updated 9/12/2005 11:26:23 AM ET 2005-09-12T15:26:23

Guest: Rick Warren, Bobby Jindal

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, biohazard.  A special report, the Superdome, temporary haven for 25,000, but it became a horrific scene of rape and murder.  Now it is a poisonous mess.  We‘re going to be taking you inside.

Then, he‘s on the outside.  Odd man out, FEMA Director Michael Brown sent packing away from the Gulf Coast.  So why is the head of homeland security still saying Brown did everything he could?  Do our leaders still not get it?  Are they clueless?  It‘s a big story and it‘s not going away any time soon and tonight we‘re going to get answers.

This is a special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, “Katrina Crisis and Recovery.”

Thanks so much for being with us tonight.  A happy Friday night.  You know, it‘s been almost 12 days now since Katrina ripped into the Gulf Coast.  I tell you, it seems like a month to me.  I know it has to seem much longer to the poor souls scattered across the Gulf Coast right now.  But each day we learn tragic new details of this story as it unfolds.

Today the death toll climbed to 337, although New Orleans officials said that the final death toll could be much lower than the 10,000 they had estimated and today also, as emergency workers tried to get the city up from underwater, 32 of New Orleans‘ 148 pumps are now working and in Mississippi, the lights are back on for almost three quarters of the people.

No doubt about it, that‘s great news, and for anybody who has been through a hurricane like, obviously you know I have been through a lot of them, psychologically, that‘s such an important lift, when the power comes back on, the lights come back on, and in the Deep South, friends, the air conditioner comes back on because then you can really start looking around, getting your head together and planning to rebuild for the future.

But we begin tonight in New Orleans and the late word that the Superdome is now a toxic mess and a health hazard.  NBC‘s Michelle Hofland went there earlier today and has a special report.  Michelle, take us inside the Superdome.

MICHELLE HOFLAND, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Joe, what I‘ve been told is that the Superdome is now considered a toxic hazard and you cannot go inside unless you are wearing a special protective HAZMAT suit because you can get very, very sick.

Let‘s remember, Joe, this is the same place where 25,000 people were living just one week ago.  Children and adults and elderly all crammed inside the Superdome.

Well, tonight we are told that you cannot go in there without a HAZMAT suit and nothing has changed inside the building except of course the smell is much, much worse.  The smell of human waste and garbage throughout the whole place.

They have also seen little dogs running around inside of there.  Dogs who were left behind by their owners were inside there, running around inside the building.

Captain Casey Geist from the 82nd Airborne, he has not gone inside there, I have not gone inside there because it is just too dangerous and he says it‘s just too nasty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAPT. CASEY GEIST, 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION:  Right now, the Superdome is condemned.  It‘s a biohazard right now.  They have found traces of E coli in there, a lot of fecal matter from the people who were there.  And the place is just a—it‘s just a mess. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOFLAND:  Crews outside have begun cleaning up the mess.  It‘s a huge job.  What they‘re doing is piling up the left-behind clothes and food and bottled water. 

I saw one bottle that looked like it had baby formula in it, and tents and everything else.  So, they‘re piling all of that up right now and beginning to move it out of the Superdome, outside that area. 

Also, Joe, now that the water has been receding in those parking

garages around the Superdome, today, the 82nd Airborne found two more

bodies in there.  They don‘t know if they died inside the parking structure

or just moved down there from some other areas.  And earlier this week,

they found two other bodies.  That brings the total of four just this week

back to you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Michelle, I want to ask you a personal question here.  I hope you don‘t mind me asking.  If you do, say, Joe, I‘m not answering. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m just wondering—I‘m just wondering, though, your assignment, you‘re in the middle of a very dangerous assignment right now and you don‘t just sit in front of the camera all day.  You go out in a city that, again, is a toxic waste dump.  You have got to be concerned.  Your friends, your family members, your doctor has to be concerned also. 

I mean, personally, how difficult is it to cover this story, knowing that, if you get in the wrong batch of water or you stumble across the wrong area, that you could become gravely ill? 

HOFLAND:  Well, it does concern me, and it does concern my family. 

My kids called and—actually, they were watching a show last night and they called up.  And they were concerned.  They were happy to see that I‘d got a shot.  But it is a concern for all of us, and especially the people who are just now wandering through that water, the waist-deep water in places. 

