updated 9/2/2005 10:30:48 AM ET 2005-09-02T14:30:48

Guest: Janet Domasiewicz, Jeff Carr, Guy Burns, Joy Crucia, Mike Durand,

Charlie Melancon, Al Sharpton, Judith Embry, Chris Duhon

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  We're going to Slidell, Louisiana, now, with Tucker Carlson.  Tucker, bring us up to date with the devastation one state over. 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Hey.  Thanks, Joe.  Every word you just said is true by the way.  We're in Slidell, Louisiana, which tonight feels like the end of the earth, right across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans.

This city of 30,000 got hit one of the hardest of any city in the state of Louisiana, just creamed directly by the hurricane, winds of up to 140 miles an hour, 15-foot wall of water, sweeping across part of this town, just erasing, erasing, demolishing parts of it.  Nothing left at all. 

We're joining you tonight by the side of the road, surrounded by parts of houses.  You see a rat behind me.  It really is almost like a movie set. 

And yet in the middle of it, there's one of very, very few houses standing in which people are living.  Five people were there the other night, the night of the hurricane.  They decided to stay.  They rode it out.  They're still here.  Amazingly, they survived.  We met them.  I want to show you now a little tour of their house we took today, and then we'll meet them.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 

CARLSON:  The ocean just came right through here?

JANET DOMASIEWICZ, HURRICANE SURVIVOR:  It came from that direction actually, from actually where the canal is over there. 

CARLSON:  And that's why it eliminated—across the street there used to be buildings.  What was over there?

DOMASIEWICZ:  There were two houses directly across, and then a bar next to that, and then another bar next to that. 

CARLSON:  And there's literally nothing just pilings, that's it. 

DOMASIEWICZ:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  What is that?

DOMASIEWICZ:  That's the refrigerator that was over here in the kitchen. 

CARLSON:  It ripped the door right off the refrigerator.  Look at that.  Boy!

The top of these steps, that's probably six feet, five feet, anyway, the parking lot. 

DOMASIEWICZ:  And within seven minutes, it was probably two feet deep in the apartments.  My couch was against this wall.  Shifted that over here.  That chair was in that corner.  Moved that to the bedroom.  So...

CARLSON:  It ate the paint right of the walls.  Sea water.  It separated the paint right from the walls.  Just pulled the paint right off.  Right off the dry wall. 

DOMASIEWICZ:  Actually a guy came over from his apartment, said, “I think you're about to get water,” and when we opened the door,” the water just rushed in. 

CARLSON:  What happened?  Your door was ripped off, too?

DOMASIEWICZ:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

DOMASIEWICZ:  My door is right here. 

CARLSON:  So this was your escape raft?

DOMASIEWICZ:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  This shipping container.  And this just floated up here?

DOMASIEWICZ:  Yes, from across the street. 

CARLSON:  And your plan was to jump on top of this. 

DOMASIEWICZ:  Yes, because it will float.  It's contained, so it will float.  If we had to, that's where we would have ended up. 

CARLSON:  On top of it. 

DOMASIEWICZ:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Riding the surf in a hurricane. 

DOMASIEWICZ:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  I'm glad it didn't come to that. 

DOMASIEWICZ:  Me too. 

CARLSON:  All this is going on.  Your building is disintegrating.  The restaurants across the street, literally evaporate into 2 by 4's.  Where are you when this is happening?

DOMASIEWICZ:  Right inside.  Watching out the window.  We watched it. 

We didn't really want to miss it.  We had to see what was coming. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  I want to introduce you to the people who live in that wrecked—almost wrecked building across the street.  It's hot here.  There's no air conditioning, of course, because there's no electricity.  Muggy, bugs, and yet these are people who seem, despite everything, despite having lost everything, cheery. 

Here they are, Janet Domasiewicz, thank you.  Joy Crucia, Guy Burns, Jeff Carr, and Mike Durand, all living across the street.  Jeff, why did you stay?

JEFF CARR, HURRICANE SURVIVOR:  Well, we really didn't have anywhere to go, and the last storm, everything was jammed up on the interstates.  People were caught in the storm on the interstates, and we thought that we would—weren't going to get hit so bad, and we would ride it out. 

And the water levels never really got very high here before, so never crept into the apartments or anything.  So we talked to the neighbors, and they decided they were going to stay, and we decided we were going to stay, so we stayed. 

CARLSON:  It's amazing.  I wish we had two hours to do a documentary on the life you've been living for the last three days.  You've created this kind of happy community with scavenged materials across the street, even made us a great pasta dinner tonight, Guy. 

GUY BURNS, HURRICANE SURVIVOR:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  You all seem in a good mood.  Why is that?

