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Hurricane Katrina coverage brought images of the Gulf Coast's poorest residents into every home in America. Desperate, impoverished and "invisible" before this disaster struck, many of New Orleans' poor were left behind…stranded at the Superdome.

Oprah visited the Superdome days after Hurricane Katrina hit, but CNN's Anderson Cooper has been reporting from the Gulf Coast since the day before disaster struck—and he says there's still more to say.

"I didn't want to leave," Anderson says. "It felt like the place to be, and I felt privileged to be there among the people who were standing up and surviving—despite being abandoned and despite all that happened to them."

Oprah says Anderson's honest and heartfelt reports from the Gulf Coast inspired her to travel there with the Angel Network team . "You, Anderson, were one of the people that motivated me," Oprah says. "I was watching CNN all the time, and you were saying, 'Nothing is happening here. These people need help. These people need help.'"

What does Anderson think went wrong in New Orleans? "I think [on] the state, the federal [and] the local level there's plenty of blame to go around," Anderson says. "Look, this whole show is about the invisible poor. And I think we're seeing in New Orleans the price of not seeing and not understanding our fellow countrymen and the way they live.

"When the mayor of New Orleans knows that there are 100,000 people in that city who don't have access to a car or can't pay for a gasoline, and yet, he doesn't provide buses or bus drivers to get them out, that is the consequence when you're invisible…you don't get evacuated because no one knows you're there."
FROM: Oprah Special Report: Inside the Lives of America's Poor
Published on October 12, 2005


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