I have to tell you—I don‘t know if I should share this, but when I took my shower this morning, one of my rare little military showers, and I washed off my arms, the washcloth was black.  It‘s just—it‘s dirty.  It gets on our shoes.  It gets all over us.  And I do have cuts.  So, yes, we‘re taking care of ourself.  We washing up all the time and making sure that we stay as clean as we can.  But it, frankly, is a concern. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And it is such a difficult assignment, Michelle, and you‘re doing such a great job.  We greatly appreciate you coming here, sacrificing, being away from your family, going into what in effect is a war zone to report what is happening in New Orleans, certainly the biggest story in some time. 

Thanks a lot, NBC‘s Michelle Hofland. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, friends, I want to—I want to expand a little bit on this right now, because David Shuster, who I‘m going to talk to in a second, has been to Bosnia.  He has been to Baghdad, and we were together in Biloxi, Mississippi. 

And I had asked him to compare the situation in Bosnia, the situation in Baghdad, with the situation, just as far as creature comforts go and safety, in Biloxi, Mississippi and in New Orleans.  And he said, without a doubt, the situation was more grim on the ground in Biloxi, Mississippi, had it much better, much easier, much safer, he thought, in Bosnia and in Baghdad. 

I mean, that‘s how primitive these cities have become since this storm slammed on shore.  And, again, you know, I felt so sorry for so many people over in Biloxi.  You know, these reporters, a lot of them haven‘t been able to shower for a week or two.  Now, it‘s—that‘s normal for me, so, I mean, no big deal for me. 

But, I mean, seriously, people have sacrificed so much to report this story to you.  It‘s really surprising to me.  Obviously, they‘re not going to complain about it, because there are so many people that lost loved ones, lost friends.  But I just—I think it‘s spectacular, what all these people are doing.

I want to go right now to David Shuster. 

David is in New Orleans. 

And, David, again, I was talking about you comparing war zones with what you saw in Biloxi, Mississippi.  I would guess the same holds true for New Orleans, Louisiana, where the local head of Homeland Security claimed that we in the media may have been exaggerating the death counts.  What have you found by going out with firemen and other rescue operation personnel? 

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Joe, clearly, there was a lot of talk based on the mayor of New Orleans saying as many as 10,000 dead.

And that seems to have swung around, because some officials with FEMA and recovery teams say they‘re not finding the number of bodies in the numbers that they had feared.  But the one group, Joe, that is still extremely pessimistic, pessimistic, and who believe the number in the end will be horrifying are the firefighters. 

And the reason that they‘re saying this, because they say they know the neighborhoods that are under water.  They know the poverty in some of these areas.  And they also know that many of these areas have been searched, but only in a very sort of topical fashion.  In other words, people have gone in on the boats.  They have used bullhorns to sort of shout at the homes. 

But the firefighters fear that, until you actually go house by house and either get through the roof, which is the only way to get in, in some of these houses that you have six and seven feet of water, that you‘re not going to find either the elderly, the disabled, the people who cannot essentially shout out and say, here I am. 

And so, for example, we spoke with a New Orleans firefighter, Victor Lacava.  Here is how he put it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR LACAVA, NEW ORLEANS FIRE DEPARTMENT:  It is heartbreaking.  You know that there‘s a lot of old people still in there that didn‘t heed the warning.  And when that water goes down, we are going to find people that are trapped in there. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Now, there‘s one anecdote—anecdote, Joe, that may help underscore this.  And that is, a lot of the initial search, recovery efforts were simply, again, people sort of going in these neighborhoods by boat and shouting at the homes. 

Well, there was a team from Michigan that came in, in the last couple of days.  Yesterday, they saw what was going on with the initial recovery efforts and said, you know what?  That is not adequate.  You actually have to physically break into these homes.  So, that‘s what they started doing, very methodically, one at a time.  Luckily, they found somebody who had been in the water in the stairwell of an apartment building for 10 days.  And she survived.  She is not in great shape, but she survived. 

And, again, the firefighters point out that that is the only way you‘re going to get an accurate body count.  Furthermore, they also point out, Joe, that the bodies are not part of the official count until they are processed.  In other words, most of the bodies that are being found away from the downtown area, there‘s simply a marking left on the homes and the bodies are essentially left there. 

Until those bodies are brought back, identified, if that‘s possible, and processed, then and only then do they become part of the official count.  And, at least for the firefighters, the ones who are pessimistic in all this, they‘re the ones who are saying that is why they believe the number in the end will be horrifying. 