BURNS:  We're trying to make the best of a bad situation.  That's all we can do.  We made a bad decision by staying.  Of course, we didn't have a choice, because we couldn't get fuel.  And we have to make the best of it, and pick up the pieces.  And I think that's what we're doing.  And we're just trying to make the bet of it and move—so we can all move on. 

CARLSON:  There are a lot of different pieces to pick up.  You've lost everything, I don't need to remind you.  Janet, what are you going to do next?

DOMASIEWICZ:  Regroup.  Try and pick up our lives and go on, decide where we're going to go, for one thing, what we're going to do from here.  That's all we can do. 

CARLSON:  Joy, do you want to stay here after all of this?

JOY CRUCIA, HURRICANE SURVIVOR:  I'd rather come back once everything

is back intact.  It might be a long while, but I'll probably go live with

my mom in Lake Charles, being that I'm four and a half months pregnant.  So

I don't think I can stay near my mom 

CARLSON:  Mike, you learn anything from this?

MICHAEL DURAND, Yes.  A hurricane is really—I have never seen a hurricane like this in my life, you know.  It's just - this is very catastrophic.  It's a huge hurricane. 

CARLSON:  Unbelievable. 

Pretty heavy duty. 

Jeff, quickly, the obvious question, I am wondering all day why haven't you all fallen apart? Why have you been able to keep your spirits up and everything so squared away?

DURAND:  Each one of us have special talents, all in different areas, I guess, and we're able to compensate for each other's weaknesses and play on each other's strengths.  And we all group together like a family. 

And where one falls short, the other one picks up, so we manage to get along better than most, and we're surviving.  Death wasn't an option.  And we're waiting until everything gets set up in the shelters and stuff before we make a move, because we actually are doing better than most people in the shelters right now, apparently. 

CARLSON:  I think you certainly are.  And I should point out, that this group has had no government help of any kind.  Nobody has come by with even bottled water, much less food, offers of medical assistance or offers of shelter, for that matter.  And yet they've persevered and done well.

But it does raise the larger question, where is the government in certain parts of Louisiana tonight?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We all know this is an agonizing time for the people of the Gulf Coast.  I ask their continued patience as recovery operations unfold. 

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  For those who wonder why it is difficult to get these supplies and these medical teams into place, the answer is they are battling an ongoing dynamic problem with the water. 

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN:  This is not a time to get into any finger pointing or politics. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, that may be right.  It may not be time for finger pointing or politics, and yet the question arises, why wasn't government at all levels more prepared?  It obviously wasn't. 

A day spent driving around Louisiana makes that point perfectly clear.  We're joined by Congressman Charlie Melancon of Louisiana.  Congressman, are you there?

REP. CHARLIE MELANCON, LOUISIANA:  Yes, sir.  I'm here.  Can you hear me?

CARLSON:  Thanks for joining us tonight.  Yes, I can hear you perfectly. 

MELANCON:  Good to see you.

CARLSON:  Thanks.  Are you satisfied with your state's response to Hurricane Katrina?

MELANCON:  Well, you know, the biggest problem we have got right now, and I'm not going to hold anybody to blame.  We're just trying to work through the kinks. 

But our problems have a lot to do with communications.  And that's the same problem that's gone over in Mississippi.  The towers are all down.  The cell phones don't work.  There's one channel for law enforcement and first responders to all try and use.  Enforcement agencies, and state police and government agencies can't talk to each other on their radios, and it's been a dilemma.

And we finally got some satellite radios, telephones in today.  We'll have those distributed tomorrow morning.  I went down to St. Bernard today and picked up a list from the people that are down there.  They're doing a great job.  Everybody up here is working hard. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

MELANCON:  And, you know, we're just doing the best we can. 

CARLSON:  And there's no doubt about that, Congressman.  Nobody doubts that everybody here in Louisiana in law enforcement is doing the best he or she can.

But just to give you one obvious example, and of course, that's the convention center in New Orleans.  There was a wire story out today saying that people were dying in that convention center.  It's right next to the river.  Why haven't people been evacuated—everybody been evacuated from the convention center?  Why are people dying there?

MELANCON:  You know, and a couple of points.  One, first of all, this whole scenario is a few bad people that are out there causing problems for people in Orleans.  It's not happening in all the outlying parishes, and it's not the majority of people. 

There are people dying in these facilities because of people shooting at them, because we can't physically get the boats and the helicopters and the other things to them.  You know, they are under 10, 12 feet, some instances, 20 feet of water.

So the rescue for these people is not like in Biloxi or Slidell, where you can drive to them.  All you have to do is clear the roads, and you can get to them. 

