and supplies, rolls into New Orleans Friday afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came to the house, the house of my son.

WALLACE: While President Bush, on the ground in hurricane- stricken areas, tries to play the role of comforter-in-chief.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, New York.

COOPER: Well, this storm has hit home for Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi. His home in Pascagoula has been destroyed. He joins us tonight.

Senator, thank you for being with us, and I’m sorry for your personal loss in all this, as well as the loss of so many in your state.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: You know, I will say this, Anderson. When the people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast suffer, I suffer. And when they lose their homes, I lose mine, too. And I want to thank you for being there and giving, from what I understand, some really good reports about how just how devastating the situation is. Waveland, Mississippi, a neat little town, doesn’t exist.

COOPER: It’s a beautiful town. My cousins actually came up to me, they’re from Meridian, and I got family in Alabama. It turns out they had a house here, too. I didn’t know about, it’s been destroyed.

You know, there’s so much anger here, Senator, as I’m sure you know. I’m sure you’ve heard this from your constituents. People want answers and they feel like the federal government failed on this. Did the federal government fail? LOTT: Absolutely not. Now, when you’ve lost everything you have, and when you’ve lost a loved one, and you’re exhausted, and you haven’t had a bath in four days, and you’re hungry, and you don’t have water and ice, and you don’t have generator to run, a fan, you know, it’s tough.

And I know from having been through a lot of hurricanes and tornadoes and ice storms, always a couple days after a hurricane or whatever you feel like you’ve hit the wall. You’re just completely exhausted and the aid that you need desperately is not quite there.

But it’s on the way, and that’s what I want to say to the people in Mississippi and Louisiana and even Alabama. A massive aid is coming. In my own home town of Pascagoula, which suffered a devastating blow too, we are now getting generators, ice, food, water in there. And a lot of volunteers…

COOPER: Why is it taking so long? Do you understand why it’s taking so long?

(CROSSTALK)

LOTT: … Monday. And, you know, you don’t just — National Guard units are citizen soldiers. They’re not at the armory waiting to go. They’ve got to get there, they’ve got to get their equipment packed. They’ve got to come in. People don’t realize…

COOPER: Let me ask you.

LOTT: Yes.

COOPER: I asked someone here that I told them I was going to be talking to you tonight. And they wanted to ask, was part of the problem that a lot of these National Guard troops are in Iraq or overseas? I mean, are the forces so depleted, is that an issue?

LOTT: Anderson, only the news media is asking that question.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Sir, I can guarantee you that is not true.

LOTT: I’ve been digging through rubble in my own yard…

COOPER: Sir, a man who lives right here on this corner was asking me that question.

LOTT: No, that is not accurate. We’ve got the National Guard troops that we need. They’re coming in there. They’re coming in 1,200 a day into Mississippi. We’re going to have 6,000 to 7,000 in Mississippi alone, not just Mississippi National Guardsmen, but Alabama, all the way to Michigan are going to be there. We’re all pulling together.

Look, I don’t want to minimize the difficulty or the magnitude of this problem. It’s a big one, we’ve to get everything in there that we can. But we’ve had problems like communications. When you get stuff there, distribution center, the people can’t get there. You’ve got to get it out into the community. We have a problem with fuel. I’ve got people that want to go — my own son hadn’t been there because I told him if you in there, you can’t get back because you won’t have gas.

COOPER: Right, well I can tell you now — there’s a gas station down here that’s charging about $5 for a gallon of fuel, and the line is two miles long. But it is not just the news media that is asking these questions. There’s a man named Charles Kerney (ph) who lost his home. He came up to me today, heard an interview last night, and he said, “I want to know, I mean, why aren’t there more National Guard? And it’s not enough,” he said.

And I’m telling you what he said, and wanted me to ask you. He said, “It’s not enough to hear that they are coming in the future.” He wants to know why they aren’t here now. I mean, should troops have been pre-positioned?