They hope, they hope that it‘s accurate that it‘s only in the hundreds, as some people are hoping for now.  But they fear that it will be much larger—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks so much, David.  Greatly appreciate it. 

And David—David‘s report certainly talks about the problems of going out there and rescuing these people.  Right now, the city of New Orleans, as we have been reporting to you, is still 60 percent submerged.  So, there‘s no way anybody can make an accurate count on whether it is going to be 10,000 or 1,000 or 500.  We are just going to have to wait. 

Now, as we have been telling you, FEMA Director Mike Brown has been sent back to Washington, but not fired, we are told, by the Homeland Security Department, after the outrage over his handling of this disaster and his suspect qualifications for the job. 

His reaction today was this—quote—“I‘m going home.  I‘m going to walk my dog, hug my wife and maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night‘s sleep.”

Now let‘s bring in Louisiana Congressman Bobby Jindal, who joins us from Baton Rouge, who probably has not enjoyed a good night‘s sleep or a margarita since this storm hit. 

Congressman, are you glad that Michael Brown is out of your area? 

REP. BOBBY JINDAL ®, LOUISIANA:  Well, my frustrations with FEMA are certainly bigger than one person. 

But I‘m certainly hopeful and optimistic that bringing in somebody from the military, bringing in an admiral will bring military-like efficiency and responsiveness to the agency.  My frustrations with the agency are bigger.  I just think it‘s become—not only FEMA—I mean, we on FEMA for a lot for being very bureaucratic and unresponsive.

The reality is, we have a lot of frustration on the ground with the federal and state efforts.  I should say it has gotten better with the increased involvement of the military.  Once they put tens of thousands of boots on the ground, you saw the security situation improve.  You saw the efficiency improve. 

But, as recently as today—I spent today in my district in a lot of areas that are struggling to get back up off their feet, where families are thinking about moving back and trying to restart their lives, even without power, even without drinkable water.  And, as I was there, I actually saw a mayor hang up on somebody from FEMA. 

And while I was there, I still saw local officials frustrated that FEMA has not delivered what they needed.  Now, the good news is that the private sector can‘t do everything.  But many private individuals, many churches, many organizations are filling that gap.  They‘re sending food.  They‘re sending medicine.  They‘re sending water.  They‘re sending fuel.  They‘re sending even sending generators.  And the hope is, they can take tide these communities over until the bureaucracy gets moving and gets working a lot better. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Congressman, I think that‘s the only solution, not only for this storm, but storms that come in the future, that local faith-based organizations, private organizations hold everybody—hold everybody over until the feds, the state government, the local government can get their act together. 

I want to play you, Congressman, what Michael Chertoff had to say about FEMA Director Mike Brown after his dismissal from the Gulf Coast.  Take a listen. 

JINDAL:  Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  Mike Brown has done everything he possibly could to coordinate the federal response to this unprecedented challenge.   

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you agree with that, Congressman, that Mike Brown has done everything he could do to coordinate this response? 

JINDAL:  Well, I certainly don‘t know about his personal efforts. 

I can tell you, FEMA‘s results have not been satisfactory.  And that‘s to put it mildly.  I mean, you and have talked.  You know how frustrated I am.  And I want to emphasize, it‘s not just FEMA.  And there are certainly people working hard and trying their best.  But it‘s not enough. 

And when you talk to—for example, you talk to mayors that haven‘t gotten the food they need.  You talk to mayors that haven‘t got the fuel for their hospitals.  I literally sent my staff throughout my district and we found communities—we found one community in particular where my staff were the first people to get there. 

They had no fuel, no food, no water, no relief supplies from anybody.  And the response at headquarters was, well, we didn‘t have any communication, so we didn‘t know what the community needed.  We were shocked.  We said, if you haven‘t heard from them, shouldn‘t you go see what is going on, on the ground?  And so...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, or just—or just watch TV.  That is what is so unbelievable. 

Congressman, as always, thanks for being with us.  Greatly appreciate it. 

We will be right back with more from New Orleans in a second. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We are tracking Hurricane Ophelia right now, gaining strength and heading for the Carolinas.  She could make landfall Monday.  Keep it here.  We will get you up to date with the latest throughout the hour and all night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the filthy toxic water continues to pump out of New Orleans today.  And they‘re saying that the water pumping could fill 400 swimming pools an hour, not a swimming pool I would want to swim in. 

Tom Brokaw is in New Orleans tonight.  And he‘s there with the 82nd Airborne discussing their rescue work and recovery work—Tom.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS:  New Orleans is in effect a military zone, with local police agencies joining the New Orleans police and military units, including the elite 82nd Airborne.  For these young men who joined that outfit, this is not the kind of duty that they expected. 

(voice-over):  Captain Buddy Ferris (ph) of the 82nd Airborne is a veteran of Iraq.  He parachuted into western Iraq at the beginning of the war and saw some horrific sights.  He did not expect to see this in the streets of an American city. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Attention, attention, attention, citizens of New Orleans.  We‘re here to help you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Turn left.  Then turn right on Cleveland.

BROKAW:  Captain Ferris and Charlie Company have been on a waterborne rescue-and-recovery operation in New Orleans‘s Ninth District, north of the French Quarter. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The amount of destruction this thing has caused, no matter where you put it, it would be a tragedy, whether it‘s America, Iraq, Indonesia.  It‘s people in need. 

BROKAW:  It looks more like Bangladesh than one of America‘s most celebrated cities. 

(on camera):  Are there people up in these projects?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, sir.  There are.

BROKAW:  No power? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No power.  Some have running water.  We tell them not to drink it. 

BROKAW (voice-over):  The standing water looks lethal.  New Orleans is called the Big Easy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Pull right up to the right.

BROKAW:  But getting those who were left behind to leave their homes, even now, is not easy. 

Captain Ferris, a trained warrior...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  OK.  I don‘t want to be separated with my dogs.

BROKAW:  ... has to be part psychologist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You love your dogs, right, ma‘am?

BROKAW:  Part salesman. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have everything, ma‘am, everything you need.

BROKAW:  All charm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Ma‘am, we are the better part.

BROKAW:  Iris (ph) has been trapped in her house for 11 days, but she won‘t leave without the 21 dogs she is caring for. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Let us help you help the animals. 

BROKAW:  Twenty-one dogs.  Finally, mission accomplished. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Safety, doggies.  Let‘s go to safety. 

BROKAW:  Iris and her 21 dogs are safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Whenever you see a lot of people in need, especially in America, and we know we can do well, we want to get down there and help. 

BROKAW:  But Captain Ferris and his men know the next phase of their job is the toughest.  They know that, beneath all that black water, there are bodies, those who didn‘t leave and didn‘t have the opportunity to be rescued before Katrina claimed them, as it has so many. 

(on camera):  When the 82nd got here, their first assignment was to guard the D-Day Museum, not too far from here.  It‘s in New Orleans because Andrew Higgins, a man from New Orleans, designed and built the Higgins boat, the landing craft that made D-Day and all the other invasions possible.  General Eisenhower said he won the war for the United States and its allies. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks to Tom Brokaw for that.  And if you haven‘t seen the D-Day Museum, hopefully, they will built it back soon and you can get to New Orleans and see it.  It‘s—it‘s remarkable. 

I‘m joined right now by a New Orleans resident, historian, Douglas Brinkley. 

And, Doug, I was listening to that Brokaw package.  And when I heard the guy shouting through his megaphone, we‘re here from the government and are here to help you, reminded me of the Ronald Reagan joke, that he said, one of the most feared lines in America is when somebody says, I‘m here from the federal government and I‘m here to help you. 

But it seems to me that a great political dynamic has changed with this storm and with 9/11.  And now Americans are actually expecting more of their federal government.  Do you think this storm is going to have historical ramifications for what Americans expect from their government? 

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, NBC ANALYST:  Well, absolutely. 

As you said, like 9/11, it led to the creation of the Homeland Security apparatus.  And part of that is moving FEMA into Homeland Security.  And, clearly, in this case, FEMA failed in that effort, and it is going to make people requestion how to structure this new world order, where we‘re fighting global terrorism and putting a lot of resources into security measures from attacks from abroad.

But how do we also start building our infrastructure back in this city?  After all, there have been proposals, federal proposals, that have been rejected to build up Louisiana‘s coastal wetlands, to work on building levees, so they can sustain a hurricane of 5 category force.  These have been rejected because there‘s really never been enough funds to go around. 

But, as we are looking at paying this $100 billion bill, which is—just looks like for starters, we are going to wish that we would have invested in the infrastructure of America, the federal government, and not just wait until disasters happen and then try to rebuild. 

SCARBOROUGH:  you know, Doug, it seems, every day that goes by, we find out more mistakes from the federal government, the state government, the local government.  They just add up one after another. 

As a historian, I am going to ask you to put this into proper perspective.  When is the last time that an event took place in America that revealed so many mistakes by so many political leaders on so many different levels? 

BRINKLEY:  Well, I think the different levels, it‘s unprecedented really for—in recent American history. 

You could think about the civil rights movement and how some of the arch-segregationists in the South, the Bull Connor types, the Governor Faubus types, that they would—they defined the federal government and kind of pushing states‘ rights.  And you had the humiliations of people being fire-hosed down in Birmingham and mad dogs and everybody watched on the news to watch the South fighting with that—a basically racial war and racial unrest.

Many Southern politicians have been tarred and feathered for that in the history books.  But, in this case, I think it‘s a—it really—yes, there‘s going to be some hard report cards on Louisiana officials, and certainly I think that the corruption of the state of Louisiana—political corruption dates back.  You could read “All the King‘s Men” or look back at the Huey Long area, and it seems charming at times, the cronyism of Louisiana, the payoffs. 

But, clearly, it‘s not—if you live in Louisiana, you realize that the schools are bad, that the buildings don‘t have the proper fire codes, that education is a very low priority.  Get any list of bad things in America and you will find Louisiana and Mississippi down, my states that I love, you‘ll find them down at 48th and 49th in the country. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Doug, I wanted—I wanted to bring up a point that I—it‘s very interesting.  We used to always joke in Florida about Edwin Edwards, the crook that ran your state for such a long time. 

Again, there was sort of a charm about it.  People would joke about that he was just—he was just a caricature of a corrupt politician.  And a lot of people in Louisiana, quite frankly, laughed him off.  But now you see again all this corruption piled up on all these levels, it may have had a deadly impact in the long run, huh? 

BRINKLEY:  Absolutely did.  There‘s no question about it. 

And it also, because of, I think, there are different lobby groups, but groups that were pushing for something like coastal restoration, been a big issue.  Senators like Breaux and Landrieu and now Vitter have, in one way or another, embraced it, but it never got very far, because there wasn‘t a coastal restoration lobby.  There wasn‘t a build-a-new-levee lobby. 

The oil lobby was large in New Orleans.  And you had the tourist lobby.  But some of the things that were going to protect the citizens in the—in New Orleans and in the Gulf states just has not been there. 

I am stunned at the Mississippi coast, because when Camille hit in August of ‘69, it flattened everything, Waveland, Bay Saint Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, Pass Christian, Long Beach, all these towns we are hearing.  They were nailed by Camille back in ‘69, yet the structures that we put back up were like casino boats that floated away.  And very few buildings survived this hurricane that were built post-Camille. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re right.  You‘re exactly right, Doug Brinkley.

And, hopefully, when we get past this, we can look at the politicians that allowed contractors and people that built condos, got them to wave a lot of the tougher buildings codes and we can hold those people accountable.  And moving forward, we have got to be a lot tougher on these building codes if you‘re going to build them that close to water. 

Doug, as always, thanks for being with us.  We really do appreciate your insight. 

BRINKLEY:  Thanks so much, Joe. 

And coming up next, we have got Rick Warren.  He‘s the author of the best-selling “Purpose Driven Life.”  He is doing what he can to help evacuees and he is going to be in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY right after this short break. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Little children separated from their parents after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast.  But why aren‘t they back together 12 days later?  We will have that story next. 

But, first, this is the latest news you and your family need to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Children lost and alone and miles and miles away from home.  How can they have separated kids from their parents?  And are officials doing enough to reunite them with their moms and dads? 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, that story in just minutes. 

You know, I have found out through this storm that the only way we‘re going to get through this disaster is by everybody joining in and helping out.  So, along with thousands of others, my wife and I have tried to do our share of helping out.  And, yesterday, a lot of friends came together in Saint Christopher‘s Church in Pensacola, Florida, and we helped load food and supplies in our supermarket in our hometown of Pensacola, Florida, and also of course at our local church. 

And after we get everybody in Pensacola stacking all this stuff up here, we took it over to Biloxi, Mississippi, and tried to help people over there who needed the help the most.  We also took some of the supplies over to Louisiana.  I will tell you, the situation in Louisiana in some of the rural areas, so dire, so absolutely, absolutely dire, they need all the help they can get.  And they need it now. 