There's a lot of people coming in there.  There's the heat frustration.  They have been out, exposed on the roofs of buildings, trying to get the food into them, so they are not as well nourished and don't have as much water as they should, so it's just hard on them.  Particularly the older people.  They're dying.  And that is our urgency, to getting there, and for instance, in St. Bernard today, these guys, to get the food and water to them.  And so the problem is getting it there. 

CARLSON:  But Congressman—beg your pardon, Congressman, obviously you're right, that a lot of these problems with centered in Orleans Parish in New Orleans, but just today, we talked to a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, an Army pilot, who said that flying over New Orleans for the past few days he thought was more dangerous than being in Iraq, where he spent the last year. 

Flights were delayed, I think halted for a while because of gunfire.  Don't you think somebody in law enforcement should have gotten a handle on the lawlessness in New Orleans a little earlier?

MELANCON:  Well, you know, the lawlessness is really just evolved in the last day.  I mean, this thing is four days.  Yesterday is when the gunfire started.  It's like finding 30 (ph) people in Iraq.  You've got to go find them.  They'll shoot from long distances. 

But here's the thing.  You've got one city that is experiencing a few people that, for whatever reason, are shooting at these people, and creating problems. 

My position has been to tell those—is to tell the agencies, if they're having problems in New Orleans, send the law enforcement people in there.  Let's go get them out. 

In the meantime, send those helicopters and send those trucks and send those boats down to Plaquemines Parish and over Slidell, and St. Tammany Parish and up in St. Charles Parish.  When we finish that, then we'll put them back in there. 

But they have consumed with trying to ferret these people out, and seek them out. 

Now I had a conversation with state police about an hour ago, and they told me that they've resolved a whole lot of that today.  I know there was a very, very big effort, so hopefully they've gotten most of that under control. 

CARLSON:  I hope so.  We are headed into New Orleans tomorrow.  And we'll tell you.  Congressman, thanks for joining us tonight. 

MELANCON:  When you come in tomorrow, Saturday, I'll probably have gone down to Plaquemines Parish, try to get in there and make sure they've got the things that they need. 

It's difficult.  You know, the bus drivers don't want to go in because these people are shooting at then.  The helicopter pilots have been shot at.  You know, the FEMA drivers with the food don't want to go in there.  You know, so finally, you know, they thought the military was going to be in there to handle this.  The military didn't come.

CARLSON:  It sounds like a situation that demands a military response right away. 

MELANCON:  Well, it should.  But we don't have the military.  We weren't sending them.  We were just told that we're getting some military tonight, a couple of hundred people. 

That's nothing from what we asked.  We asked for 40,000 to help us police and do other things.  We haven't gotten any response to that to speak of. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Congressman, I hope you do get a response, because you need it badly down here.  Thanks a lot for joining us tonight.  I appreciate it. 

MELANCON:  ... down here.  Bye. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.  Next up, we'll have more on the crisis in New Orleans in the city itself. 

We'll also be joined by the Reverend Al Sharpton, who's at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, where a lot of the survivors of Hurricane Katrina have been taken from New Orleans and from all over the state of Louisiana. 

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  We are live from Slidell, Louisiana, at the very heart of the Hurricane Katrina damage.  When we come back, we will be joined by the Reverend Al Sharpton, who says he is leading a mission of mercy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Where we were at, there was no help.  No rescue teams, no nothing.  They were all helping like uptown, upscale, downtown, the big houses.  Us in apartment complexes and low-income houses, there was nobody running, no rescue whatsoever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was a survivor we spoke to today in the courtyard at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.  Welcome back. 

We're joined now by the Reverend Al Sharpton who is, in fact, in Miami, not at the Astrodome as we said a moment ago.  But he'll be there tomorrow.  He says he's coming on a mission of mercy. 

Reverend Al Sharpton, thanks a lot for joining us.  What do you mean by mission of mercy?  What do you hope to accomplish?  What do you hope to accomplish by going to the Astrodome?

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK:  We are meeting with ministers from around the country that are coming in with us on Saturday and Sunday to do several things. 

One, to minister to the evacuees and refugees, as they are brought to the Astrodome. 

And secondly, to—a clothing drive that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is spear heading.  These people will get to the Astrodome with literally no clothes, food, no water. 

The other thing is, on churches and churches on Sunday, I'll be touring in the Houston area to appeal to people to volunteer to have some of them live with them. 

Many of them that will be coming from Louisiana will not qualify to stay in the Astrodome.  They will still need places to live.  There's no better way to show you're a real believer in God, a believer in Christ, whatever your religious persuasion, than to open your doors now to people that need shelter because of this disaster. 

