updated 9/9/2005 10:33:57 AM ET 2005-09-09T14:33:57

Guest: Bill Ullman, Jaye D'Aquin, Michelle Augillard, James Hay, Don


JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  That's all the time we have from Biloxi tonight.  Thanks for being with us.  Tucker Carlson is next.  Hey, Tucker, what's THE SITUATION tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thank you, Joe.  We've got the very latest on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina tonight.  The very latest.  Rescuers still combing the city of New Orleans, evacuees protesting at the White House in Washington and more selfless Americans emerging as heroes in the relief effort.  We'll talk to people from all of those stories, plus an update on another hurricane approaching off the coast of Florida.  That's Hurricane Ophelia that's looming right now ominously.  We'll bring you more.

First, though, a rundown of the day's top news.  Tonight Congress approved and sent to President Bush a $51.8 billion aid package for relief from Hurricane Katrina. 

President Bush sent Vice President Cheney to both Mississippi and New Orleans today.  Cheney laughed off profane heckler in Gulfport, Mississippi, and then he called the progress of relief efforts, quote, “impressive.” 

Meanwhile, thousands of evacuees queued up at the Astrodome in Houston, in hopes of receiving $2,000 debit cards from the federal government.  They had been promised those, or so they thought.  Tonight, however, the “New York Times” is reporting, that after a one-day trial FEMA has decided not to issue those cards after all. 

Also this hour, Hurricane Ophelia, a Category 1 storm, looms off the coast of Florida.  And update from NBC Weather Plus ahead in the hour. 

Let's go now to David Shuster, who joins us, as he has every night, live from Canal Street in New Orleans. 

David, what's the latest down there?

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Tucker, the latest is it's still very much a focus on trying to get the people who want to be rescued out.  There's a lot of talk, of course, about forcible removals, as far as people who don't want to leave, but they're still finding a lot of people alive who they simply haven't been able to get to yet. 

So in the air you can hear the helicopters, and you can see the convoys rolling out to try to find these people. 

We actually went with one of the convoys that was run by a National Guard unit from Lincoln, Nebraska.  They went in vehicles that are not really equipped for this sort of thing.  These are light armored vehicles that can go in about five or six feet of water.  They are not designed for anything much deeper than that. 

And you can see from the video that in some places, they were in areas where the water seemed to be deeper, and of course, there was a problem today in that some of these vehicles repeatedly got stuck because of the debris under the water or simply because the water was too deep and they couldn't get much traction. 

But these are the sort of people, Tucker, that you would trust your lives with.  And it just—it breaks your heart when you see them spending hour upon hour out there, and they're trying to get the vehicles to beyond some of the debris.  They go into some of these homes.  There's nobody home. 

And beyond that, there are the chain of command issues that these guys have to deal with.  The Lieutenant Colonel is the commander of this particular unit.  He was getting Blackberry messages from the Pentagon, asking why he hadn't filled out a particular form or a particular report last night, saying that he needed to do that before he went on any more missions.

And so clearly there's a bureaucracy that is now in place as far as the military is concerned, but there are also chain of command issues.  This very same commander at one point wanted to try to get a convoy of flatbed trucks, but that was under the jurisdiction of another commander who he couldn't find, so the flatbed trucks simply couldn't go along. 

But in any case, after a couple of hours of searching through some of the neighborhoods today, they did not find anybody to be rescued.  But we got out of the water.  We were driving back on Highway 10 towards downtown, and lo and behold, two people simply popped up, who had decided they'd had enough.  They crawled up onto the highway and essentially asked for a ride. 

Here's what one of them had to say. 


THOMAS COLEMAN, HURRICANE SURVIVOR:  Rescue people coming by, asking if you want to leave, giving us food and water.  We had a lot of water, just food and plus we had canned goods.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) We had canned goods.


SHUSTER:  That was Thomas Coleman.  He's actually a veteran of Vietnam.  He apparently had plenty of supplies and rescue workers over the last couple of days had been bringing him supplies. 

Finally he said, you know what, I am going to honor the request that I leave the city.  He realized the water wasn't going down very fast, and he was running out of materials. 

But that's how it's been going here, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  David, can you clarify the conflicting, still conflicting reports we're getting about the nature of the evacuation?  Is it forced or not?  From our vantage, it's not clear.  We keep hearing it is, and that it's not.  Is it?

SHUSTER:  Well, from what we can tell, Tucker, it depends on the neighborhood.  There are some neighborhood that were apparently pretty dry, that are some pretty tough neighborhoods where they fear that a lot of people there have guns and that they're not going to leave under any circumstances.

So, for example, at this very hour, there are SWAT teams using night vision goggles and using helicopters with infrared sensing to try to figure out where are these groups of people.  And those areas, there may be some sort of forcible removal, or at least removal at the end of a gun. 