LOTT: Anderson, when you’re hurt, even when people are pre- positioned — some folks don’t seem to realize, you have to clear roads, first. You have to get in there. And that’s what you do the first day. For the first day, you’re trying to clear the roads, get everything assembled, you know, find people that are…

COOPER: So you’re happy with the federal government response?

LOTT: Look, I’m one of them. And I…

COOPER: Well, I know. I understand that. But you’re pleased with the federal government response?

LOTT: I am pleased with the federal government response. And by the way, while they’re hurting, and I understand it, this is not a time for complaining. This is a time for specifying what help we need, and let’s make sure we get it in there. I’m really shocked at some of the comments that are coming, you know, a day or two or three, a week from now.

Look, if they’re not doing their job, I’ll be the first guy to complain. I’m not a shrinking violet. But I’ve dealt with the magnitude of this problem. I understand the transportation, the communication, all that has to go on. And remember, the disaster that went over New Orleans and hit us is still going on. They’re under water. They’re three fires in New Orleans. I looked at it today.

At least our disaster was three days ago and I could go stand in my community and say, “Well, here’s where we were.” But they’re still dealing with it right now. And they’re scared, they’re panicked. It is a devastating thing, don’t let me minimize that.

COOPER: In retrospect, was it a mistake for the federal government in the last couple years to cut the budget for the army corps of engineers in southeastern Louisiana for hurricane protection? Was it a mistake to cut some of the federal funding for flood control in that region? LOTT: Yes, I do think that’s been a mistake. People that don’t live in flood areas of the country — and lots of the country don’t really fully understand good work the corps does and how badly we need it. Yes, I don’t think it was a wise decision. I think we should put more into flood control problems.

But, you know, you’ve got papers like the “Washington Post” editorializing against what the corps does when they build levees and they build pumps. But yes, we ought to be putting more into it, and I vote that way every year.

COOPER: What do you have to say to the mayor of New Orleans, who said he wants a moratorium on press conferences. Do you think there should be a moratorium on press conferences? Again, I’m just passing along things from people, here. There’s a lot of people who are sick of hearing politicians, you know, kind of talk, and as they have been some this week.

LOTT: Anderson, this is a difficult thing, and it’s hard to put a, you know, a positive spin on it. But I don’t feel, you know, all this complaining myself. And I’m part of if. Look, when a governor of a state has a press conference, he’s speaking to the American people or she’s speaking to the American people. Look, this is what’s happening. This is where we are. We need help, you know, send things.

He also, or she is also, speaking to the people of that state. That’s a very important part of the job. Now quite frankly, Anderson, I just as soon not have done any press the last couple days, and hadn’t done much because I’m too busy to assess the problems and move things and build my own personal problems.

But when a guy like you comes down there and comes in among us, that helps us explain to the people in the country and the world the magnitude of the problem and the help we need. And I just want to say, thank you to you and other media people. They’re doing a great job. They’re down there sweating and crying with us. I want to thank the volunteers and everybody that’s trying to help us. And all I got to everybody else, we need you. Send more help. Send bodies, send people.

You know, in my neighborhood we had some fellows from Florida and they came over with a bulldozer and a Bobcat and they said, “Where do we go to work?” And I said, “We need to get that road open.” They went around there and pushed the debris out. We had a lady that couldn’t get in or out of her house. They went and opened up a path. Nobody was paying them.

COOPER: We’re seeing that — we’re seeing that on every block here in Waveland, as well. I’d love you to come down. The people down here would love you to come down here, Senator. I know you have suffered personally, I know you’ve got a lot going on. They would just love some of the answers, to hear them from you directly. I’m just passing that along. Senator Trent Lott, appreciate you joining us very much, taking time out. Thanks very much.

A lot more ahead. We brought you a reunion last night. A little child left in a hospital in New Orleans, his parents had been desperately searching for him. He has been found. Their reunion, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, the days here are pretty emotional. Last night, our program, if you were watching, was a pretty emotional one for all of us. We met parents who had to leave their baby in a hospital in New Orleans right before the storm. The baby was just born, 8 days old. The little boy needed medical attention.