CARLSON:  Well, good for you, for doing that.  I hope you will also—and I ask you now, will you, appeal to those committing acts of violence in New Orleans tonight to stop, because they're the ones keeping the elderly, the infirm, the very young children from getting the aid they need, and in some cases, they're dying as a result, because of the lawlessness there. 

SHARPTON:  Absolutely.  I think that anyone sane would appeal to that. 

But at the same time, Tucker, I think that we've really got to look at the fact that the government here was absolutely negligent in its response, starting with the president, who came a day late and a dollar short, and the fact that we saw an institutional neglect of New Orleans.  We have rebuilt Iraq and we have not dealt with the infrastructure problems in New Orleans. 

So I think that the kids stealing TV's certainly ought to be chastised, but I think when you look at the fact that people are dying, some people are going to those stores so they can literally get water and food. 

CARLSON:  Whoa, whoa, whoa. 

SHARPTON:  That's not looting.

CARLSON:  Wait a second, Reverend Sharpton, no one is suggesting that people who are starving or dying of thirst shouldn't help themselves—there's an awfully large rat right there—shouldn't help themselves to food and water.  But that's not what's going on. 

People are being raped.  People are being murdered.  People are being shot.  Police officers being shot.  Helicopters are being shot at.  And that's one of the reasons people who need it aren't getting the aid tonight.  There's no excusing that behavior. 

SHARPTON:  And all—and all of that must be condemned, and all of that must be stopped.  The question is why law enforcement didn't get its hands around that in the beginning, and how we got into this condition, and how we are going to get out of it? 

No one can excuse behavior of rape and behavior of just outright larceny.  But what I'm also saying is that this situation was created by an institutional neglect, and we cannot ignore that either. 

CARLSON:  Right.  I just—I think our viewers should know, as ailing as New Orleans is, it's not the only place in the state like this.  There are apparently entire parishes south of here that have received no aid at all. 

So for all the attention New Orleans is getting, and rightly so, there are places, including the place where I'm standing right now, Slidell Louisiana, that has really gotten any attention at all and certainly hasn't gotten any aid, at all. 

SHARPTON:  And I think that that's atrocious.  I mean, there's no way in this modern age, as strong and wealthy as this nation is, that any of us would have guessed a week ago that the response would be like this, and we'd be so ill-prepared. 

The good news is that a lot of people are coming forward, and I hope more will come forward, but I think that we also have to look at this administration and say, “What is going on here.” 

Not only the administration, the telecommunication companies, the cell phone companies.  I mean, all of the state of security that we all assumed was there is not there.  And I think that this is a tremendous wake-up call. 

Unfortunately, it's at the expense of hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana and Mississippi, and we need to deal with their needs first. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Reverend Al Sharpton, I think we'll probably see you down here.  I know you'll come as a peace-maker, and be welcome as you do that.  Thanks a lot for joining us tonight. 

SHARPTON:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, there was just gut wrenching, gut wrenching, horrifying despair this afternoon at the New Orleans Convention Center.  NBC News was there and took some really disturbing images that we'll show you when we come back.  We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I watched the water come up three foot in the house and all the furniture and everything going through the hallway. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I didn't think the storm was going to be as bad as Camille, because I was in Camille, and this storm is the worst I have ever seen. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Resources. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Get her water. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Over here, things are pretty good. 

(UNINTELLIGIBLE)

BUSH:  Recovery is going to be a long process.  It's going to take a lot of hard work and patience and resolve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

We just got here late last night to the battered Gulf Coast.  David

Shuster has been here, I think, for six days now, covering the aftermath of

·         the storm, and then the aftermath, from Biloxi, Mississippi—David. 

(CROSSTALK)

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Tucker—go ahead. 

I can hear you.  Go ahead, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Yes, tell us what's going on in Biloxi. 

SHUSTER:  Well, what's going on in Biloxi, Tucker, first of all, the news is pretty grim as far as the casualty—casualty count is concerned.  The official number from Mississippi stands at 126, but we've had a police officer, a registered nurse, on one of the recovery teams and others all say that the figure is going to be 10 times that much, largely in this particular area of Biloxi, in other words, more than a thousand deaths when all is said and done. 

Many of the bodies they expect never to recover, because there's so much debris, and by the time they might be able to get to them, there won't be anything really left.  So that's pretty grim. 

There is good news.  And that is you felt the sort of passion that Americans have out there for trying to do something to help these people, and there were some trucks that arrived today. 

Unfortunately, the trucks were not completely full.  In fact, one of them, one of the very first ones that showed up—it had driven in all the way from Miami—the truck driver opened the back, and there was only about a third of the truck that was filled.  They had water, which was great, and people liked it, but we're also looking thinking, wait a second, what else?  I mean, you could have used the rest of the truck to bring in food. 

