Anderson Cooper is returning to the city that put him on the news map: New Orleans. The CNN anchor and colleague Soledad O'Brien are headed to the Big Easy to cover Tropical Storm Isaac, currently on path to hit the city on the seven-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
"I'm at airport in #Tampa, heading to #NewOrleans for #Isaac. I hope it won't be a bad one," he tweeted on Monday. Cooper was set to cover the Republican National Convention.
We're hoping Isaac doesn't match the level of pure destruction - and subsequent chaos - that Katrina caused on the Gulf Coast. However, it's hard not to compare the two. Cooper managed to blur the line between hard news reporter and human being during the Katrina disaster, giving a voice to those directly affected by the storm.
Let's look back at the most unforgettable moment of his Hurricane Katrina coverage.
Verbal Beatdown of Sen. Mary Landrieu
Millions of New Orleans residents were without food, shelter and medical help on Sept. 1, 2005, when Cooper interviewed Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu. The newsman came unglued when the Senator refused to talk about the destruction in favor of complimenting her political colleagues.
"Does the federal government bear responsibility for what is happening now? Should they apologize for what is happening now?" Cooper asked Landrieu.
"Anderson, there will be plenty of time to discuss all of those issues, about why, and how, and what, and if," she replied before thanking political leaders for their help. "…I don't know if you've heard -- maybe you all have announced it -- but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating."
This is when Cooper lost it.
"I haven't heard that," he replied, "because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated."
Objective? Maybe not, but he echoed the feelings of millions of people during that time.
Cooper Explains his Breakdown
The verbal altercation with Sen. Landrieu was the last straw for Cooper after spending over 100 hours walking around storm-ravaged Louisiana. A few days later he told New York Magazine that he was weary from seeing dead bodies and people without help.
"I'm not sure why these dead bodies affected me so much, but I sort of haven't been able to stop thinking about them," he said before starting to cry.
Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself.
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- Society & Culture
- Politics & Government
- Anderson Cooper
- Mary Landrieu
- Hurricane Katrina