They had to evacuate, they left the baby behind. Could not find that baby for days and days, just about half an hour before they got on our air, they found out the baby was alive. Keith Oppenheim’s followed their story from that moment on.

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Six days before Hurricane Katrina struck, Zachary Breux was born in New Orleans. At Methodist Hospital, Zachary Breux tested positive for being susceptible to sudden infant death syndrome.

LANIE BREUX, MOTHER OF ZACHARY BREUX: I called him, called Tad and I said, you know, “What do you think we should do?”

OPPENHEIM: Suddenly, his parents, Tad and Lanie Breux, had to make tough decisions. With Hurricane Katrina approaching, they were getting ready to evacuate, but their doctors advised, without a special monitor, it would be safer to leave Zachary at the hospital.

L. BREUX: We’ve evacuated New Orleans as a couple, at least five times, and were gone for three days, and we knew this was a big storm so, OK, maybe it’s going to be a week. OK, so for a week, we’ll know he’s safe and, you know, we’ll just come back.

OPPENHEIM: But, of course, there was no going back. By Tuesday, Lanie and Tad now at a hotel in Houston, started getting calls Methodist Hospital was to be evacuated. Their son was just a week old and they had no idea where he was or where he was being taken.

T. BREUX: You’re helpless. There’s nothing that you can do. You just want to cry.

OPPENHEIM: But the Breuxs did do something. They got on the phone and on the Internet, asking friends, family, anyone they could think of, to call hospitals in five states. Eventually, the network they created worked. Tad Breux received the call he was desperate to get.

T. BREUX: We called hospitals in Texas, in Alabama, in Mississippi, in Louisiana, in Arkansas. And it’s just fantastic now that we just finally found him.

OPPENHEIM: Tad and Lanie hugged, overjoyed Zachary had been located. L. BREUX: They found our baby.

OPPENHEIM: Late Thursday night, the Breux’s got on a private plane. A friend of a distant relative had called a Ft. Worth, Texas, hospital and learned Zachary was there.

L. BREUX: We always knew that he was fine, we just didn’t know where he was, which is a horrible feeling.

OPPENHEIM: Their feelings would change. Tad and Lanie and their very tired 5-year-old son Benjamin entered Cooke Children’s Medical Center (ph) to set their eyes on their 9-day-old baby boy.

T. BREUX: Mom, don’t touch him. You’re going to mess him up.

OPPENHEIM: We would learn later, Zachary was one of many babies transported to the airport in New Orleans. After a 12-hour wait, young Zack, accompanied by nurses, was transported on a military cargo plane to Ft. Worth.

(on-camera): As a hospital you weren’t able to contact them because their cell phones weren’t working.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct. We tried everything. And we, you know, we didn’t know what to do to get a hold of them. So we just did everything we possibly could and listened to what the nurses were telling us and then we got the phone call saying, “Do you have baby Zachary?”

OPPENHEIM: What’s it like now that you have him in your arms?

T. BREUX: It’s the best feeling in the world. We can all sleep well. We’ve got our family together. Our whole family.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): The Breux’s don’t know yet where they will go. Like so many from New Orleans, they’re homeless. But the experience of losing and rediscovering their baby has affected them deeply.

L. BREUX: Thank god we found him. And he’s perfect and he’s healthy and he’s robust and the pediatricians say he’s doing great.

OPPENHEIM: And reminded them of just how fortunate they really are.

Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Ft. Worth, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: When we come back, the angle on this story that many people have just started to talk about, the racial angle. Does race play a factor, has it played a factor, in the rescue efforts and the recovery efforts and the federal government’s response. We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Some unbelievable numbers here, we are live in Waveland, Mississippi, a town very hard hit by the storm, a city which is — a town which is on its knees tonight and a lot of good people here are in need.

There is a growing sense and a growing debate and discussion about whether or not race has played a role in the response to this disaster, to the recovery efforts, the federal government’s response.