And in fact, a lot of the people at this official distribution center, as they were calling it, were saying, “Well, thanks for the water.  But we're now four days without food, and we're going to starve if there's not food brought in.”  And it's that problem all along the Gulf Coast. 

CARLSON:  I'm not surprised.  I'm not surprising at all.  Today, we saw something very much like that this morning, as we were trying to get a sense of who's in charge and who to talk to, about how to get permission to go to certain places, mostly into New Orleans. 

And we came across a member of the SWAT team from Atlanta, who had come up here on his own dime, on his vacation time, and bringing with him nine air boats, those Everglade type boats with the fan at the back, which are very much in demand here.  Of course, New Orleans surrounded by water.  They need boats.  There's a boat shortage. 

So he shows up, says, “I've got these nine boats.  I brought my own gasoline.  I brought my own food.  I brought my own water.  I want to help.”  Bottom line, no one could tell him what—how to help.  Those boats, as far as I know, at this moment, are still locked in a National Guard parking lot in Baton Rouge, unused.

And it really gives you the sense, it's like the fog of war.  There's real chaos here.  It's like a war, a mobilization for a war.  And you feel like a lot is slipping through the cracks as a result.  Do you see that?

SHUSTER:  Yes, absolutely.  And one of the great dangers that they have, Tucker, is given the sort of—the bizarre sort of patchwork method of trying to bring these resources in, at a certain point, a number of people have suggested the American people from surrounding areas are just going to take it upon themselves to bring in the food, to bring in the supplies, the medical supplies. 

The problem that causes is there are a limited number of roads to get into Biloxi, for example.  They cleared the roads with the express purpose of allowing these trucks in. 

Well, if the trucks aren't bringing in what people need, and people at home are discovering that wait a second, people are still starving, what happens if the roads then become clogged with Americans who want to do the right thing and want to be a good Samaritan and bring people supplies so that they can live, but then that blocks what could be a more organized response to get larger supplies in here?  I mean, it's just a huge problem. 

CARLSON:  That's right, and yet in some places, those supplies in an organized way are not getting in.  All day, we ran into people who had, under their own steam, their volition, at their own urging came to volunteer their services.  Usually with boats, brave, good Americans. 

David Shuster from Biloxi, thanks a lot for joining us.  Hope to see you tomorrow. 

SHUSTER:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  The big story today, needless to say, has been the disorder in New Orleans: the looting, the chaos, the murder.  Some cases, the rapes.  Well, we have video taken by an NBC cameraman that shows some of the desperation, the gut-wrenching despair in that city today.  We'll show it to you when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LT. TIM CLEIGHTON:  In Iraq we had a set mission, go pick this guy up and bring him here.  Here it's get as many people out as you can and try to save as many lives as we can.

CARLSON:  Which is more stressful?

CLEIGHTON:  This.

CARLSON:  Why?

CLEIGHTON:  Dealing with our own people.  This is our home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  That was Lieutenant Tim Cleighton just back from Iraq in February, now flying missions in a Black Hawk bringing relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina here in the New Orleans area.  We talked to him this morning.

Another tape we've been telling you about for the entire show, NBC photojournalist Tony Zumbada was in New Orleans today at the convention center, scene of some pretty tragic events.  Here's some of the footage he shot.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:   Are we all right?  (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In daytime we had all the protection that was here but nighttime came in the dark with no lights we didn't have no protection at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  My mother suffers from congestive heart failure (INAUDIBLE).  I need to get her out of here.  This is ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We're living in deplorable conditions when the state was supposed to take care of us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Look how hot he is.  He's not waking up very easy.  I am not—this is not about role income.  It's not about rich people, poor people.  It's about people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Relax darling, it's going to be all right.  It's going to be all right.  It will be all right.  Breathe in.  Breathe in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why nobody can get no help down here for these people?  They got children out here.  They got pregnant women out here (INAUDIBLE).  They won't bring food.  We got to go and steal water to drink to survive out here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We need help sir.  We really do.  We need help.  They're not doing nothing and not telling us nothing.  They're not doing nothing.  We've been out.  Look at these old people out here without their medications.  They're in wheelchairs and we need help sir.  We really need help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  National Guard, the mayor, (INAUDIBLE) like that.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  These old people here, these old people they're out here ever since Monday.  They won't even get these old people.  (INAUDIBLE) nothing.  Make sure ya'll show that.  Show all these old people.  Look at that (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  That was footage shot by NBC photojournalist Tony Zumbada.  Apparently a lot of it was so raw we can't show it to you now.  It was just too disturbing but it gives you some sense of what's going on in New Orleans tonight.  As I said, we're going to be there tomorrow we hope.

