A Solemn Milestone On The Gulf Coast

A year after Hurricane Katrina ravaged much of the Gulf Coast, there are places where it seems as if time has stood still, and there are also pockets of progress.

There is evidence of continuing anger and despair, but there are signs of an indomitable human spirit, giving many the will to press on.

The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, who covered the storm's aftermath, returned to New Orleans and visited devastated Gulfport, Miss., as well.

Tracy Smith, who was also in the region covering the story a year ago, also went back for the first anniversary. And Dave Price recalled what those first hours were like there after the storm passed.

Together, they offered viewers a compelling package of stories Monday.

  • Harry spoke with New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas, who represents the Ninth Ward, one of the hardest hit areas of all. Among the topics: whether levees being repaired and rebuilt are better than the ones that broke; the current state of emergency preparedness in the city; and residents who still feel abandoned. To watch this segment, click here.
  • Tracy caught up with three families she met in the days after the storm: one that left but couldn't stay away, one that stayed and is starting anew, and one living on borrowed time in a rented house, not ready to settle in Baton Rouge, but not ready to come home either. To see that report, click here. For more on the songwriter featured in the piece, click here.
  • Dave remembers thinking, "I can't believe this happening in America." To get his recollections, click here.
  • It's much harder for people to stay healthy in New Orleans than it was a year ago, because Katrina drove away lots of physicians and mental health providers. Dr. Corey Hebert is a pediatrician with a growing caseload, and a lot of patients with problems, both physical and emotional. Harry chatted with him. To watch the interview, click here. Editor's note: Hebert's name was incorrectly spelled "Herbert" in versions of this interview seen in many portions of the country.
  • Harry took viewers on a very brief tour of a part of the Ninth Ward he says typifies what is there today. He also took them back to Gulfport, Miss., where he found things looking much the same as they did a year ago. Harry chatted with the head of a Baptist congregation whose landmark church was hit hard by Katrina and featured prominently in Smith's coverage a year ago. Parishioners are rebuilding further inland. Smith also looked at conditions in a trailer park with FEMA trailers, and found them wanting in many ways. He also heard complaints about the slow pace of rebuilding. To watch that report, click here.
  • Ever since Katrina hit, New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose has been writing about the victims and the effort to rebuild. This year, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Now, his newspaper columns have been turned into a book, "1 Dead in Attic." Rose spoke to Harry about the book, and the scene in the city. To see that segment, click here.