September 2nd, 2008
08:00 AM ET

Exclusive interview: Sen. Obama on AC360°

Take a look at this exclusive AC360° interview.
Sen. Barack Obama talks to Anderson Cooper about the response to Gustav and the issue of experience.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Hurricane Gustav • Hurricanes • Raw Politics
September 1st, 2008
10:02 PM ET

Elderly resident wants out of NOLA

Watch the footage of large debris slamming into the glass roof of the Sheraton hotel in Baton Rouge.
Watch the footage of large debris slamming into the glass roof of the Sheraton hotel in Baton Rouge.

Ashley Fantz

Eighty-six year old Maxine Richardson sat in the lobby of a Baton Rouge Sheraton and watched Gustav whip its fury on bent street signs.

A large piece of metal from a neighboring building flew off and crashed into the Sheraton's glass roof, startling and entertaining evacuees. The glass cracked but didn't break. People applauded.

Richardson was startled at first, but then rolled her eyes. She isn't going to put up with running from hurricanes any longer.

Though there are three generations of family who live with her in New Orleans, she is over the place.

"People were like, 'Oh, aren't you excited to be back home?'" She said, recalling how she moved back in to her home that was destroyed by Katrina.

"I was not happy. I didn't like that place anymore. It made me uncomfortable.

"I want to leave New Orleans and if I go back this time to the same thing Katrina left me, I will find another place to live. Lord Jesus, I hope you hear me because I mean it!"

Post by:
Filed under: Hurricane Gustav • New Orleans
September 1st, 2008
09:56 PM ET

Mismanaging Mississippi exposes us to more violent disasters

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/02/katrina.320x640b.jpg caption="Northern Chandeleur Islands, 60 miles east of New Orleans: before and after Hurricane Katrina. Storm surge and large waves from Hurricane Katrina submerged the islands, stripped sand from the beaches, and eroded large sections of the marsh. Today, few recognizable landforms are left on the Chandeleur Island chain" width=292 height=640]

Ivor van Heerden
Ph.D., Author "The Storm – What Went Wrong and Why during Hurricane Katrina 
the Inside Story from One Louisiana Scientist"

The Mississippi River, for the 7,000 years before Europeans settled in North America, built most of what is now coastal Louisiana.

The Mississippi river sediment load was deposited at the coast as the river went from a deep confined channel to the shallow continental shelf building over time a series of deltas. Approximately every 1,000 years it would switch it course because a shorter course existed to the Gulf of Mexico, the active delta having expanded many miles over its lifespan.

This switching of the loci of deposition was the basic geological framework. Every year the river flooded, every year it spread its life giving sediment and nutrient goodness over 100’s of square miles, maintaining the existing wetlands such that while they did subside, sediment additions and accumulation of organic matter from roots and leaf litter, maintained the wetland surface. In fresh water areas, cypress swamps abounded, as impenetrable walls to hurricane storm surges.

Based on old Indian mounds these surges never seem to have exceeded 6-8 feet.

However, along comes man; he must tame this Mississippi river ‘beast’; put it in strait jackets called navigation or flood control levees. By 1930 we had cut off the wetland’s ‘blood’ supply, no more flooding, no more wetland maintenance and growth.

Nature did try to flex its muscle; the Mississippi river tried one of its 1000 year switches, to the Atchafalaya River, a course to the Gulf some 100 miles shorter. Again, man stepped in and locked in the distribution of Mississippi flow down the Atchafalaya to about 30%. So instead of the Atchafalaya having the potential to build a new parish (county) it barely manages to maintain the two deltas at its seaward end.

The nation, however, has and continues to benefit enormously from the numerous ports that line the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the sea.

Now, to add insult to injury, man ‘cut up’ these starving wetlands with thousands and thousands of miles of canals and channels in support of mining very easily accessible and rich oil and gas fields.

Again the nation benefited, from very cheap domestic energy. Unfortunately, in the process the wetlands were devastated such that since the 1930’s more than a million acres have been lost, and storm surges are now Louisiana’s worst enemy.


Filed under: Hurricane Gustav • Hurricane Katrina • Weather
September 1st, 2008
09:53 PM ET

Last shot of a long day...

Finally getting a horizontal break after 12 hr day... Can AC360° viewers guess which CNN correspondent is wearing the soggy sneakers?

(scroll down for answer)

Filed under: Hurricane Gustav
September 1st, 2008
09:32 PM ET

2,700 Gustav evacuees sheltered without plumbing

Christine Romans
CNN Correspondent

Officials at the LSU AG Center shelter in Alexandria, LA just told the 2700 evacuees that the plumbing is not functioning. No showers or toilet flushing. Initial reaction is calm among evacuees, many of whom are bunking down for the night. Details from Dr. John Barnett, head of the facilities at this building:

  1. Building is now on generator power 
  2. Generator power is not reaching the plumbing system
  3. No on site to fix it 
  4. Porta Johns not practical now in high winds, maybe in a few hours 
  5. another option to bus people to nearby college

Heavy winds and rain at the moment. Not much to do about it right now.

No panic. Just no plumbing and 2700 evacuees, and 600 volunteers and EMTs.

Filed under: Christine Romans • Hurricane Gustav
September 1st, 2008
08:11 PM ET

Doctors and nurses pass Gustav's test

Three years ago this New Orleans nurse cared for patients during Katrina. She decided to volunteer again for Gustav
Three years ago this New Orleans nurse cared for patients during Katrina. She decided to volunteer again for Gustav

Matt Sloane
CNN Producer

It has been a long day here at Tulane Medical Center, but luckily, boredom, rather than chaos, is the reason.

I arrived at the parking deck this morning at 5 AM, and everything was relatively calm. By six o'clock, it was starting to get a little windy and rainy. I was gearing up to weather a monster category 3 storm embedded in the hospital.

But the storm came, and went. The biggest issues we've had here all day - a minor water leak on the upper floors, no Starbucks coffee in the cafeteria and one downed tree.

But what if the storm had materialized into a monster? Would Tulane Medical Center have been ready?

Filed under: Hurricane Gustav
September 1st, 2008
06:59 PM ET

Gustav is keeping us guessing...

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/01/art.nola.randikaye.jpg caption="The view from Randi Kaye's windshield as she drives through Gustav to reach Baton Rouge."]

Randi Kaye
AC360° Correspondent | BIO

We are on our way to Baton Rouge to meet some of the folks who evacuated from New Orleans. I’m with my producer, Chuck Hadad.

We flew into Jackson, Mississippi because the Baton Rouge airport was closed. At first, it was just raining… now it’s storming and the wind is rocking our car back and forth pretty fiercely.

At first we thought the drive would be a breeze, but now we’re seeing big downed trees in the road and it’s nearly impossible to see through the rain out the front windshield. We are following our crew which is in the car ahead of us and we can barely see them. At this point, we are still 70 miles away... Not good!


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Filed under: Hurricane Gustav • Randi Kaye
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?


Post by:
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
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