Well, NBC's Martin Savidge has been there all day for the last couple of days.  Marty, what have you seen?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Tucker, we were tipped off that the situation at the convention center by evacuees who have become so disgusted that they thought they would seek out the media to see if we could do anything.

When I first heard their stories I felt they had to be exaggerations that it couldn't be true that people were literally dying so we went there for ourselves.  Most people stayed away.  They were too fearful to go into that zone.  What we found was almost unbelievable.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE (voice-over):  People began showing up here on Tuesday when they heard that there would be food, water and busses to take them away but there is no lifeline and many honestly believe this is where they will die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This is my mother.  She needs heart medication and she needs to get to a hospital immediately. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  My mother suffers from congestive heart failure (INAUDIBLE) now.  I need to get her out of here.

SAVIDGE:  This woman is over 100 years old sitting in the heat in the chaos.  There are people here who barely seem alive, even children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Look how hot he is.  He's not waking up very easy. 

SAVIDGE:  Some have already died waiting to be saved with just notes for next of kin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The National Guard, the police won't even stop and talk to nobody.

SAVIDGE:  Looted alcohol, heat and frustration send tempers flaring and with no police here they have to settle disputes themselves.  Finally, when an officer does appear he only honks his horn to clear a path.

Can you do anything to help these people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have people coming to help them.

SAVIDGE:  Who's coming?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I can't leave my...

SAVIDGE:  As far as Cindy Davis knows she's the only nurse here trying to treat a girl in diabetic shock while comforting her frantic family.  She manages to find a way to test her blood only to find she needs something else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Insulin, do we have regular insulin?

SAVIDGE:  But amazingly, insulin appears and a life is saved for now.

(on camera):  They say it won't be long before this place explodes and now with the rain there will be no shelter.  Over here the crowd has begun breaking into the hotel here.  There's a tremendous fear that with the rain there's going to be more flooding and with the flooding that they will be killed.  What they're trying to do is to get to higher ground.

               

(voice-over):  Things here are only getting worse.  These are scenes other worldly. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Please man live.

SAVIDGE:  But this is not Iraq.  This is not Somalia.  This is home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE:  We went back at sunset to see if the situation had improved any.  There was a Black Hawk helicopter dropping off water.  Some food had been brought in but it was only enough for a few hundred people.  There are over 10,000 that are inside and outside the convention center.  No busses have shown up and the pleas were still the same as when we had left.  It appears the folks there are not only running out of food and water but now out of hope --  Tucker.

CARLSON:  Marty Savidge in New Orleans who has really done some amazing, stunning reporting over the last couple of days.

Search and rescue missions continue tonight in that city.

Up next, we'll talk to a woman who was locked down, essentially trapped in a hotel in New Orleans.  She couldn't leave because of the dangerous looting nearby.  Looting has essentially been tolerated by authorities in New Orleans from the very beginning.  They're going to have to answer for that at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later.  We'll talk to her next.

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Rock and roll great Fats Domino missing in the floodwaters of New Orleans for the past couple of days now.  When we come back we'll give you an update on his status.  We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Look how hot he is.  He's not waking up very easy.  I am not—this is not about role income.  It's not about rich people, poor people.  It's about people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Fats Domino is alive.  He had been missing, the rock and roll great, in the floodwaters of New Orleans.  He turned out to be one of the thousands plucked from those very waters by rescuers.  His daughter just not long ago ID'd him from a picture that had run in the New Orleans Times Picayune newspaper.

We're joined now by Dr. Judith Embry.  She's an expert as it turns out on trauma and I think she's experienced some recently.  She was trapped in a New Orleans hotel for quite some time, not able to leave.  She joins us now having left from Austin, Texas, doctor thanks a lot for joining us.  What happened can you tell us?

DR. JUDITH EMBRY:  Well, I want to tell you I can't call this trauma.  I can't call my part trauma on this end because I believe it's actually very little compared to what's going on with the folks who are still there.

CARLSON:  Yes.

EMBRY:  But I'm a psychologist and a professor at Argosy University Dallas and I certainly am going to have some stories to tell my graduate students.  They like me coming back with real life stories and I'm going to have some for them.

We were in the Hilton and it went pretty well for the first few days but yesterday it really began to become dangerous.  We ran out of water for one thing.  We were afraid of disease but it just became so dangerous that they—the staff there, who were wonderful, Fred Sawyers (ph) is the manager and Eric Williams and all their wonderful staff put wristbands on us and put us in a big room and called for help and brought in busses and bussed us out before dawn this morning with lights turned off going down side streets to get out of town.