As far as the stuff you see during the day, though, it is pretty much sort of focus on try to grab the people, trying to get people, essentially encourage them to leave, saying, “Look, we're here.  We've been bringing you supplies,” as the last man had supplies the last couple of days, “but now is the time to leave.  The water is simply too hazardous.” 

And when you have somebody armed to the teeth who knocks on your door and says, “You know what?  It's now time for you to go,” most of the people that they can get to are agreeing that they should go. 

CARLSON:  Automatic weapons are persuasive that way.  David Shuster, great reporter and good guy, joining us yet again from Canal Street in New Orleans.  Thanks a lot, David. 

SHUSTER:  Thanks, Tucker, take care. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.  NBC News reporter Ron Blome is in Biloxi, Mississippi, where many residents are still waiting for help—Ron. 

RON BLOME, NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  That's right, Tucker. 

The vice president joined many other administration officials who have been visiting the hurricane damaged Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  The president, of course, has been here twice.  Condi Rice was here over the weekend, and the secretary of veterans affairs was here just yesterday.  All of them trying to show concern for the administration. 

The vice president said he really wanted to come in and praise the efforts of those who were getting it done right.  He was talking about the 28 states that have fielded National Guard units here.  About all of the local law enforcement that have been coming in from around the country, and all of the aid groups.  And on the way there, we saw another aid trailer that was coming in from Montana.  Truly a nationwide response to the Gulf Coast. 

The vice president didn't talk about FEMA too much, other than to say that they had thousands of trailers that they were positioning to get into the coast.  After all, 18,000 people are still in shelters in this state.

And the death toll in Mississippi has now topped 200, as they continue to sift through the debris and wreckage. 

And as much progress as you see here in Mississippi—the lights are on, traffic flowing normally almost all the way out to the coast—you still hear things that make you realize that they are very much in the stages of that early recovery and finding people. 

A Mississippi highway patrolman, who was at an OES briefing today, said that their helicopters, flying a little further inland, are still seeing people who were waving them down with sheets and flags and trying to signal them. 

And when they land, they're finding people who are still cut off from supplies, and they're dropping off water and ice and marking the position on the map so they can try to get rescue officials in there. 

Also, the National Guard and FEMA is finally getting into some of the smaller communities on the coast like Pearlington and Pass Christian, where some of the relief had been held back for a little while.  They are still promising to have most of the electricity on here by the end of the weekend. 

And today some international help arrived.  A couple of planeloads of cots and clothing and blankets from England and France came in on some Airbus freighter airplanes.

So all in all, the Gulf Coast, while devastated, is starting to bring it back together, but don't want to tell you or suggest that all of this is in any way completely put back together.  There's so much to be done.  So many people still in the shelters. 

That's the latest from Biloxi.  Back to you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Ron.  NBC's Ron Blome in Biloxi, Mississippi. 

All week, we've been bringing you the stories of ordinary Americans who stepped up when government didn't offer their help, volunteered to help the thousands displaced by Hurricane Katrina. 

One of those who joins us tonight.  His name is Bill Ullman.  He's from Maine.  He has offered his house in Maine, outside the town of Bethel, one of the prettiest towns in the planet, to a family, the D'Aquins, from New Orleans. 

He joins us now, along with Jaye D'Aquin.  Thanks a lot for joining us, both. 

Mr. Ullman, first tell me, how did you, A, decide to do this, and, B, find a family in New Orleans to whom you could offer your home?

BILL ULLMAN, DONATING HOUSE TO EVACUEES:  Hi, Tucker.  I was reading “The New York Times” about a week ago, and there was an article that the only media running in New Orleans was the “Times Picayune.”  So I went to the website, and I posted a little note saying that there was a house available in Maine for a family for the school year, and that there were good schools, and not too much in the way of job opportunities.  But a three-line note, and I just left it there.  And I got a couple of calls back. 

CARLSON:  That is amazing.  Was there—did you go through authorities?  I mean, was—did government intersect with this process at any point?  Was it just you?

ULLMAN:  No, sir, I did that just on my own impulse. 

CARLSON:  And so no one from FEMA or the state of Louisiana or the state of Maine or the White House has gotten in touch with you?  You just did this by yourself?

ULLMAN:  That is correct. 

CARLSON:  Good for you.  Now, Jaye D'Aquin, how did you hook up with Bill Ullman?

D'AQUIN:  My husband and I, the only communication we had with New Orleans was through the Internet.  And while going on the Internet, through the services of the hotel, we picked up on the offer and went back to the room, made a phone call, and went from there. 

CARLSON:      Had you ever been to Maine before?


CARLSON:  So it's sort of—I mean, Bethel, Maine, the rest where you are is not at all like New Orleans. 

D'AQUIN:  No, we are totally out of our climate. 

CARLSON:  So the weather there is about comparable to what January in New Orleans.  How are you liking it?

D'AQUIN:  Well, that's...

CARLSON:  They woke up yesterday morning, and it was 49 degrees, and they said, “This is January.  Turn on the heat.” 

CARLSON:  Now, how many children did you bring with you?  How many children do you have?

D'AQUIN:  I have one child.  She's 13. 

CARLSON:  And she is at Tellstar High School (ph), one of the great high schools in the country, is that right?

D'AQUIN:  Tellstar middle school (ph), 7th grade, and yes, it's an excellent school, excellent curriculum. 

CARLSON:  Did you, Mrs. D'Aquin, at any point go through the government?  Or you just saw the ad and went?  Did you talk to authorities?

D'AQUIN:  Yes, my husband and I just saw the ad.  We discussed it.  Our main priority was trying to get our daughter back to some normality and a schedule.  That's what Bill was offering. 

Basically after speaking for about an hour, I guess, we were on the same page.  And without anyone but our instinct and our will to, you know, rise from all of this, we headed out. 

CARLSON:  So when you wake up in the morning, and you open your eyes, and you realize you're not where you used to be, but you're someplace you have never been before, how do you feel?

D'AQUIN:  A little distant, but Maine has been just incredible.  They have opened their homes, their hearts, and the generosity.  It's just overwhelming.  So even though I do miss home a lot, I am beginning to become very, very comfortable here. 

CARLSON:  Bill, how—I mean, how is it, candidly, to have a family of people you've never met before move onto your property, into your home?  How is that—is it what you thought it would be?

ULLMAN:  Well, there are two answers to that Tucker.  One is, I am in the very lucky position, which most Americans who want to help folks are not in, which is that I've got a totally separate guest house on my property.  So they're not living inside my four walls.

And that's kind of important because that's tough to do with a family. 

The second part of it is, no, this is really no interference with my life.  These folks get their lives together over the next six or eight months, and they won't be a big strain on me at all. 

CARLSON:  Bill Ullman, Chez D'Aquin.  If I can just add a piece of editorial advice here, stay there.  It's really one of the great places in the world.  I used to live about eight miles from where you're standing.  And if you can find a job there...

ULLMAN:  Yes, I read about that.  I read about that.

CARLSON:  I would never leave if I could find a job. 

D'AQUIN:  Yes.  We're really starting—we're really starting to really acclimate and feel like home. 

CARLSON:  Oh, that's terrific.  Well, congratulations to you. 

D'AQUIN:  Yes, it is. 

CARLSON:  And God bless you, Bill Ullman, for being so generous. 

Thanks for coming on. 

ULLMAN:  You're kind. 

D'AQUIN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Still to come on THE SITUATION, there are hurricane evacuees all over America by now, including Washington, D.C.  Today some of them marched in protest at the White House.  One of those protestors joins me next. 

Plus, it's now been 10 days since Hurricane Katrina's deadly landfall.  Will Hurricane Ophelia deal the U.S. yet another disastrous blow?  The latest from our Weather Plus center as THE SITUATION develops.


CARLSON:  Hundreds of demonstrators rallied outside the White House today to protest the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.  I will talk to one of them after the break.  Plus, an update on the strengthening hurricane known as Ophelia.  It's off Florida right now.  Stay tuned.



SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA:  Even the clay figurine, Mr. Bill, from “Saturday Night Live,” anticipated the breach.  His creator, a friend of mine, has used him in public service announcements for over two years, public service announcements saying this will be the effect if this happens.  How can it be that Mr. Bill was better informed than Mr. Bush?


CARLSON:  That, of course, Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. 

As you can see, the political fallout from Hurricane Katrina shows no signs of slowing down.  Today several hundred protesters from the liberal group MoveOn.org marched on the White House, among them, three evacuees from the city of New Orleans. 

Michelle Augillard was one of them.  She joins us tonight from Washington. 

Michelle, thanks a lot for coming on. 

MICHELLE AUGILLARD, PROTESTOR:  Thank you for having me. 

CARLSON:  Of course.  What's the nature of your protest?  What are you protesting?

AUGILLARD:  The slow response of assistance for the persons in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. 

CARLSON:  I think that's an absolutely fair thing to protest.  Why are you at the White House and not, say, the capital in Baton Rouge?

AUGILLARD:  This is a problem that extends well beyond local government.  And as the president says, you know, the buck stops with him.  And that's who we are looking to for this assistance. 

CARLSON:  Now, the assistance is coming.  I agree with you absolutely it's way too late, certainly for those who died waiting for it.  It is coming.  Congress is going to send billions to the states affected.  What do you hope specifically to accomplish by protesting outside the White House?

AUGILLARD:  At this point, we just want people to understand that there are American citizens, men, women, children, that are in need right now.  And this isn't a time for pointing fingers and placing blame, the victims or the evacuees, but it's a time to help. 

CARLSON:  But if it's not a time for placing blame or pointing fingers why are you placing blame and pointing fingers at the White House?

AUGILLARD:  We're asking for help from the government at this point.  This is not about name calling and pointing fingers.  It really is about getting the assistance that is necessary and getting help to those that are most in need right now. 

CARLSON:  Are you satisfied with the money that's been allocated by Congress so far, late as it is?

AUGILLARD:  Well, I haven't seen where any of it has gone yet.  I know that it's been signed off on, and I don't know where it's going to go to or who is going to receive that or when.  So I don't really have a comment on the satisfaction of the money. 

CARLSON:  Well, I am not sure anybody knows exactly where it's going to go, yet, other than generally it's going to go to the areas affected. 

But just tonight, $51.8 billion approved by Congress and sent to President Bush, and he's expected to sign it. 

Now, are you concerned at all that the understandable frustration of hurricane victims like yourself is going to be used by political groups for political ends?

Just today, Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat from New York, apologized for sending out a fundraising pitch, raising money for the Democratic Party, in a letter about Hurricane Katrina.  Are you afraid of being used by political groups?

I am not afraid of being used by political groups.  I don't think that I am going to be you'd by political groups.  I am taking any opportunity that I can to express to the American public of the need, that the persons in the affected areas have. 

People are in need of shelter.  They're in need of clothing.  They're in need of the basic necessities that some of us are very blessed to have. 


AUGILLARD:  Easily. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  That's absolutely right.  Now, I don't know if you saw, you were probably not in a position to watch TV at the time.  But last Friday, Kanye West, performer came on the NBC telethon we did for the hurricane victims, and said, and I think I am quoting now, “President Bush doesn't care about black people.”  What do you think of that, is that a fair criticism?

AUGILLARD:  I think that there's a possibility that race does play an issue in this situation.  I don't blame him for getting on television and saying what he feels. 

This is the time, you know, for people to communicate and discuss the issues of our nation.  And if that's how he feels, I support him, saying how he feels. 

That's why I am here tonight, to say how I feel about the situation, the slow response.  There is a lot of anger, and people are upset, and people are upset.  And there are people who have died because of this. 

CARLSON:  Right.  There certainly were, but I guess here is my question, to put it more clearly than I did the first time.  Do you think the slow response was a result of the normal bureaucratic snafus, bureaucracies just take a long time to act, they're slow by nature?  Or do you think it was the result of people in the Bush administration being racist?

AUGILLARD:  I think that people in the administration dragged their feet.  The response to previous situations has not been as slow as the response to this situation.  I think there are a lot of factors involved, and racism could very well be one of those factors. 

CARLSON:  All right.  We should point out that the president did sign the $51.8 billion allocation for Congress for hurricane victims.  It's a huge amount of money.  Does that make you rethink your criticism at all?  That's a lot of money. 

AUGILLARD:  Not at all, because as far as I know there's still people from 9/11 that haven't received compensation.  We're approaching, I believe, the four-year anniversary of 9/11.  I don't know that we're more safe now than we were before, or if we're less safe now. 

So, I mean, I'm a little skeptical about saying that everything is going to be solved now because there's money on the table.  Because that's not necessarily the case.  The people's lives that we're talking about, and it's really as simple as we need to help them the best way we can. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Michelle Augillard.  I'm not sure I know exactly what you want or what you're protesting, but you seem like a person of good faith.  I appreciate your coming on. 

AUGILLARD:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, Ophelia has suddenly gone from a tropical storm to a potentially devastating hurricane.  Where will it strike and when will it strike?  Weather Plus update when the SITUATION continues.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  My daughter.  We got separated.  Her name is Penny Holmes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There was a 14-month-old, and I have one.  Just need to stop the deaths (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I am happy now, baby.  I am so happy.  I'm happy, as long.  As I got my children, I'm happy. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Give Mommy a kiss. 


CARLSON:  People in Florida understand better than most the pain being felt right now by Hurricane Katrina's many victims.  Parts of the peninsula's southern tip are still recovering from 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which literally leveled wide swaths of populated area. 

As horrifying as Hurricane Katrina was, the storm hit with months left in the official hurricane season, and tonight Ophelia churns in the waters off Florida's east coast. 

Weather Plus meteorologist Ryan Phillips joins us now for an update on the storms track—Ryan. 


This has been a very interesting storm.  Hurricane Ophelia, just a menace off the Florida coastline. 

Now, it's been far enough off-shore, we haven't had a lot of big-time impact for the Florida coastline, except for a strong northeasterly wind and some beach erosion, minor at that for the time being.

But the fact that it's just sitting here.  The satellite perspective looks pretty impressive, but thankfully, weak enough and the strong winds far enough off-shore that we haven't had major impact into Florida. 

But Hurricane Ophelia, this is the 7th hurricane of the season, 15th named storm of this very busy Atlantic 2005 season. 

The movement has been stationary so this thing just continues to sit and spin.  The winds have been near 75 miles an hour. 

Now the forecast path is what everybody is interested in.  But boy, let me tell you, it's interesting.  The computer models have been all over the place with just where exactly this system will go. 

Well, here at Weather Plus, we think we're going to broaden this area, and go along with the National Hurricane Center, and just leave the doors open this system will meander out across the open Atlantic waters, perhaps maintaining its Category 1 strength. 

Now, as we get into the weekend, it will likely bend off to the east.  By the tail end of the weekend—keep in mind, these hurricanes don't move at right angles, but we think that it's still possible it could do a U-turn and meander.

And the bottom line, this system is going to be in the neighborhood for the next few days.  And we're going to have to watch it very carefully to see where exactly it goes. 

We will expect to see large swells from South Carolina down to Georgia, and especially across northeastern Florida.  Beach erosion will be a problem here, from the Georgia-Florida border down to maybe Cape Canaveral and all across the Florida east coast.  Dangerous rip currents, certainly something to keep an eye on. 

So that's the latest information on hurricane Ophelia.  Tucker, we'll throw it back to you. 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Ryan. 

Coming up, add raging fires to the growing list of crises in New Orleans tonight.  Up next, we'll be joined by New York's finest firemen who answered the call on September 11 in Manhattan.  They're answering the call now in Louisiana four years later. 

Plus, the heart-wrenching problem of pets stranded in Hurricane Katrina's wake continues.  Fortunately, we'll have a report tonight, progress on the quest to save the animals.  Stay tuned.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My name is Zachary Morris (ph).  I'm from Angie, Louisiana.  I'm looking for my mom, my brother, my kids.  I'm in Little Rock, Arkansas and I'm OK.  You don't have to worry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I wonder where my mother Jane Marie Lewis (ph) at and my daughter Ashley Marie Lewis at with all my children and my grandchildren and my sisters and my aunts and my uncles you know because that's what my concern is right now.  I'm all right.


CARLSON:  It's a cruel twist.  As New Orleans finally begins to dry out the danger from fires is growing but the city's fire department is getting a helping hand from more than 300 of New York City's firemen.  Captain James Hay of Ladder Company 163 of Queens is with them.  He joins us now by phone from the City of New Orleans.  Mr. Hay, thanks a lot for coming on.

CAPT. JAMES HAY, QUEENS LADDER COMPANY 163 (by telephone):  Thank you for having me.

CARLSON:  So, are there fires burning right now in the city of New Orleans?

HAY:  Right now we had two fires today and there are no fires going on tonight.

CARLSON:  How are the fires starting?

HAY:  It's a number of reasons.  You know we don't know if there's people in the houses maybe using candles, possibly vandalism.  I think that question will be answered at a later date, you know.

CARLSON:  Are there enough firefighters there?

HAY:  Oh, there's plenty here.  We have contingents from Illinois.  We have Montgomery County plus New York City and, you know, we still have a fair amount of the New Orleans firefighters so, you know, we came down to help.

CARLSON:  Where are you getting the water to fight the fires?

HAY:  They've gotten some of the hydrant system back in service, so, you know, we all know that firemen need the hydrant to get the water for the fire.  They've used some pretty ingenious methods though when the hydrants went out.  I mean they drafted from swimming pools.  They got a tanker truck to follow them and they used the water from that, so they're a gutsy group.  They deserve a lot of credit.

CARLSON:  So, you can dip into a body of water, like you could put a hose into Lake Pontchartrain and pump from there?

HAY:  Exactly, just like a sump pump, you know.  You just pump the water right out.

CARLSON:  Are you worried about the French Quarter all those old wooden buildings right next to each other?  Are there firemen there full time to make sure it doesn't burn down?

HAY:  Well, obviously we're concerned about all the structures.  We want to make sure the property for the civilians doesn't get damaged and I believe that all the areas of New Orleans are of concern and, you know, they address the priority of risk and, you know, they're doing their best to make sure that the property is protected.

CARLSON:  How does New Orleans right now compare to other things you've seen in say New York?

HAY:  You know, 9/11 was very surreal and when we drove through the city on our way here it's a very surreal picture seeing an empty city.  It's almost like some sort of movie but, you know, we're helping to get the life back into the city.  That's why we came down here.  That's why they came up to us on 9/11 so we're trying to reciprocate.

CARLSON:  Gosh, are you worried about the standing water in the city? 

Are you worried about getting sick from it?

HAY:  We've taken numerous precautions.  We have a hazmat group assigned and decontamination of personal protective equipment, station gear and the apparatus prior to them leaving, so we do a pretty good job.  They have respirator masks and other type of personal protective equipment when they do the decontamination of those apparatus.

CARLSON:  All right, Captain James Hay of Queens making Ladder Company 163 proud.  Thanks a lot for coming on.

HAY:  Oh, thank you.

CARLSON:  More help is on the way to the hurricane zone.  Assemblyman Fred Scalera is also the deputy fire chief of Nutley, New Jersey, not far from where we're sitting right now.  He sent 25 firemen and six decontamination experts to New Orleans.  He joins us here.  Thanks a lot for coming on.


