After Katrina had vented her wrath, Anderson showed us images of a plethora of palm trees peaking out from above the water line, of residents stranded on their rooftops holding signs crying for help, of rowboats making their way through water at times 20 feet deep where roads once stood.
Stranded residents courtesy www.ynetnews.com.
Anderson showed us the bridges snapped in two, the tossed aside vehicles, the houses crushed like tinderboxes, the trees twisted like pretzels. He showed us debris strewn all over the city, debris that would pile 10 miles high if placed in a football field.
The anchorman held his head in his hands as he talked about all of the 1836 dead bodies and the 705 still missing. And he brought us images of the 26,000 refugees who filled the Louisiana Superdome. He shook his head when a certain Senator said he could do nothing to help. While in many ways, it would be the start of celebrity status for Anderson Cooper, it would be the end of a way of life for many New Orleans residents who moved into FEMA trailers. The CNN newsman would remain in the city for over a month, covering a story that would not go away. Slowly, the waters receded and the clean up began.
Today, 90% of the refugees have returned to the city. However, in the low-income Ninth Ward, only 30% have returned. While Anderson Cooper has gone on to cover other stories, the haunting images of Hurricane Katrina will never be forgotten.