CARLSON:  Tell me why it was so dangerous?  What was the situation like in New Orleans?

EMBRY:  Well, I was on the 14th floor looking out toward the trade center, had a pretty good view.  Things were getting lots of, of course, looters, hearing word about the convention center and, of course, all the things going on over at the dome, all kinds of folks breaking into all kinds of stores and everything, which some of these folks are absolutely desperate.

I can tell you that the first day, well let's start back with evacuation.  I didn't see anybody going around with bull horns or busses or anybody trying to get these people out of the city.  What I saw was us getting people with cars, gas and money out of the city leaving these folks in the middle and they're desperate.

CARLSON:  And so, you say the first days of looting were more understandable than tell me about yesterday, I mean when it reached a crisis point what was happening?

EMBRY  Well, we were—of course we didn't receive much word.  Pretty much all of our communication was cut off but what we were hearing, of course, is gunshots that people were getting fired upon and began to—I think that the managers began to be worried that the hotel might become dangerous and certainly folks started to sort of filter in and you couldn't tell who was whom and who was a—who was a hotel guest, who was an employee, who was an employee's family member, just who was whom.  So, they went through identifying all of us and putting tags on us and getting everyone safe, including...

CARLSON:  I'm sorry to interrupt you.  I just want to complete the scene here.

EMBRY:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Did you see law enforcement in the street?  Did you see people keeping order?  Did you see soldiers?  I mean who was in charge?

EMBRY:  Oh, certainly, certainly.  There were Guard members out and there were certainly police officers.  I had a view of the police down at (INAUDIBLE) was where the police were.  We had EMS and folks actually eating and staying in the hotel but especially the police seemed particularly disorganized, kind of catching looters and kind of slapping on the hands and sending them on their way because I guess they didn't know what else to do with them or where to put them.

But, yes, lots of chaos.  You know, sitting up there looking out the window you wanted to see something orderly.  You wanted to see something happening that made some sense to you but you didn't see it.

CARLSON:  I bet you did.  Dr. Judith Embry now safe in Austin, Texas, thanks a lot for joining us tonight.  I'm glad you're out.

EMBRY:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Up next, the latest information on the unfortunate and at this point increasingly desperate people clinging to rooftops and overpasses in New Orleans.  They're still there unfortunately tonight.  We're going to have a report when we return.

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.

We spend a good part of the morning in an airplane hangar in Baton Rouge talking to some of the National Guard pilots, Black Hawk helicopter pilots who have been flying sorties in and out of New Orleans to rescue people stranded in that city.  They couldn't have been a more impressive group.  I think any American would be thrilled and proud to have his son grow up to be one of these guys.  They were that great and that brave and that cool to talk to, to be totally frank about it.

But you also got a sense in talking to them how disorganized some of the rescue effort has been.  We interviewed one this morning over breakfast, who recounted landing his helicopter on an overpass in New Orleans and suddenly being swamped with 70 people desperate, understandably desperate to get on the helicopter and not having any way to hold them at bay and only taking the 15 or so that he could actually get on, a counterproductive situation and one that's in fact slowing down rescue efforts in the city tonight.

Incidentally, those efforts to get people off rooftops and overpasses are still ongoing.  NBC's Carl Quintanilla has this report on that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARL QUINTANILLA, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  At this address in downtown New Orleans up these pitch black stairs a rooftop refuge from mayhem.  Can you believe this is happening in a major American city today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Absolutely not.

QUINTANILLA:  Ten Americans, three dogs, two tourists from Scotland are in hiding from people they can't even see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I'm just worried I'm going to die.  I don't want to see anybody.  I'm sorry, sorry.  I just want out of here.  I just want to go.

QUINTANILLA:  This isn't their house but they believe it's safer than the violence on the streets.  They were squatting at a hotel, were turned away from the busses evacuating guests.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They weren't going to arrange transportation for anyone else.  Hotel guests that had multiple cars loaded up their SUVs with luggage and refused to take other people.

QUINTANILLA:  A hotel employee gave them the key to her apartment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We have this much water left.

QUINTANILLA:  They had four jugs of water, half a bag of dog food and they're angry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How come there's not like a convoy of concerned citizens up off their butts driving her en masse saying “Come on, get in the car.  I'll drive you home.”

QUINTANILLA (on camera):  It's unbelievable but what's impossible to see from here is that there are rooftop communities exactly like this one across the city, street after street.

(voice-over):  Chuck Coogan has visited other rooftops and says time is limited.

CHUCK COOGAN:  I'd say about five days, five days that I can absolutely get my hands on water.  After that I don't know.

