August 31st, 2008
02:52 PM ET

Anderson's View: The calm (and crabcakes) before the storm

Anderson Cooper

I'm sitting at a bar.

I know, I know, there's a massive storm coming. Don't worry, I’m not drinking. I hadn't eaten all day and this is the only place I could find open in the French Quarter.

"We never close," the bartender yelled out as he waved me inside. "I knew you would be here," the chef said, rushing into the kitchen, "I'm going to make you up some crabcakes."

How could I say no? It's a small place called the Oceana Grill, and it’s packed with cops and reporters. That's a good sign, it means most of the residents and tourists have left. The Quarter is empty, boarded up, calm. I've spent today walking and driving around, checking up on evacuations and preparations.

So far the differences between the response to this storm and Katrina are obvious. Lessons seem to have been learned. The governor appears on top of the evacuations, city officials seem to be working together.

We haven't gotten a final count on how many of the estimated 30,000 people who needed help to leave have actually gotten out. But there have been buses evacuating people since early yesterday. As for the levees, we simply don't know. The work on them is not completed, and there are serious concerns about how strong they really are. we will be watching them closely.

We will be broadcasting a two hour special tonight. We have a large presence here, and are ready to cover whatever happens. We have staked out multiple locations to be at during the storm, and we hope to stay on the air as long as possible even during the worst of it.

"How long are you staying open for?" I ask the bartender as I pay my check...
"til," he says.
"til what?"
"til we get tired."

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Hurricane Gustav • TV
soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. Dee Stevens

    Anderson is AC/360 broadcasting this evening from New Orleans?

    September 1, 2008 at 11:37 am |
  2. Dee Stevens

    Anderson you and the entire crew are doing a great job covering Hurricane Gustav in New Orleans today. Stay safe and may God watch over all of the CNN crew. Sometime in the forseeable future perhaps the Louisiana Legislature, Governor Bobby Jindal, and the Mayor of New Orleans should establish a Levee Commission similar to the Lake Pontchartrain Commission to better understand the enginering system of New Orleans. May God be with you Anderson. Will the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway be clear to drive on tomorrow?

    September 1, 2008 at 11:24 am |
  3. Michelle Fonthill Ont,Canada

    Hi Anderson
    Here we go again ! Another hurricane for you to report on I hope and pray that the damages are not as extensive as Katrina and that the levees stay strong. I aslo hope you stay safe and be carefull of the strong wind and rain .The forces of nature as taken it's tol on you in the past hurricanes please stay safe

    Thanks for being brave and caring for the poeple of New Oreleans
    Take care :Michelle D.

    September 1, 2008 at 10:36 am |
  4. Tracey - Boston


    Don't worry about your hair. We know how you style it. You're in the middle of a hurricane. (although having it part on the other side may be a good thing-haha) It's more important to be safe that look good.

    BUT I know that's not it. You are looking for a sense of normalcy.

    Everyone stay save!!

    September 1, 2008 at 10:36 am |
  5. Karen

    The coverage by Anderson is incredible as always. Please stay safe. That said, one of the cameras scanned around and there was a dog that was struggling to stand up and kept getting knocked down by the wind and rain. So incredibly sad and hoping that someone was close enough and able to safely help this struggling animal. He was trying so hard to survive. It appears that police and reporters are out cautiously and hoping someone was able to help him. I'm sure there are many more in spite of the animal evacuation plans but this one was heart breaking. Please help him someone down there if it can be safely done. Human life is the top priority as always and grateful so many got to safety... hoping most of the animals are also in safe place unlike this unfortunate soul who was left behind.
    Blessings to all there and those who had to leave. We pray for a minimum of damage and loss of life and that New Orleans can recover from this quickly and with better organized help from ALL levels of government.

    September 1, 2008 at 10:26 am |
  6. Nisha P


    Great report, great job, but don't let the wind blow you away!

    September 1, 2008 at 10:13 am |
  7. Kathryn Watterson

    Could you please let us know what has happened or is happening
    for the men and women and youngsters who are in jails or prisons
    in the storm's path? The stories of the abandonment of prisoners
    and the abuse and neglect by guards during Katrina emerged long after the storm and were horrific. Prisoners are people, too, many still untried, and the majority are locked up for nonviolent crimes that,
    were they people with resources, would land them in drug treatment instead of jail. Please let us know how they are and what is being
    done for their safety.

    September 1, 2008 at 9:56 am |
  8. L J Roy

    It's always nice to watch you (you handsome soul). Personally I would've gotten the crayfish dinner complete with salad and desert.

    What's a little bit of wind and rain....there's always severe weather "somewhere" in the world, you can't really escape it. I have lived through several hurricanes (Bob, Gloria to name but two) and in 46 years have never had to be evacuated. In fact I have official DoD instructions on turning my basement into a nuclear shelter.

    Please come to Massachusetts to cover one of our wonderful and exciting blizzards.

    Give my regards to your mom.

    September 1, 2008 at 8:18 am |
  9. Annie Kate


    Great reporting as usual. Hadn't seen you cover a hurricane for a while but I know that you'll highlight the human side of this storm. I hope the levees hold and I hope you and your crew and all the other CNN reporters will stay safe. After the storm has passed I'd love to know how Herman Gettering and his wife made out – or if they refugeed out if they still have the home Herman rebuilt to come back to. I keep remembering how long and hard he worked to come back (like all who came back) and hope that the work was not in vain.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 1, 2008 at 7:41 am |
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