She was recently named one of "15 People Who Make America Great" by Newsweek magazine for her sensitive coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Now CNN's Soledad O'Brien talks to Gayle about "Children of the Storm," an American Morning special series about Hurricane Katrina's youngest survivors.
"Children of the Storm" chronicles the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of children who were living in the New Orleans area. For the series, Soledad and director Spike Lee distributed video cameras to 11 children from diverse backgrounds and instructed them to document their everyday lives. "We wanted to really represent the diversity that is in New Orleans—geographic diversity, gender diversity, racial diversity, an experiential diversity," Soledad says.
Many of the children lost their homes and life as they knew it, Soledad says. Despite their losses and the challenges they face—including crime, lack of resources and poor living conditions—she says that each one of the children expresses hope for the future. "They're young and they're dealing with a lot, but they are plugging along and they have great, big dreams," she says.
Soledad says the inspiring footage reflects the potential these novice filmmakers have to do great things. "The quality of their work has been really, really great," she says. Soledad says some of the children have proven to be excellent reporters, others have shown off their creative skills, while still others have a talent for conveying emotion and passion on film. In fact, Soledad says the footage is so compelling that an hour-long documentary is in the works. Once completed, she says the children and their families will be flown to New York so they can be the first to see it.