QUINTANILLA:  We followed Bonnie Van Dursky (ph) to a pay phone that's still making calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We are holed up in a timeshare.

QUINTANILLA:  Two minutes to tell her family she's alive.  Terry McSweeney, a local handyman is clearly shaken after swimming for eight hours with his dogs.  He says no boats would pick them up.

TERRY MCSWEENEY:  I just kept apologizing and telling them how stupid I was to put them in this situation and I wish I changed my mind and just left.

QUINTANILLA:  Regrets they cannot erase as they wait for nightfall and hope no one comes knocking.

Carl Quintanilla, NBC News, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  God, that's sad, oh.

As we said, search and rescue missions continue across the region tonight all the way across this region from this state into Mississippi. 

Up next an NBA star lends a helping hand to help the situation here and it desperately needs help.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  My mother has high blood pressure.  I can't stand it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Her mother has high blood pressure, arthritis, can barely walk and the last time we heard from her was Monday morning around seven o'clock and they was in distress.  The window was blowing out the house so we haven't located them yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was another one of the survivors we interviewed this morning at LSU where many are being held.

Well, when some people watch this on television they feel sad.  Others immediately act.  The person who joins us next is in the latter category.  Chris Duhon, the four-year basketball star at Duke University, now a guard on the Chicago Bulls is a native of the city that we're broadcasting from tonight, Slidell, Louisiana.  Chris Duhon, thanks a lot for joining us.  What do you think when you see the images of your hometown?

CHRIS DUHON, CHICAGO BULLS:  It's tough to watch.  I mean just to see the people there, just to see the destruction that happened.  You know I have five of my friends here and we were just sitting down watching it and it's just tough.  I mean we're naming the areas, you know, everything that was around it just to see it all knocked down, all destroyed.  You know it hurts.

CARLSON:  What do you think people can do to help, people who aren't here right now, people in other cities?

DUHON:  Well, we started a foundation.  We're just trying to get money, food, clothing.  As you can see with the people during the show, you know, their time is limited so we need to start moving fast.  We started this foundation where we have a lot of guys donating money, clothing, food and we're going to try to ship it there as soon as possible.

CARLSON:  Good for you.  It's much needed.

Now growing up here did you worry about hurricanes?  Did you ever think something like this could happen?

DUHON:  Oh, we've been in one and, you know, the hurricane wasn't that strong and, you know, you could tell just because Louisiana is below sea level that if one hurricane hits you hard, as this one did, that it can really do some damage.  I mean we're really surrounded by a lot of bodies of water and, you know, a lot of people's houses are on the water, so you know that with a strong hurricane, you know, this type of damage can happen.

CARLSON:  Did you have friends or family here for this hurricane?

DUHON:  No, actually everybody got out.  Everybody is safe but I mean there is still a lot of people that, you know, tried to wait it out and, you know, that are stranded.  You know there's body bags, you know, floating around in the water, people on rooftops, so I mean there's definitely a desperate need of help and, you know, I'm in a fortunate position to where I can lend some help and influence others to help.  So, we just need to get down there as fast as possible.  People just need to start helping these people.

CARLSON:  Yes, are you happy with the response so far from your fellow Americans and from the government and from the state of Louisiana particularly?  Do you think it's adequate?

DUHON:  For the most part, yes, I mean we've been getting a lot of people that want to help.  Today actually my organization donated $50,000.  There's a lot of NBA players who are also donating money and more to come, so the ball is moving.  We just need to know that time is running short and, you know, we got to help these people get back on their feet.

CARLSON:  Do you have any specific information on the neighborhood where you grew up whether it was hard hit or not have you heard?

DUHON:  Yes, pretty much, you know, my neighborhood is destroyed, you know.  Like I said, I have a couple of guys here with me and we're just looking at pictures on the Internet and, you know, my neighborhood is destroyed.  You know I still own a house there, which my mom's sister lived in and, you know, we can't even find it.  I mean the whole neighborhood is just torn up.

So, you know, we need to do some work.  I mean this city has done so much for me to get me to where I am now, you know.  I mean I feel that it's my duty for me to help them out in these times.

CARLSON:  And it's such a beautiful city.  I wish I'd seen it before this week.  It must have been, of course, even much lovelier.  Chris Duhon of the Chicago Bulls thanks a lot for joining us.

DUHON:  Thanks for having me.

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Thanks for watching THE SITUATION tonight.  We're going to be here tomorrow, possibly the next night, certainly the next night and on and on until we find out even more about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  We'll be here.  Hope you'll join us.  See you tomorrow.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Content and programming copyright 2005 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.'s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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