September 1st, 2008
06:34 PM ET

Anarchists at the convention

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/01/art.protest2.jpg caption="Protestors vandalize police cars in the streets outside the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center, Monday."]
Joe Johns
CNN Correspondent | Bio

At Fifth and Jackson streets in St. Paul, anarchists threw newspaper stands and bus benches into the streets, broke windows and otherwise created minor bedlam to accompany the abbreviated first day of the Republican Convention.

As civil unrest goes–and I've witnessed my share–it was. . . well. . . uncivil, but hardly shocking.

The police got worked up, especially when the protestors broke the windows of one of their cruisers.

The officers, dressed in riot gear, and some on motorcycles, chased the troublemakers around blocks of downtown St. Paul, almost to the mild amusement of nonplussed Midwesterners. They're not quite accustomed to this kind of thing but find it curious.

"Lord no!" one man in a baseball cap answered when I asked if they'd ever had this type of excitement around these parts.

When I looked up one of the anarchists was lobbing a bottle of Dasani water at a police car. Call it a Molotov Cocktail, minus the Molotov, and minus the Cocktail.

A woman, who didn't see the water bottle fly, but noticed me writing this, pointed out that "texting and walking is a danergous thing."

Some other random items:

– Noticed I was walking in a small crowd of people following the anarchists.

– Asked one couple: Are you just following them around to see what they do? The wife answered Yes; it was either that or go to the mall.

Labor day I guess.

Filed under: Joe Johns • Republicans
September 1st, 2008
06:14 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: On this Labor Day…

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

As we follow the situation along the Gulf Coast, it’s impossible not to think of the millions of flooding victims in India. I wrote about the devastating situation there last week; entire villages under water, thousands left homeless, and many more may still be stranded, weeks after the waters took everything away. The government now estimates three million people have been affected by the flooding in Bihar state, one of India’s poorest regions.  

This is the perfect opportunity to remind you of CNN’s Impact Your World  initiative. We’ve assembled an online portal of charity and aid organizations working to help people in crisis around the globe. CNN does not endorse any organization, but so many of you have asked us over the years how you can help, that we wanted to give you as many tools as possible to follow your heart and give back to those in need.


Boston is jumping on the hybrid train – or cab, as the case may be. Mayor Thomas Menino says the city’s entire fleet will be hybrids in seven years. The folks who own and drive the cabs aren’t quite as enthusiastic.


Mission Complete in Las Vegas… and a whole lotta Trekkies are not happy about it! Back in my TechTV days, we did a show from the Star Trek Experience in Sin City. What an experience it was! I was never an avid viewer; my knowledge of the show is fairly basic – a “Beam me up, Scotty!” here, a Vulcan salute there. Our time there was very cool and a bit eerie. The actors definitely did their job; the characters seemed a little too real.

Alas, soon they’ll hang up their costumes, close up shop, and hand the wedding duties back over to Elvis. It’s the end of an era, one that leaves even a non-fan (but not a hater!) a bit nostalgic.

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
September 1st, 2008
06:12 PM ET

Water over the levees

CNN's Chris Lawrence reports the waterflow into New Orleans at one levee is not as bad as it looks.
CNN's Chris Lawrence reports the waterflow into New Orleans at one levee is not as bad as it looks.

Chris Lawrence | BIO
CNN Correspondent

What an amazing difference a few hours makes.

When we first drove into the area around New Orleans' Industrial Canal, the wind and driving rain were just knocking us all around. We saw rolling waves constantly overtopping the walls, spilling over the levees, and the Port of New Orleans was almost completely underwater.

It looked bad.

Then we drove around, further south of where the Industrial intersects the Intracoastal, and saw water shooting out of sections of a flood wall. First thought would be, isn't this how floods start?


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Filed under: Chris Lawrence • Hurricane Gustav
September 1st, 2008
05:41 PM ET

Driving through Gustav, past Katrina homes never rebuilt

Susan Candiotti
CNN Correspondent

It's not over, but compared to Hurricane Katrina three years ago, Gustav spared the Mississippi Gulf coast.

This time, thousands followed evacuation orders– more than 47-thousand people– and took cover in shelters. At least 100 homes were flooded to some degree in Hancock county.

It's eerie driving along Highway 90, seeing shells of homes never rebuilt after Katrina... Or a patch of ground holding a sign promising one day Saint Thomas' Church will return.

As for Gustav, one early sign that Gulfport isn't wasting any time cleaning up, bulldozers already showed up to plow the sand off Highway 90. A storm surge up to eight feet flooded the coastal road making eastbound lanes impassable during the height of the storm.

Despite the pounding they get from hurricanes, and the anxiety it brings, Steve and Monica Montagnet don't ever plan to leave their century old home facing the Gulf. "It may be crazy, but we love the view of the water, ' Monica Montagnet told me. "And that's a fact."