You know, I spoke with some volunteers who had their own home crushed in last year‘s Hurricane Ivan and asked them why they were helping out now and how it felt. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROB MACKEY, VOLUNTEER:  Well, we lost our house during Hurricane Ivan, and I just remember, you know, we were outside working all the time.  And everybody was coming by bringing ice and food and asking if you needed anything.  It was just a tremendous help, just the outpouring of help that we had that people were giving us.  And we just want to try to give a little bit back. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jan, you know, nobody—nobody can imagine—I can‘t imagine what it‘s like losing everything.  But I remember going by Bagelheads one morning talking to Rob about a month later, saying, how are you all doing? 

And he said that, some mornings, you all would just be crawling on your hands and knees crying, picking up a memory here, picking up a memory there, in the middle of sand and sludge.  Talk—try to explain just how much that hurts and how much the people in Mississippi and New Orleans are hurting right now.

JAN MACKEY, VOLUNTEER:  Well, I actually think that was a little bit of my therapy, finding little bits and pieces that meant something. 

And the biggest thing, though, was that people that we didn‘t even know came by and helped us.  And it just was uplifting.  And, really, the other stuff, the destruction around us, just amazing how much uplifted we were from other people that we didn‘t even know helping us. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  So, people that they didn‘t even know came into their community, helped them after they lost everything.  A year later, they take off from work.  They own their own business.  We get them to drive a truckload of supplies over to Louisiana and then they come back to Gautier, Mississippi, drop off more supplies. 

And I‘m telling you, friends, it‘s happening every single day here. 

We get more and more calls of more and more people who want to help out.  They‘re joining together.  And I will guarantee you, a year from now, somebody is going to be hurt along the Gulf Coast are the very people who have been left homeless by this storm are going to repay that love, that compassion somewhere else. 

There are a lot of stories, a lot of bad stories, in Hurricane Katrina.  But I will tell you what.  There are a lot of stories of hope and optimism out there, too.  And, again, it just shows that people do join together.  When Americans are in need, other Americans step forward and fill in the gap. 

Right now, I want to welcome the author of “The Purpose Driven Life.”

And he‘s the pastor of Saddleback Community Church in California. 

Rick Warren, thank you so much for being with us. 

And I‘m just reminded.  When I talked to you at the Billy Graham

crusade up in New York, you were talking about going to Africa, trying to -

trying to help bring peace to a group of people that—in Rwanda that had been fighting each other so many years ago. 

But, my gosh, you go to the Gulf Coast right now and it looks like a Third World country itself.  Talk about what you saw there. 

RICK WARREN, AUTHOR, “THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE”:  Well, Joe, as you have just been saying, the untold stories of these thousands and thousands of stories of churches and synagogues working, amazing compassion and amazing cooperation that I‘m seeing all across the South. 

I did spend a good part of last week in four of the affected states, meeting with religious leaders and helping them plot out their strategy.  I talked to both Governor Barbour and Governor Blanco when I was in Louisiana and Mississippi.  And we have 3,800 purpose-driven churches that were in the path of Katrina.  About 500 of them at least we know were totally destroyed. 

But the untold story is that these churches all over the South are welcoming in these survivors in amazing numbers.  You know, on Monday, I was in the Superdome—I mean in the Astrodome in Houston.  I was actually invited to speak there.  And that‘s been getting a lot of coverage.  But there are only 18,000 people that were in that Astrodome, whereas about 118,000 in Houston have been assimilated into churches. 

And those people are being loved and cared for and amazing stories of generosity are just sweeping across the South. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Rick, I want to ask you a question I asked Reverend Graham last night.  He said nobody that he had met had had their faith in God shaken.  But I‘ll tell you what.  I met people who went through Ivan that asked why God had abandoned them. 

What do you tell someone—because they‘re out there.  What do you tell somebody who is looking at you tonight talking about God‘s love, saying, well, God wasn‘t with me Monday morning last week, when I lost everything I ever had?  What do you tell them? 

(CROSSTALK)

WARREN:  Well, first, God grieves as much as we do, because nothing everything that happens in this world is God‘s will.  The Bible tells us to pray.  Jesus said pray.

Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.  That‘s the lord‘s prayer.  And he wouldn‘t tell to us pray that if it were automatically done.  The fact is, we live in a broken world.  We live in a fallen world.  If I go out and get drunk and I‘m driving down the street and I kill a woman with a pregnant—you know, a baby inside of her, that‘s not God‘s will.  That‘s just evil. 

And so, evil—there are evil things in the world, the Bible tells us.  That‘s why we‘re not meant to last here forever.  And, really, asking the why question is the unanswerable question, because we are not going to know the answer why on this side of eternity.  The more helpful question is the what question.  And that is, what do I do now?  I have helped thousands through grief over the last 25 years.