CARLSON:  So, I guess the obvious question is you sent a lot of people down to New Orleans what about your own city of Nutley?

SCALERA:  Well, we're fine there.  Actually, the system, the way it's designed is (INAUDIBLE) mass decontamination system for cleaning people we learned after September 11th.  September 11th we decontaminated 10,000 people coming into Hoboken.  We made a decision early to clean them and we put a lot of hazardous materials teams out of service that day.

We created a program now that divides it across the state into a mass decontamination program not using specialists, using firefighters from counties.  It's health personnel and actually what's deployed is several teams, one from Bellville (ph), New Jersey, one from Irvington, two from Morris County, Mt. Olive and Morris Township and Mercer out of Atlantic County and we've created a strike force of 31 people, the team leader coming out of Nutley.

We've designed this program and brought it forward in the state to go down, help clean people. In fact, they arrived a couple hours ago.  I was just on the phone with them before I got here.  Doctors are waiting for them so they can start cleaning people and get them into hospitals, emergency services workers, you just heard mentioned by New York City, we brought that expertise down there to get that job done.

CARLSON:  So, how do you decontaminate someone?  Are these people who have been covered in the water, in the floodwaters that are poisonous?

SCALERA:  That's correct.  (INAUDIBLE) is from chemicals, from oils, biologicals.  We brought showers, tents for showers, cleaning products, brushes, soap, bleaches and a trained staff to make sure we're getting these people cleaned.

CARLSON:  That's amazing.  You have sent so many people there.  Why from Nutley, New Jersey, I mean which is a great place but of all the cities in America why have you stepped up in this amazing way?

SCALERA:  Nutley started hazardous materials team here in 1985 and we've grown since and on September 11th we put out team out of service with many other teams and we came up with this program to divide it and separate it and Nutley has taken the lead on that. 

It's also the county team for the county of Essex and we've been the county team for over ten years.  We're in business, I shouldn't say business, we're in service over 20 years and we've been in the forefront.

And when this came up I was called by the (INAUDIBLE) been on the phone with them and asked to coordinate a response statewide for this decon program so they're not all from Nutley.  They're from across the state.

Next week to roll out we have another five teams.  We have a change out so they're going to be so many days there.  We now have a second team we're working on tomorrow to get out next week and go down.  When this team is exhausted we're going to change it out.  We have a third team.

Governor Cody has said if we're requested we'll put six months of time in there.  Our task force left yesterday with police, fire, doctors and our decon team to work as a group and we call it Building Jersey City in New Orleans.

CARLSON:  Wow, so who did you call to set this up?  Did you just show up or did you—who in authority did you call the federal government, the state of Louisiana, the city, how did it work?

SCALERA:  The problem is not self deploying and trying to make the calls.  We're part of an EMAC system.  It's an Emergency Management Association Compact.  New Jersey did not belong to that on September 11th and we wondered how come other states—we grew with the organization into New York with fire services self deployed and many units.  It was hard to control.

And later on weeks into it we saw states coming through Jersey to go there and why weren't we being called.  We've now signed that emergency management compact and Louisiana is part of that.  The requests come out and you will see that on what's called an EMAC request and they need decontamination.

We answer back and state what we can give them.  They then accept it.  We work out the details, some forms go back and forth.  We put a program together.  And what's happening now actually some states are being turned down on going to New Orleans but we offered a complete package that they could take care of themselves, build out city and take care of the people.

CARLSON:  Are these volunteers I assume?

SCALERA:  Well, they're volunteers but they're career personnel.

CARLSON:  But I mean do they volunteer for this service to go there?

SCALERA:  Yes, no one has been ordered to go.  It's departments across and I was with the governor last night in Bergen County and across this state where volunteers are filling out EMAC forms.  Personally you have to fill one out for yourself. 

We have to make sure that you're covered for your pension, your insurance, your benefits, all those things before you go.  We want to make sure everybody is covered when they volunteer and they're filling out these forms across the state of New Jersey and we have hundreds of volunteers ready to deploy.

CARLSON:  And these are people with families who are willing to just leave?

SCALERA:  Truly, in fact my brother-in-law is one of the ones deployed there right now out of the Bellville team.  After the second team deploys next week, this is the first time, when we designed this decon task force it was not designed to travel 1,100 miles and go to work.


SCALERA:  It was designed for the metropolitan area, New Jersey, New York and never for this purpose but we're learning and I'm putting the second deployment together to go out next week and I'm working on getting a military flight for myself set up so I can be there for the first change out of two teams, organize it and make sure it works.

CARLSON:  What are the guys who are there saying about New Orleans?

SCALERA:  Actually my team is just arriving but I've in (INAUDIBLE) for four days and some of the reports back are it's a third world country.  It's disaster.  Some of our officers that went down on the initial response to try and set up logistics for us slept in the dirt the first night they were telling us. 