Filed under: Hurricane Gustav • Susan Candiotti
September 1st, 2008
05:34 PM ET

Bourbon Street was a barren street

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/01/art.bourbon3.jpg caption="Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans was empty, Monday."]

Gary Tuchman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Bourbon Street was a barren street. The road where it takes you a half hour to walk two blocks through thousands of people during Mardi Gras, had nobody on it when we were shooting video in the worst of Hurricane Gustav.

The street and the entire city as a matter of fact, haven't been this empty since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The effectiveness of the hurricane evacuation was remarkable and commendable. But a tiny percentage of New Orleanians decided not to leave, and one of the people who didn't leave is a guy I want to tell you about.

Russell Gore lives in New Orleans East, a neighborhood that was devastated during Katrina. And nobody was more personally devastated than Russell. He and his wife Cindy did not evacuate during Katrina, and while they were in their house, floodwaters tore into it.

Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Hurricane Gustav
September 1st, 2008
05:07 PM ET

NEXT UP: (after Hanna) Tropical Storm IKE?

David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer

Looks like there is another tropical storm out there… no I’m not talking about Hanna (that’s now a Hurricane). I’m talking about Ike. Currently located in the Mid-Atlantic, this tropical storm’s path appears to be headed toward the Caribbean, towards Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic/Haiti and the Bahamas.

It’s still too soon to know exactly where it will go, or if it will amount to anything, but with two storms spinning out there… one already making landfall, and one more approaching the U.S. coast by the middle of this week… I just wanted to alert you.

From the National Hurricane Center:

September 1st, 2008
04:51 PM ET

Second hurricane approaching US coast

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/weather/09/01/hanna.storm.ap/art.hanna.ap.jpg caption="As the US deals with Hurricane Gustav, left, forecasters warn that Hurricane Hanna could hit the US coast next week."]

Hurricane Hanna formed Monday, bringing fierce winds and battering waves to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Forecasters warned it could hit the U.S. coast by midweek.

"The storm's on top of us right now, and it's blowing really hard," said Miguel Campbell, a mechanic with the Bahamas Electricity Corp. on the island of Mayaguana, the easternmost in the Bahamas, where some 300 people were hunkered down at home or in a government shelter.

In the nearby Turks and Caicos, wind and rain forced the closure of the airport and schools and cleared the streets.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

Hanna is the eighth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and comes on the heels of Gustav, which was battering the U.S. Gulf Coast on Monday.

An eventual strike on the U.S. mainland was in the forecast for Hanna.


Filed under: Hurricane Hanna
September 1st, 2008
04:41 PM ET

Holding down the Fly-Away

Rob Marciano | BIO

One of the ways to broadcast during a hurricane is by using what's called a "fly-away."
It works like a satellite truck except it comes in 9 to 40 cases and has no wheels!

CNN engineers can put one together in about an hour, but getting all the crates up to the hotel roof took another hour. The roof is very exposed so protecting the dish from the winds took another couple of hours.

Even then… the makeshift tarps and tents had to be held down ALL day so the satellite dish wouldn’t get damage or fly away itself! A broadcast engineer’s work is never done!

Endless thanks for keeping CNN on the air!!! It still amazes me how we can beam images through thin air. Oh and by the way… the air was moving pretty fast when Gustav plowed through South East Louisiana.

CNN Engineers Brian Weeks and Ron Williamson. (Kidane Stephanos not pictured)

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Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Hurricane Gustav • Rob Marciano
September 1st, 2008
04:31 PM ET

Return of electricity depends on Gustav

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/01/art.gustav.jpg]
Allan Chernoff
CNN Senior Correspondent | Bio

Gustav is shutting the lights in much of Southern Louisiana. Entergy says 710,000 households and businesses are now without electricity.

“We’re not sending any of our linemen out in this weather it’s not safe for them,” said Phil Allison, spokesman for Entergy. “The plan is, wait for the storm to move through. Once the winds have subsided we’ll send crews out to assess the situation. If the wind doesn’t die down till 9pm that assessment won’t happen till tomorrow.”

Filed under: Hurricane Gustav
September 1st, 2008
03:26 PM ET

McCain’s V.P. pick: What if…

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/01/art.jindal.jpg caption="Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal"]

David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer

As Hurricane Gustav pounds Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal has stood strong, holding press conferences every day since the threat increased in the warm Gulf waters.

He is stationed at the command center in Louisiana’s capitol, Baton Rouge.

Up until a few days ago he was on the short list for a potential promotion to the nation’s capitol as Sen. McCain’s “second in command.”

Widely considered a rising star in his party, speculation on Jindal as McCain’s V.P. choice increased this summer when he was one of a handful of politicians McCain invited to his home in Arizona.

The nation’s youngest governor is a staunch social conservative who could have possibly offset any reservations Republicans had about McCain’s conservative credentials.

Jindal will spend this week protecting his citizens, and the nation will become more familiar with the face behind a name.

Although Jindal is in the hot seat, he is also in the spotlight; it’s a spotlight that was supposed to be focused on another young Republican governor.


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