Anderson Cooper and Oprah

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As a CNN reporter, Anderson has covered natural disasters and tragedies around the world, but he says he stuck with the Hurricane Katrina story to speak for those who didn't have a voice.

"I just don't think anybody in America should be invisible," he says. "Two years later, it seems like a lot of the country has moved on and has sort of forgotten what's still going on. For people in New Orleans and all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the storm winds are still blowing."

Anderson says lack of leadership at the local, state and federal level has hindered recovery efforts. "People have not been making tough decisions," he says. "The only thing that has come out of the storm is that people in the city of New Orleans have banded together. And while the government has failed, individuals have stood up."

Many storm survivors are still waiting for money to rebuild because bureaucracies have been slow in delivering the funds that were allocated, he says. "There was never a plan. There wasn't a number you could call to find out, 'Can I move back here? Can I rebuild here?'" he says. "It was left up to individuals to kind of figure out the system on their own, and that was crazy. ... Hope is not a plan."
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