CNN’s Adaora Udoji takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the president of the United States I simply say that God cannot be pleased with our response.

ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America’s African American leaders are outraged at what they call the government’s slow response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina suffering on the streets of New Orleans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many of these Americans who now are struggling to survive are Americans of color. Their cries for assistance confront America with the test of our moral compass as a nation.

UDOJI: He and others have been watching for days the sea of faces left stranded by the wrath of the hurricane.

CROWD: We want help. We want help.

UDOJI: Sixty-seven percent of New Orleans residents are black. Nearly 30 percent of the city’s population lives below the poverty line without the money or the means to leave town despite dire warnings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we could have got out, we would have. We need help.

UDOJI: But it has been the proverbial elephant in the room and until today only a few members of the media have described what every viewer can see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost every person we’ve seen from the families stranded on their rooftops waiting to be rescued to the looters to the people holed up in the Superdome are black and poor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The great majority of the people we’re seeing suffering right now are black and they are poor.

UDOJI: The city’s mayor hasn’t mentioned race but he knows the federal government can be quick to respond to disasters.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS (voice-over): After 9/11 we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care of New York and other places. UDOJI: Today, five days after the storm, troops at last are on the ground and food is being distributed but it will take a long time to get to everyone and answering the question of why it took so long to help Americans caught in the aftermath of a catastrophe may not be simple.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I’m calling for them to take care of Americans regardless of their color. Significant numbers of people in the gulf are African Americans and we stand here because we are concerned about them.

UDOJI: Adaora Udoji, CNN, New Orleans International Airport.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We are joined by the Reverend Jesse Jackson from New Orleans, Reverend Jackson thanks very much for being with us tonight. Do you really believe race has been a determining factor in the rescue and recovery efforts going on and the response by the federal government?

REV. JESSE JACKSON, PRES., RAINBOW-PUSH COALITION: It is at least a factor. Today I saw 5,000 African Americans on the I-10 causeway desperate, perishing, dehydrated, babies dying. It looked like Africans in the hull of a slave ship. It was so ugly and so obvious. Have we missed this catastrophe because of indifference and ineptitude or is it a combination of the both? And, certainly I think the issue of race as a factor will not go away from this equation.

COOPER: So, you’re saying if the majority of these people in the Astrodome or in the shelters were white you say the evacuation, what, would be done faster, would be done better?

JACKSON: We have an amazing tolerance for black pain and for too long after our slave ships landed in New Orleans, you know, we tolerated in the name of God slavery for 246 years (INAUDIBLE) for another 100 years. We have great tolerance for black suffering and black marginalization.

And today those who are suffering the most, in fact, in New Orleans certainly are black people and I think what I think pains me today we got seven more busloads of people out of New Orleans. There were about 5,000 people. All of them were African American and no busses had been there until we got — they were sent to (INAUDIBLE).

So, I said where are the busses? They said they’re on the way. Across the street were 150 busses empty because they have no place to take them, so we have no place, no plan of rescue or relocation or relief for these people. Most are black and so the (INAUDIBLE) is self evident.

COOPER: Reverend Jackson, though — Reverend Jackson, you call that indifference. Others might just call that incompetence and we’ve seen incompetence in plenty of places. I’ve seen bulldozers sitting around for hours at a time because no one told them what to do. I’m not sure that race played a role in those. Is that really fair to say? Isn’t the leadership of New Orleans predominantly African American? Isn’t the mayor of New Orleans African American? Isn’t he primarily responsible for the safety and well-being of his people?

JACKSON: No, the mayor of New York did not cut the budget on building a stronger levee to protect the city from facing a flood in light of a storm. That infrastructure is not what mayors do.

Even the focus on looting and looting of course is unacceptable but a few blacks stealing some televisions is not why people are dehydrating and perishing and parching and can’t get rescue, relief or relocation. And so why is it that we as Americans are getting less U.S. relief than there was U.N. relief for the tsunami? So, you explain it.

