Katrina Victims: Don't Forget Us

Katrina, year later coverage, Tracy Smith, Harry Smith
CBS/The Early Show
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Back in New York after yet another visit to the Gulf Coast, I wish there was a way I could have taken you along.

Every time I see someone who visits for the first time since Katrina, I hear the same response: "My God, the TV pictures don't tell the whole story."

"What do you mean?" I say. Well, the destruction is just so widespread, it goes on for miles.

I spent a lot of time during my visit just talking to people, not interviewing them, per se. Nor cameras or tape recorders. Just talking, with an opener like "how you doing?" Sometimes that question alone would result in tears. Mostly, though, folks would look at me with a weary smile, and say, "how does it look?"

The folks who were well-off had a FEMA trailer in their front yards. And the home behind was in a state somewhere between ruin and rehabilitation. People wondered if their neighbors were ever coming back. They wondered if maybe they themselves were crazy for wanting to stay.

And almost all of them said … don't let America forget us.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith