[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2007/US/08/29/katrina.day/art.superdome.05.gi.jpg caption="The roof of the Louisiana Superdome, pictured on August 30, 2005, shows the scars of Hurricane Katrina."]
Gary Tuchman | BIO
Four years after Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast, much of the aftermath is still shrouded in mystery. And that is what brought me to New Orleans this week for a story we are bringing you tonight.
In the days after the storm, doctors tell us they saw an inordinately large number of patients who were brought in to hospitals with gunshot wounds. Many of them were dead or ended up dying.
Because of the chaos in the storm’s aftermath, many autopsy records are incomplete or were never done. So officially, it’s not at all clear what was going on.
Well, one man who was shot twice and lived to tell about it has a theory.
An African-American man named Donnel Herrington says he was attacked by three white men who yelled racial epithets at him, with one of them shooting him in the neck and back. Herrington says the gunmen “were hunting black men.”
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/08/26/eggers.katrina.zeitoun/art.dave.eggers.jpg caption="Dave Eggers writes that Abdulrahman Zeitoun dreamed of fishing on the Syrian coast as Katrina approached."]
Special to CNN
On moonless nights the men and boys of Jableh, a dusty fishing town on the coast of Syria, would gather their lanterns and set out in their quietest boats. Five or six small craft, two or three fishermen in each. A mile out, they would arrange the boats in a circle on the black sea, drop their nets, and, holding their lanterns over the water, they would approximate the moon.
The fish, sardines, would begin gathering soon after, a slow mass of silver rising from below. The fish were attracted to plankton, and the plankton were attracted to the light. They would begin to circle, a chain linked loosely, and over the next hour their numbers would grow. The black gaps between silver links would close until the fishermen could see, below, a solid mass of silver spinning.
Abdulrahman Zeitoun was only thirteen when he began fishing for sardines this way, a method called lampara, borrowed from the Italians. He had waited years to join the men and teenagers on the night boats, and he'd spent those years asking questions. Why only on moonless nights? Because, his brother Ahmad said, on moon-filled nights the plankton would be visible everywhere, spread out all over the sea, and the sardines could see and eat the glowing organisms with ease. But without a moon the men could make their own, and could bring the sardines to the surface in stunning concentrations. You have to see it, Ahmad told his little brother. You've never seen anything like this.
President & CEO, Global Green USA
In four years of working closely with the residents of New Orleans, I have seen one trait remain paramount among its citizens —their deep love for their city.
To understand New Orleans is to appreciate its beauty and uniqueness, music, food, art, warts and all. Although Hurricane Katrina may have damaged much of the physical city, the strength and love of New Orleans citizens has never wavered, and their enthusiasm to rebuild their city better and more sustainably is inspiring.
In the days following August 29, 2005, I, like millions of others, watched our federal government’s pathetic, tragically inadequate, response to the drowning of a major American city play out on CNN. After pondering what more I could do besides send a donation, I began to feel galvanized, by a force that at times seemed to originate outside myself – to help rebuild New Orleans green. There were those who questioned whether we should rebuild at all, but in my heart I not only knew that rebuilding would occur but that my organization would be there to help.
One week after the storm, I had a vision of how to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf region with three goals – help rebuild 10,000 homes to be green, rebuild schools to be sustainable, and adopt a neighborhood. New Orleans could not only be resurrected, but it could provide a blueprint for creating a truly green 21st-century urban community – one that is sustainable, highly energy-efficient, and also serves its most underprivileged citizens. After all of the hardship and heartache, this seemed to be the silver lining that the storm presented.
Program Note: Four years after Katrina, what is New Orleans like now? Some residents continue to face challenges as the Big Easy keeps trying to rebuild. Take a look at In Depth: After the Storm. And to learn about ways you can make a difference, visit Impact Your World.
Impact Your World
Four years after Katrina, what is New Orleans like now? Some residents continue to face challenges as the Big Easy keeps trying to rebuild.
For those of you looking to contribute to the ongoing rebuilding effort in New Orleans, go here to find out how. CNN's Impact Your World has put together a list of resources that will help you get involved.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/24/art.nola.fourth.anniv.education.jpg caption="Eighth grade students at Carver School, a public school in New Orleans."]
Katrina washed away so much in New Orleans. Neighborhoods, homes, and lives.
It also washed away a horribly under-performing public education system, but is now giving the city a rare opportunity: the chance to rebuild public schools from the ground up.
Spend some time with 14-year-old Donnell Bailey and it is possible to see signs of improvement from what was once a broken school system.
By his own admission, Donnell was a lazy student. He failed the fourth grade and didn’t focus at all on his future.
Now, after four years of reform, he’s done so well in public school he just earned a scholarship to a $17,000-a-year private school.
He credits the teachers who came to the city in the aftermath of Katrina.
“The expectations were higher,” Bailey said. “My teachers expected me to live up to those expectations. So, the drive that my teachers gave me, it really pushed me up to that level.”
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the project and the situation in the region as Anderson reports live from New Orleans on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.r2r.nola.bernards.jpg caption="The St. Bernard Project is a nonprofit organization in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, that helps people return to their homes that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.r2r.nola.house.jpg caption="One house that is being rebuilt by the St. Bernard Project."]
AC360° Coordinating Editorial Producer
Is the economy hurting volunteerism? Not in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. I spent yesterday afternoon touring the business offices of the St. Bernard Project and was amazed at how much co-founders Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg have going on. Right now, they have 35 houses in some phase of rebuilding. By Wednesday, they will have completed their 200th home in this parish that was so devastated by Katrina.
When I talked to them about donations to the organization, they said while they can always use more, they haven’t seen any significant drop off in donations so far, and that is helping more and more families move back to the homes they love.