COOPER: Well, I don’t have the answer to that and I think you raised some interesting questions though. But I mean the mayor of New Orleans is responsible for most immediately for the well-being of his people. Does it make sense that they were encouraging people to go into a stadium to evacuate, I mean is that responsible a stadium that turned out to be a hell hole?

JACKSON: Several hundred thousand people and the stadium could only hold 20,000 and could not hold them very well. Clearly, the rescue operation and the relief operation is not something a mayor can do. As a matter of fact, it’s not something that the governor can do. As a matter of fact this is a (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: So, you don’t believe — you don’t believe the mayor holds any responsibility for the chaos that is happening you think it’s all the federal government?

JACKSON: Oh, the mayor holds some responsibility. But, look here, the state has responsibility for National Guard, security and protection. The Corps of Engineers has responsibility for building up a stronger levee but then the budget was cut for that.

Where was the National Guard and where were the helicopters, in Iraq, fortifying Iraq but leaving New Orleans exposed and so race is not the only factor because race did not create — did not create the Katrina hurricane. We did not know to what extent carcinogens was a factor in the ozone layer.

So, from Mississippi around to Alabama there was a certain evenness in the impact of Katrina but then you look at who’s left behind. Most are poor and black and this time with no place to go.

The president came through today, five days later a ceremonial visit. Why can’t we use the unused air bases, for example, to put these people? There’s England Air Base right here in Alexandria (INAUDIBLE) basically empty. Why are these people five days later — more will die from starving and dehydration than from drowning. What is the real reason? COOPER: I hear your questions and those are questions that I’ve been trying to get answers to and have not frankly gotten the answers I’m looking for or anyone is looking for around here or any answers frankly. We’re going to continue to ask those questions. Reverend Jesse Jackson, appreciate you joining us very much tonight. A lot ahead…

JACKSON: Indifference, incompetence or both and both are unacceptable.

COOPER: Indifference and incompetence both are unacceptable that is certainly true. Reverend Jesse Jackson, thank you very much.

President Bush patrolled the area today. He was on helicopter. He was on the ground in New Orleans. We saw his helicopter pass overhead here. A lot of people here had mixed feelings about the president doing that, even holding a press conference with all those troopers behind him. We’ll hear some of that a little bit later on. Laura Bush was also there touring the areas showing their concern for the people here, a lot of people watching those images.

CNN’s Deborah Feyerick was covering the president’s trip as well. She joins us now. Deborah, what’s the latest?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we can tell you we were inside the Superdome — I’m sorry the Cajun Dome today in Lafayette. There were 6,000 people there. We can tell you what we saw.

We saw hope mixed with despair. We saw children who are missing their parents. We saw parents who were missing their babies. We saw those who have been saved and yet they can’t shake the feeling that they’ve been abandoned for days, their broken dreams now being made worse by what they perceive as broken promises.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are children that’s here without their parents. I got eleven kids I’m taking care of. Their parents, nobody knows where they’re at. I have a little niece that’s nine years old, her mom is still on top of a rooftop somewhere and believe me we appreciate ya’ll but we need ya’ll to tell the story the way it is, the exact truth. Don’t take nothing from it because we are in distress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are children that’s here without their parents. I got eleven kids I’m taking care of. Their parents, nobody knows where they’re at. I have a little niece that’s nine years old, her mom is still on top of a rooftop somewhere and believe me we appreciate ya’ll but we need ya’ll to tell the story the way it is, the exact truth. Don’t take nothing from it because we are in distress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I’d rather you not say I’m coming, I’m coming, I’m coming, just don’t say that at all. You’ll feel better. You make more of a problem when you say you’re coming and don’t show. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to let my loved ones know we made it through the hell hole. We made it through that holocaust. That’s what it was. It was a holocaust.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see one FEMA person come in here and ask me what they can do to help me and help these other people in here.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely not, Anderson. I’ve been to Iraq. I’ve been to Sri Lanka. We were there together covering the tsunami. This was unlike anything I had ever seen and it was hard to believe that this was the United States of America — Anderson.