But, Major Hunt (ph) has been assigned by Colonel Fuentes (ph).  We've assigned a major down there for 30 days.  We've had a request from the Louisiana State Police have 200 there, they're going to report in to our major. 

The state police colonel of the state police talked to ours yesterday, he's going to assign some from New York State Police to be under us and, as I say, we are going to build Jersey City, start taking hold of one part of New Orleans and help expand it out as long as we can.

CARLSON:  Good for you, Fred Scalera, assemblyman from the State of New Jersey, assistant fire chief of Nutley, New Jersey, thanks a lot, appreciate it.

SCALERA:  Thank you very much.

CARLSON:  Coming up next on THE SITUATION we'll speak to one of the all-time legends in pro football history about the major contribution he's making to the hurricane relief effort.  Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We thought the water was going to go down quicker, you know. We really don't want to leave.  We figure it's time for us to go now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We want to give life back to New Orleans just like they gave us life back to New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Same thing with 9/11, you know, everybody else came in and tried to help out, they're doing the same for us.



CARLSON:  Welcome back.

Don Shula, regarded by many as the greatest coach in the history of the NFL, he coached the Miami Dolphins for 26 years, led them to two Super Bowl titles.  Now, he owns of course or runs the famous Don Shula Steakhouses.  He's giving five percent of all profits from all 26 steakhouses to hurricane relief efforts.  He joins us now on the phone, Don Shula thanks for coming on.

DON SHULA:  Yes, nice to be with you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  So, what moved you to do this?

SHULA:  I just felt that we wanted to do something and hopefully set an example for other people that, you know, they should think about what they could do to help in this drastic situation.

You know you can't be on the sideline.  You got to get into the game and I learned that a long time ago.  So, I wanted to be one of the first with our steakhouse company to show that we're willing to help every way that we can.

CARLSON:  Now, I read that you were planning on opening the 27th Don Shula Steakhouse in New Orleans in November.  Obviously that's going to be put off but are you planning on opening it there ultimately?

SHULA:  Yes, you know, we'd like to do it.  That was our plan all along.  And, you know, unfortunately we're going to have to wait to see what happens in New Orleans and how they attempt to remedy the situation.

But, you know, that's an exciting town and it's just so sad to see what's happened to all of those people and all of the businesses and the lives that have been ruined.

CARLSON:  Now, where specifically is the money going?

SHULA:  We're going to send it, divide it up between the United Way, the relief fund and the Red Cross.

CARLSON:  Now, the NFL started tonight, New England v. Oakland, obviously you know that.  It got me to wondering who decides when professional sports go on hold, take a sabbatical as they did say after 9/11?  Who makes that call?

SHULA:  Well that call has to be made by the commissioner and, you know, he's in contact with the owners and they have different committees to handle various situations and I'm sure that that's what's going on.  But, the ultimate decision is made by the commissioner after he gets the input from the owners and the various committees that they have.

CARLSON:  What's going to happen to New Orleans' team do you think?

SHULA:  I really don't have any idea, you know.  I'm not an expert on that situation as to what they might do.  You know the talk is that the Superdome might come down and, you know, whether or not they attempt to rebuild it that's something that remains to be seen.  But I really don't have an idea as to what direction the Saints will go.  I know it's going to be an awful tough year for them.

CARLSON:  Now, as someone who has his finger on the pulse of what people want, simply because you're in the restaurant business, do you think New Orleans I mean honestly can come back?  How is this going to affect people's willingness to go there on vacation say a year from now when the city is dry?

SHULA:  Yes, you know, it's going to take a long time and at that time I guess the decision is going to be made whether or not they can rebuild or come back to what they were.  That's always been an exciting town to go to.  I know all of us look forward to the opportunities that we had and there have been many Super Bowls that have played in New Orleans and that's a city that the league always liked to go to for Super Bowls.

CARLSON:  Do you think athletes have a special responsibility to pitch in in situations like this simply because they do make, some of them make so much money?

SHULA:  Well, I think it's up to the individual.  You know they've got obviously a great situation to be in because of the salaries but their careers are short lived and it's not guaranteed down the line that they're going to be making a lot of money.  But, I think that athletes as a whole are very considerate and understand the hardships that people have to go through because they've had to go through those same hardships to get to where they are and I think that's why athletes are willing to pitch in and do what they can in situations like this.

CARLSON:  Now it's been suggested by a couple, at least one player that all players in the NFL kick in $1,000 a piece, what do you think of that?

SHULA:  You know, I think all of those are great ideas.  I think it's going to be up to the individual to make a decision as to what he wants to do and it's up to the league to make decisions as to what they want to do and then the individual owners of the different teams, the franchises, also they're either going to do something in unison or individual clubs will make whatever they feel is the right donation to make to help relieve the situation.

CARLSON:  Now you were in Miami for an awfully long time.  Did you ever live through a hurricane?

