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Less than 48 hours after Hurricane Katrina came ashore, Anderson landed in the Gulf Coast with a search and rescue team. He later joined Oprah's Angel Network team to report on the rising death toll and destruction in Waveland, Mississippi.

Although months have passed, Anderson says neighborhoods like New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward haven't changed much since floodwaters flattened homes and businesses in August. "There is no life here," Anderson says.

The Lower Ninth Ward was once a thriving, working-class community where families knew each other and most people owned their own homes, says Oliver Thomas, president of the New Orleans City Council. "There is a level of suffering that goes on here every day," Oliver tells Anderson. "I tell myself every day, 'I'm not going to cry when I come here to this place where we grew up...that gave us our life.'"

As Anderson walks through the homes that are left standing, the only reminders of the families that once lived there are personal items strewn across floors and canned goods in the cupboards. Although that is not what Anderson finds most disturbing.

"The thing that I find so haunting—there are these piles of debris, and you don't know what's under there," he says. "There could be a person under that, and someday, a bulldozer is going to come pick all that up and dump them. People are just going to disappear."
FROM: An Oprah Special Report: The Katrina Stories No One is Telling
Published on February 21, 2006


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