GUPTA: I think it was a combination of just having the cesspool of infectious water completely surrounding the hospital, concerns not only about people trying to get out of the hospital, which was impossible because they had to go by boat or by amphibious vehicle, but also this growing concern about public health issues, all this bacteria, viruses, just mucky, disgusting water flowing into the hospital, no electricity, no water. It was impossible to take care of patients.

CBS News — Katrina Aid Slowed by Racism

In remarks to the annual meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists, Nagin said the hurricane “exposed the soft underbelly of America as it relates to dealing with race and class.”
While tens of billions of dollars in federal aid have flowed to Louisiana and other states devastated by Katrina, much of it has gone to developers and contractors, Nagin said.
Very little of those dollars have gotten to the local governments or to the people themselves,” Nagin said.
The federal and state aid the city has received is inadequate and comes with too many rules, he said.
We are being strangled, and they’re using the money to set local policies to try to take control of the city to do things that they had in mind all along, and that’s to shrink the footprint, get a bunch of developers in the city, and try to do things in a different way,” Nagin said.

Huffington Post — Black People “Loot” Food … White People “Find” Food.

The racial biases of the reporters in New Orleans has been on full — and shocking — display, since Tuesday.
Repeatedly, reporters refer to white victims clinging to life as “survivors” and “residents,” while African-American victims doing the same things are called “looters” and “criminals.” Disproportionately, the humanizing, “heart-breaker” stories feature white victims and families. Meanwhile, images of African-American crowds are almost invariably in the background during discussions of “criminal activity.”
Repeatedly, reporters refer to white victims clinging to life as “survivors” and “residents,” while African-American victims doing the same things are called “looters” and “criminals.” Disproportionately, the humanizing, “heart-breaker” stories feature white victims and families. Meanwhile, images of African-American crowds are almost invariably in the background during discussions of “criminal activity.”
Yahoo.com’s news page provided one of the most blatant examples of this kind of bias.
The website featured a photo of two white residents, wading through the water with food. The caption read: “Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans, Louisiana.(AFP/Getty Images/Chris Graythen)”
Then there is a photo of a Black youth, wading through water with food. The caption reads: “A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage when it made landfall on Monday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)”

Media Matters — O’Reilley Interview

O’REILLY: Now, what’s the real story? The real story is this: Ten percent of Americans, and 10 percent of any society, simply are so chaotic for whatever reason that they’re never, ever going to be able to fend for themselves and make a living. They are either substance abusers, they’re mentally ill, they’re screwed up emotionally beyond — they can’t carry on a conversation, they’re catatonic, schizophrenic, whatever it may be. No matter how much money you pour in, they’re always going to be in that condition. It’s not massive neglect, it’s not; it’s human nature.

Now, our government has a duty to provide a safety net so these people aren’t living under bridges. But some of them are anyway, because all the entitlement money they get they spend on heroin or crack or alcohol. So they can’t pay their rent because the money that they’re given they spend on drugs and alcohol. So what do you do? Give them more money? They’re not going to pay their rent, they’re going to spend it on drugs and alcohol. And therefore, they’re going to be out on the street with their hand out.

Many, many, many of the poor in New Orleans are in that condition. They weren’t going to leave no matter what you did. They were drug-addicted. They weren’t going to get turned off from their source. They were thugs, whatever.

Now the tragedy is that a lot of times these people have children, and society has to take care of their children. Now, to me, I’m much more punitive than — I would take the children away from these people. If you tested positive for heroin or crack, I’d take your child away, out of the house. All right, I’d rather have the kid in the system than under your control. It’s a tough call, but that’s what I would do. But it isn’t society’s neglect, it’s the absence of personal responsibility, which the government can not force you to be responsible, not in a free society.

Media’s Representation of Katrina

I’m curious to read up more on how people felt like the media either did a good or bad job on reporting Katrina.