And I have discovered that explanations don‘t really help.  What people need is encouragement.  And I have talked to a lot of people.  And, of course, they have a right to be angry when you lose everything.  I was angry.  And the Bible talks about crying out to God and saying, God, I‘m mad.  I don‘t like this.  In fact, Psalms is full of those kind of prayers.

God can handle your emotions.  And you just tell him exactly how you feel.  But the key thing is to turn to him, rather than turn away from him, because we don‘t get comfort when we turn away.  We just get bitter and that makes the thing worse. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it. 

Rick Warren, thank you so much for being with us again.  We really appreciate it, and some really encouraging words to people that really need them tonight. 

Still to come...

WARREN:  You know, Joe, I would tell them to play it down. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s that?

WARREN:  Play it down and pray it up.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Very good.  Great advice. 

Coming up, a lot of children were separated from their parents during the evacuation.  And, believe it or not, not all of them have been reunited yet.  What to do when an evacuated child is too young to even tell volunteers his name or who his parents are—that story coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re the smallest of victims of Katrina, children separated from their parents in chaos.  Tonight, hundreds are still alone. 

NBC‘s Keith Morrison met some of them and delivers this report. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH MORRISON, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  In a long gray hallway, an office corridor in a building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, volunteers are trying to keep the attention of little kids focused on plastic toys, trying to wheedle information from them. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You have a sister and a brother, Demarco?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you know where they are?  Where are they at? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They‘re at home. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They‘re at home? 

MORRISON:  Some of them are so tiny, so young, just a name is hard to pry free.  They‘re all in the midst of the most frightening dislocation imaginable.  They don‘t know where their parents are. 

They are orphans of the storm.  This shelter set up for missing children is 80 miles from New Orleans.  To them, it might as well be the moon. 

(on camera):  You‘re Justin (ph)?  How long you guys been here?

(voice-over):  The older ones tell you what happened, serious, trying to be mature, worry etched on their faces.  These teenagers were plucked from their own roof after three precarious days. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My mom and my dad and his dad got left behind. 

(CROSSTALK)

MORRISON (on camera):  On the roof?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They still at the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They still at the house on the roof. 

MORRISON:  What was that like for you? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It wasn‘t fun. 

MORRISON (voice-over):  A helicopter evacuated these three, children first.  Their parents had to wait for the next rescue and were sent somewhere else.  At least that‘s what the kids think must have happened.  They don‘t really know. 

But is it hopeless?  No.  Listen to what happened last week to a boy named Diamonte Love (ph), 6 years old, the eldest of six, a brave age.  It was Diamonte who led the others to safety before they were taken to this shelter.  At first, when he said what his mother‘s name was, Katrina, the volunteers didn‘t believe that could be so.  Their pictures were posted on the Web site for the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

And sure enough, there was his mother, frantic for him, waiting for him on the airport tarmac in San Antonio, Texas, his mother, Katrina.  The little kids he saved were cousins. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I missed you so much. 

MORRISON:  And so other mothers had reunions, too.  But, back here in Baton Rouge, there are all these others. 

(on camera):  So, do you these guys talk about it?  Is that—can you pull it out of them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t think they really remember. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  When they play and they remember—when they play, all the information comes out. 

MORRISON (voice-over):  This one said she is Macy (ph), that her daddy is the church pastor.  She thinks maybe he is in the hospital. 

(on camera):  Are you going to sing in the choir? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing):  Amazing Grace, sweet.  I love...

MORRISON (voice-over):  As of today, about 30 children are staying here.  But officials say they have received something like 400 calls from frantic parents.  They‘re going to reunite them, they said.  Or, at least, they hope they will. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  So moving. 

When we come back, the images of Katrina we will never forget. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to show you some photos I took when I first got to Biloxi last week.  Each photo captures images that really do boggle the mind.  The photographs are how we will remember this storm. 

And here is NBC‘s Jamie Gangel with some. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE GANGEL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  The images are haunting, unimaginable devastation, tragic loss, heroism, and humanity.  Veteran AP photographer Eric Gay was still in New Orleans when we caught up with him.  Exhausted, he still can‘t believe what he saw. 

ERIC GAY, AP PHOTOGRAPHER:  I have seen tornadoes and hurricanes and flooding do this to people, but not on this magnitude.  This has just been amazing. 

