We are back in New Orleans tonight, and I think it's safe to say this visit is far more emotional than we had counted on. I just met Albert Bryan, having last seen him in section 121 of the Superdome on the day of Katrina. Albert came here after being unable to evacuate. He was responsible for eight family members, and they were finally bused out of here on Friday of Katrina week, after spending a hellish week in this structure. They were all bused to different cities in Texas. He has a Masters in social work and is still unemployed. I just took him on a very emotional walk back to that section, and on the way we saw a heroin needle in the stairwell, human waste and the remnants of military rations. In many ways, it's as if Katrina happened yesterday. Albert and I were both happy to find that the smell is gone from here (I'm typing this inside an RV which is our temporary workspace in the dome. Our anchor location will be from where the 50-yard line once was. The artificial turf has been torn up and bare cement remains), but you're constantly aware that people died here.
Tonight on the broadcast we'll also air a portion of my interview today with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, and with the manager of the Superdome. This city is not yet back. There is still much visible damage, and acute shortages of both food and workers. From the air, all that is visible are the "FEMA blue" tarps on rooftops as far as the eye can see.
Our lead story has changed a few times this afternoon... right now we have the President penciled in as our lead, with plenty of news from here on the recovery.
I will try to file after the broadcast tonight, when we see more of the city. It will be strange to stay in a hotel... our first in six visits. We've put a lot of work into tonight's broadcast. We hope you can join us.