SHULA:  We've been through some hurricanes but, you know, fortunately we weren't through any of the drastic ones that they've had and, you know, you always keep your fingers crossed because it could happen.  They're always out there heading toward Miami and somehow we've been able to avoid the drastic hits and we've been very fortunate.

CARLSON:  All right, Don Shula, giving five percent of all profits from Don Shula Steakhouses to hurricane relief plus the food is good.  Thanks for coming on.  We appreciate it.

SHULA:  Nice being on with you and we hope that other people join in.

CARLSON:  Thank you.

SHULA:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION as the last of the holdouts evacuates New Orleans they leave behind a city populated by thousands of abandoned dogs and cats.  What will happen to those animals?  We'll tell you when we come back.


CARLSON:  You've seen the crushingly sad images, helpless pets abandoned in New Orleans looking for their owners.  What happens to those animals that have not yet been reunited?  We'll tell you.

And, I'll talk to an NFL legend about his huge donation toward Katrina relief.  THE SITUATION returns in 60 seconds.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  My name is Mabel (INAUDIBLE).  I'm 67 years old and from New Orleans.  I'm looking for my two girls Cynthia and Cathy (INAUDIBLE) and I have seven grand babies.


CARLSON:  Many of the thousands of children uprooted from their homes by Hurricane Katrina now living in uncomfortable, unfamiliar shelter across the country all of them longing for home.

NBC News' Ron Allen has their story.


RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  As the days in shelters drag on we wondered what do the youngest evacuees miss most.  Vernil (ph) is 12.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There was two puppies.  They said you can't bring no pets.

ALLEN:  What did they want to take as the hurricane swept in? 

Chabrina (ph) is eight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Every time I go to sleep without (INADUIBLE) I just can't sleep.  I wake up in the middle of the night.

ALLEN:  There are teddy bears, bikes and lots of bouncing balls here, donations from the good people of Texas but so many kids say it's not like having your own stuff. 

(on camera):  How old are you?  Two.  You're two years old, three. 

You're three years old.  You're a big boy huh?

(voice-over):  Brendan (ph) and his cousins draw out what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The water, when the water was getting higher and higher.

ALLEN:  The water getting higher and higher.

They escaped by boat.  What would you like to have with you?


ALLEN:  The TV, what else?


ALLEN:  School began this week so hundreds of young evacuees spend the day in class.  Daycare centers keep toddlers busy.  That still leaves tons of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When I'm like really sad and all I always hug my teddy bear because it always makes me feel better.  I know I'm kind of old for that but it just makes me feel better.

ALLEN:  Dyesha (ph), 11, rescued Sandy her bear.  Now she says he's hiding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Because people was taking stuff from other people and I didn't want them to take Sandy.

ALLEN:  Little Keeshaw (ph), 7, stopped ripping and running just long enough to say he misses a special book.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I wanted to bring my Bible with me.

ALLEN:  They pray and play while parents try to rebuild their young lives and what they all seem to miss most is home.

Ron Allen, NBC News, Houston.


CARLSON:  Still to come on THE SITUATION, part of the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina is the stranding of thousands and thousands of dogs and cats.  Up next a report on the progress being made to reunited families and their pets.  Stay tuned for that.


CARLSON:  As more people are forced by authorities to make the awful choice to abandon their dogs and cats, frankly an unnecessary choice, what happens to the pets they leave behind?

NBC News' Martin Savidge has that story.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  From a deserted street, Robert Elmwood (ph) and Ebony are looking for a way out.  Down the way, Peter Block (ph) with Venus, Serena (ph) and Jasmin (ph).  Like many in New Orleans they stayed because they just couldn't abandon their pets.  Initially rescuers would take animals.  Those rules are changing but many evacuation shelters still don't allow them.

If you were forcibly told you had to leave what would your reaction be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:   Shoot me.  I'm not leaving without my dogs.

SAVIDGE (on camera):  This is the NBC workspace in New Orleans.  Because we stayed, people left their pets with us.  We've got Storm and Freeway and right here Katrina.

(voice-over):  They are the lucky ones.  Many others still wait on houses, cars and porches along flooded streets, stranded and struggling to survive, some with their owners, some without.  City officials fear they could spread disease.  Rescuers say there's so many it's hampering their work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All these animals deserve somebody coming to help them.

SAVIDGE:  And those forced to abandon their pets are desperate to get them back to the point of handing over their house keys to strangers who go in, rescue, and reunite.  But the endings aren't always so happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The last three helicopters leave in 30 minutes.

SAVIDGE:  Juan Cabrera (ph) is off to a shelter and has to say goodbye to his dogs.  The animals will go to a livestock facility 50 miles away.  Ten days after and Katrina still has the power to separate families creating a landscape full of pets and broken hearts.

Martin Savidge, NBC News, New Orleans.


CARLSON:  One of the main reasons people aren't leaving that city is because they don't want to leave their pets behind.  Maybe next time they'll be able to take them.  We hope so.

That's THE SITUATION for tonight.  Thanks for watching.



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