GANGEL:  Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Vincent Laforet of “The New York Times” is home now.  He is only 30 years old, but says the story changed his life. 

VINCENT LAFORET, “NEW YORK TIMES” PHOTOGRAPHER:   Everywhere I looked, the picture was literally popping right out at me.  As a photographer, this was one of the easiest assignments I have ever had to photograph.  As a human being, it was the toughest. 

GANGEL:  Each photographer captured so many heartbreaking moments. 

Vincent was overwhelmed by this little girl just rescued by a volunteer. 

LAFORET:  I have never seen a little girl basically say, my life is in your hands; you‘re my savior; and please get me out of here; I‘m scared. 

GANGEL:  But there were countless other visions, of frustration, of fear, of the harsh reality. 

GAY:  Death is hard.  There‘s just nothing easy about it.  It was difficult.  It‘s very difficult. 

GANGEL:  There were also surreal scenes they still can‘t believe. 

LAFORET:  What are you thinking when you‘re spiraling underneath this helicopter—you‘re not exactly trained for this—in a T-shirt, leaving everything you own beneath you?

GANGEL:  What kept them going?  Witnessing perseverance and optimism. 

LAFORET:  What was up lifting was the heroism of the people I was photographing and their care for the other people. 

GANGEL:  Their most important photos?  For Vincent, it was the horrific scene at the airport. 

LAFORET:  I have to say, the most important one was the conveyer belt image. 

GANGEL (on camera):  Because? 

LAFORET:  I never would have imagined in my worst nightmare that this would happen in this country.  I have to hope that, somehow, my making that image and it ending up on the front page of “The New York Times” woke a few people up back at home. 

GANGEL (voice-over):  For Eric, it was this rescue. 

GAY:  Just knowing that they had beat this thing and they were going to survive and live on.  It was just—just a happy time. 

GANGEL:  Through it all, they hope their work will resonate and send a message. 

GAY:  The resolve of humans to pull together and just overcome just so many different obstacles, it just always amazes me. 

LAFORET:  The only thing that is important to me is for people not to forget.  That‘s all I can say.  Don‘t forget.  These people, they really, really need all the help they can get, because they have nothing. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  So important, what they did.  You know, they did bring this story to life for so many Americans who couldn‘t begin to imagine what was going on along the Gulf Coast.  And they are owed a great deal for that. 

And when we come back, our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champions, kids doing their best to help other kids devastated by Katrina. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hurricane Ophelia is brewing off the coast of Florida right now, going out in the Atlantic, but it is expected to slam on shore early this week, they say possibly along the Georgia border or into South Carolina.  We will be following that throughout the hour and throughout the rest of the weekend. 

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, this week, it was so hard to pick a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion, because so many Americans out there are stepping up to help their neighbors, you know, not just individuals, companies, corporations, churches, community activists, so many people Coming together to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. 

But, tonight, we honor those children who are coming up with creative ways to help other children. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEVIN TIBBLES, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Seven-year-old Zach Cohen (ph) determined to knock on every door in the Chicago suburb, seeking stuffed animals to kids who lost all in the United States. 

(on camera):  So what was your idea? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My idea was to get stuffed animals, because stuffed animals make kids feel safe. 

TIBBLES:  His small venture now fills his parent‘s garage. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have 554 stuffed animals. 

TIBBLES:  And that number is growing daily, from makeshift lemonade stands in Florida...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Help the victims of hurricane... 

(CROSSTALK)

TIBBLES:  To 8-year-old Logan Schwartz in Los Angeles, $3,000 raised through lemonade, cookies and donations. 

LOGAN SCHWARTZ, 8 YEARS OLD:  I‘m happy that I‘m raising a lot of money for the people in New Orleans, or, as my friend would say, New Orleans. 

TIBBLES:  This is Operation Backpack, for kids, by kids, at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland.  Thousands donated, each one filled with pencils, crayons, books and hope. 

Back in his kitchen, Zach Cohen is working on ways to distribute hundreds of stuffed animals to kids throughout the hurricane zone. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Sweet dreams.

TIBBLES:  But, for now, it‘s past his bedtime. 

Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Highland Park, Illinois. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  I will tell you, that‘s so fantastic, these kids learning early on that they have got a responsibility to step forward and help others who are in need. 

You know, that‘s all the time we have for tonight.  But thanks so much for being here.  We are going to have live coverage all weekend. 

But, right now, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts next—

Tucker.

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

END   

Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,