Media Ethics: http://mprcenter.org/review/giudici-katrina-media-ethics/

I question the media’s approach to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to the exclusion of other affected areas, and examine the effect this had on the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s recovery and rebuilding effort. As a mental health professional and building contractor, I was on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for one year after the storm and was heavily involved in the recovery effort. I was witness to the efforts made by communities and volunteers from all over the world, as well as the efforts from the federal and local governments.”

“You’re doing a heck of a job.” — Bush

This natural disaster is often compared and contrasted to the relief effort of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Both were mentally, emotionally, and fiscally devastating to the United States. Many have said that the efforts for 9/11 were more decisive, organized, and expedient than the effort for the Gulf Coast. In many circles, the issue of race as been mentioned, with many believing that if this storm had occurred in a more affluent area, resources and relief would have been more expedient and plentiful than it was to the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Davis & Land, 2006).
In reality, the response from FEMA and other Federal groups was pursued in a timely manner, but given the vastness of the territory to be supported, the effort may not have been as consolidated as NYC’s need to respond to 9/11. It is important to note the scope and breadth of the Hurricane Katrina disaster when comparing it to the relief effort of 9/11. The 9/11 attack encapsulated a 16 acre area encompassing roughly 12 city blocks (McAllister, Barnett, Gross, Hamberger & Magnusson, 2002). Conversely, Hurricane Katrina and its devastation spanned over 90,000 square miles, roughly the landmass of the United Kingdom (Kessler, Galea, Jones, Parker, 2006). The size of the effected area reflected a disaster like no other in our country’s history and the magnitude of the immediate needs were tremendous.
Efforts like these were also evident with the relief work of the 9/11 tragedy, however, the immensity of the Gulf Coast destruction did not allow for an emotional or physical retreat to rest and recoup from the relief effort. There were no neighbor’s homes or local sites to go for a shower, to rest, and regain perspective. In fact, as a measure to preserve those that were volunteering on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, many of the relief workers were brought in on a two-week rotation then cycled out to allow some time away from the calamity, heat, septic smells, and disease while providing time to heal and recover.
Families forced to live in shelters entered and exited through heavily military armed doors and used their cots as boarders to cordon space that they could call their own. Many of the shelters were converted community centers or gymnasiums filled to capacity with cots, packed with people of various different social classes, and crowded with all of their remaining possessions. In most of the shelters, there were rigid lights out policies requiring lights be turned off at 10:00 pm and on at 6:00 am.

“These people were thugs and criminals.”

A quick snapshot from the media reports initially portrayed Survivors of Hurricane Katrina as a fiscally irresponsible, uneducated population. On the contrary, most families on the Gulf Coast were fiscally smart, hardworking, assiduous people. These families made enough money each month to pay their bills, send their children to school, secure medical and home insurance, and live modest but comfortable lives.
They were living in a state of what I call ‘Highly Functioning Poverty (HFP),’ functioning but on a budget that did not allow for flexibility or emergencies. After the storm hit, their tightly structured budget could not tolerate any inconsistencies, especially one of this magnitude. Their family homes were destroyed, belongings lodged in trees, cars flooded in their yard, along with foliage and debris everywhere. There was no excess or reserve funds to finance any clean up or rebuilding work. Insurance companies denied most families restitution because their damage was “flood related” although their home were not located in flood zone that required additional flood insurance. It was nearly impossible to ascertain what actually caused the damage to the homes: wind or flood since, in many cases, no home remained. For these families, their only source of shelter and equity was lost. A few did receive some money from FEMA or the State, however, the new flood planes were re-zoned and federal regulation even mandated new building standards making it no longer feasible to rebuild. Now, these families were no longer HFP, they were homeless, impoverished, and with little foreseeable hope. Contrary to some reports, many were hard working people that did not have enough reserve capital to absorb the total loss of their home and all of its contents.

“It could have been much worse.”

