This month marks five years since Hurricane Katrina roared ashore in Louisiana and Mississippi, killing over 1,800 people and displacing many more. Just as residents were rebuilding their cities and towns after the storm, the Gulf oil disaster has crippled the region's fishing and tourism industries. CNN programming throughout dayside and into primetime will commemorate the 5th anniversary of the storm with special coverage across all platforms that will chronicle how communities, people and businesses have changed over the past five years and how far the region has come in their rebuilding efforts.
CNN Heroes: Coming Back from Katrina,hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper kicks off CNN’s coverage and checks in with past CNN Heroes who are still in the area including: 2008’s CNN Hero of the Year Liz McCartney and her progress rebuilding homes with her group The St. Bernard Project; Top Ten CNN Hero Tad Agoglia and his First Response Team of first responders to natural disasters; 2009 Top Ten CNN Hero Derrick Tabb and his Roots of Music program for New Orleans kids; as well as additional new interviews with others in New Orleans who are doing great things to help rebuild the city. The half-hour special premieres Saturday & Sunday August 14th & 15th at 7:30pm ET. CNN International will broadcast the special on Sunday, August 22nd at 7am, 2:30pm and 10pm ET and Tuesday, August 24th at 8:30am and 12:30pmET.
New Orleans Rising, reported by CNN’s In America anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, is an in-depth look at how five years after the hurricane; even a united and highly successful middle-class community like Pontchartrain Park struggles to rebuild. The one-hour documentary, premiering on August 21st at 8pm ET& PT, tells the story of actor and accidental developer Wendell Pierce. Pierce evacuated his elderly parents from their Pontchartrain home before the storm, and it became his mission to lead a charge to return his beloved childhood community to its former glory. While heagreed to lead the effort, Pierce had no experience as a neighborhood developer. But being ‘Pontchartrain to the core,’ he assembles a home-grown team of experts and forms a non-profit community development corporation. CNN documents his battle against bureaucratic red tape, miniscule financing and residents reluctant to return. Terence Blanchard composed and performed the theme music for New Orleans Rising.
CNN International will broadcast New OrleansRising on Sunday, August 22nd at 3pm ET.
In 2005, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported from the darkened, flooded hallways of New Orleans’ Charity Hospital with doctors and nurses who had refused to abandon their patients during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. For Sanjay Gupta M.D. (airs in two parts on Saturday and Sunday, August 28th & 29th at 7:30am ET), Gupta revisits the now-shuttered Charity Hospital with Dr. Ben Deboisblanc, the last doctor standing at Charity following the storm – and learns how the terrible storm has affected his life. Caring for patients during Katrina turned out to be a reprieve of sorts, his 20-year marriage ended shortly before the storm, and living alone and depressed as he battled to rebuild Charity, he discusses with Gupta the challenges many in New Orleans with medical needs have faced five years ago – and now.
CNN.com will feature a special section commemorating the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina at www.cnn.com/katrina. The site will feature select video packages and photos from New Orleans Rising and CNN Heroes: Coming Back from Katrina. Additionally, the section will showcase the rebuilding effort by featuring select photos and videos from CNN iReport, the network's user-generated news community. At http://ireport.cnn.com/ir-topic-stories.jspa?topicId=470264, users can find dozens of CNN images taken in 2005 and early 2006 of the aftermath of the storm. iReporters can share information about the neighborhood or area where each photo was taken in the comments section, as well as download the image. Those iReporters located in the Gulf Coast region are encouraged to print the downloaded image, find its original location, and take a photograph lining the old photo up to the present-day view. iReporters can upload these dramatic, past-meets-present photos at http://ireport.cnn.com/ir-topic-stories.jspa?topicId=474016.
CNN en Español senior correspondent Juan Carlos López will go back to New Orleans to talk to the families that he encountered when the powerful hurricane hit the coast. He’ll find out where the communities are in their rebuilding efforts. Live coverage will begin Thursday, August 26th and continue through Monday, August 30th.