The general feeling that emulated from the initial assessment of the damages to New Orleans was that the storm could have been much worse (Brinkley, 2006). There was a wide feeling of relief that the city was once again spared doom from the hurricane that would be the demise of the city (McClay, 2007).

“The levees broke. It’s their fault.”

“The most important thing to remember about the drowning of New Orleans is that is was not a natural disaster. It was a man-made disaster, created by lousy engineering, misplaced priorities and pork-barrel politics” (Grunwald, 2007).
“A brief review of history illustrates that the levees that surround New Orleans have had a long history of difficulties. The first concerns regarding the waters that surround New Orleans were in 1719 by Sieur de Bienville, one of the earliest Europeans to develop New Orleans. But in his opinion, this area was an ideal natural port for commerce that would allow straightforward shipping access to the adjoining rivers. The proclivity for the area to flood did concern him, so he began what were the first levees and went forward laying out the first roads in the new city (Brinkley, 2006). Unfortunately, in 1722, a hurricane did hit New Orleans carrying with it a ten-foot storm surge, flooding the area.”
“The history of the New Orleans levee system highlights the fact that, in spite of funding by federal government, ill planning and inadequate construction were the source of the levee failures.”
“Based on the documented history of New Orleans, there appears to be a truth to Grunwald’s assertion that the drowning of New Orleans was a man-made disaster.”

Google Searches for Katrina

“In a broad search of news articles using the search engine Google, the numbers of articles published across various news outlets were also greatly imbalanced. A search of articles on Katrina and New Orleans returned 7,930,000 articles, Pass Christian had 78,000, Bay St Louis 66,400, Waveland 18,600, Long Beach 127,000, Gulfport 156,00, and Biloxi had 239,000 articles posted. Due to the immense media coverage, misrepresentation, and public unawareness of the actual events created by the natural disaster Hurricane Katrina, the name “Katrina” has become a synonym used by the media and the Government to gain public sympathy for those that are affected by the mismanagement and improprieties of the federal government. An example is a statement made by Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Christopher Dodd, who referred to the regarding the current real estate market as a “crisis [that] is the equivalent of a slow-motion, fifty-state Katrina, taking people’s homes one-by-one, devastating their lives and destroying their communities.”
“Now it is almost impossible to disentangle the natural event of Hurricane Katrina from the man-made disasters caused by the broken levees, raised racial tensions, and political mistrust. On August 29, 2005, by what some call an “act of God,” Hurricane Karina with her 35-mile-wide eye hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast with fierce winds exceeding 230 miles per hour and pushing a massive 35 foot title surges ashore (Thompson, 2005). The storm damaged or destroyed more than 242,000 homes, 4,800 businesses, and killed 217 people in Mississippi, almost totally leveling Harrison and Hancock counties (Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, 2007).”

Myths on Katrina:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/08/hurricane_katrina_10_years_later_the_myths_that_persist_debunked.html

http://minnesotareview.dukejournals.org/content/2015/84/60.full.pdf+html

Designing Spreads

Here’s a preview of what my first prototype looked like for this book:

I got feed back from Kristin that I needed to be more expressive in my type. I needed the people to pick up my book and get the message immediately. The way I was using type right now wasn’t delivering anything boldly enough. I needed to think more about the message I wanted to convey. I want to show that the media influenced the way people thought about Katrina. For the cover here, I was using the idea of “framing” but it was coming across as too vague.

Focusing on Race

I wanted to really break out of my comfort zone and do more with the type. I wanted this to be bold and in your face. I started experimenting more and went in a new direction. However, it still didn’t feel right. I was losing track of what I wanted to convey originally. Here, the emphasis is too strong on race — the cover being about “Black Lives Matter”. I needed to refocus and think about the media!

I did another iteration and this time landed on a much better direction.

Media + Katrina

At first, I didn’t change too much of how I was handling the text. I went with the same visual style. Then I decided to change the cover. This launched me into a new idea and voice.

I started playing around with color, foreground and background.

November 15 | Crit + More Touching Up

November 23rd | Transcript Design