Former New Orleans mayor Nagin charged with bribery, fraud
January 18th, 2013
02:43 PM ET

Former New Orleans mayor Nagin charged with bribery, fraud

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who captured the drama of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 with an "SOS" call to the nation, was indicted Friday on 21 federal corruption charges, including bribery, money laundering, fraud and filing false tax returns.

Nagin (pictured) allegedly defrauded the city through "a bribery and kickback scheme" in which he received checks, cash, wire transfers, personal services and free travel from businessmen seeking contracts and favorable treatment from the city, the 25-page federal indictment says.

Read the indictment

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Hurricane Katrina • Louisiana • New Orleans • Politics
August 28th, 2012
11:11 PM ET

Isaac 'producing a dangerous storm surge' along northern Gulf Coast

Governments, business and residents in New Orleans and the central Gulf coast rushed Tuesday to complete last-minute preparations to bear the brunt of Hurricane  Isaac.

The storm made initial landfall Tuesday evening as a Category 1 hurricane after graduating from tropical storm status Tuesday afternoon.

Read the full story here.

[Updated 11:29 p.m. ET]

[Updated 11:11 p.m. ET] Hurricane Isaac is "producing a dangerous storm surge" along the northern Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m. ET update. Flooding from heavy rainfall will follow the storm surge, the NHC said.

At 11 p.m. ET, the storm's center of circulation was about 75 southeast of Houma, Louisiana, or 75 miles south-southeast of New Orleans, still moving at 8 mph with 80 mph maximum sustained winds.

[Updated 11:01 p.m. ET] Designer John Nelson created this fascinating and oddly beautiful visualization of every hurricane recorded since 1851. It's reproduced by Fast Company.

The image takes some getting used to, as it employs a southern polar projection; that is, Antarctica is in the center of the picture, with the other continents extending away from it. Hovering your mouse over the map enlarges an area so you can see greater detail.

Nelson created the map using data from NASA Visible Earth and NOAA International Best Track Archive, according to Fast Company.

[Updated 10:45 p.m. ET] Tropical Depression 11 rapidly intensified Tuesday evening and became the 11th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Kirk, the National Hurricane Center said. Kirk is located in the middle Atlantic and is not likely to become a threat to land.

[Updated 10:40 p.m. ET] Utility companies in four states report more than 200,000 customers have lost power because of Hurricane Isaac, all but 1,000 of them in Louisiana.


August 27th, 2012
11:17 PM ET

Storm surges up to 12 feet predicted

Thousands of people on the Gulf Coast have been told to leave ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac. Forecasters warn the storm will gain strength and is following the path Hurricane Katrina took seven years ago.

The tropical storm was expected to make landfall late Tuesday or Wednesday, coinciding with the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, though as a much weaker Category 1 hurricane, compared with 2005's monster storm.

Read the full story here.

[Updated 5 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac is still a tropical storm and is located 125 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving northwest at 12 mph.

[Updated 4:35 a.m. ET Tuesday] The top sustained winds early Tuesday morning are 70 mph. The storm is expected to become a hurricane today.

[Updated 11:17 p.m. ET] The National Hurricane Center projected storm surges of 3 to 6 feet for the Florida Panhandle, 6 to 9 feet for the Alabama coast and 6 to 12 feet for the Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana shores.

[Updated 10:02 p.m. ET] Here's another way people can help their neighbors, at this location and others:

[Updated 9:54 p.m. ET] Mandatory evacuations are under way in the low-lying coastal areas of Mississippi's Hancock County, which includes Bay St. Louis and Waveland.


Ex-New Orleans cops get prison time in Danziger Bridge shootings
The shootings happened on Danziger Bridge six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when Hurricane Katrina hit.
April 4th, 2012
07:44 PM ET

Ex-New Orleans cops get prison time in Danziger Bridge shootings

A federal judge Wednesday sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said.

The shootings occurred on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when the powerful hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast. The ex-officers were convicted in August on a combined 25 counts of civil rights violations.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt imposed the stiffest sentence on former officer Robert Faulcon, who was handed a 65-year term for his involvement in shooting two of the victims. Former sergeants Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius got 40 years for their roles in the incident, while ex-officer Robert Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years.

The lightest term went to former detective sergeant Arthur Kaufman, who was sentenced to six years for attempting to cover up what the officers had done, according to the U.S. attorney's office in New Orleans.

The men were accused of opening fire on an unarmed family, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Minutes later, Faulcon shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man described by Justice Department officials as having severe mental disabilities and who was trying to flee the scene when he was shot, according to the Justice Department.

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Filed under: Crime • Hurricane Katrina • Louisiana
Superdome gets a new name
The Superdome has hosted six Super Bowls, four NCAA Final Four events and three BCS National Championship games.
October 4th, 2011
01:55 PM ET

Superdome gets a new name

The Louisiana Superdome - long a holdout against a wave of deals that renamed stadiums across the country - is being renamed the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a 10-year agreement between the German vehicle manufacturer and the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.

The Saints, who gained the right to market the dome’s name in a 2009 lease extension with the state of Louisiana, announced the deal this week, and a news conference was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Financial terms were not immediately released, but a portion of the proceeds is expected to reduce or eliminate state subsidies for the team, the Saints said in a news release.

The state had agreed in the 2009 lease deal to give the team financial incentives through 2025, according to WVUE. But the state let the Saints market the dome’s name with the understanding that much of the proceeds would replace the state’s direct obligation to the team, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported.

“This announcement today means we are gaining the partnership of a world-class company while generating savings for Louisiana taxpayers," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in the Saints’ news release. “This partnership agreement is estimated to significantly reduce or eliminate taxpayer funding currently spent to support the Saints.”


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Filed under: Hurricane Katrina • Louisiana
Gotta Watch: Children coping with tragedy
CNN spoke to children who lost a loved one on 9/11 about their feelings and where they are now.
September 12th, 2011
12:23 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Children coping with tragedy

It was an especially reflective weekend as the United States and much of the world looked back on the lives lost in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. CNN had a chance to talk to several young people who lost a parent that day. In today's Gotta Watch, we present highlights from those interviews, and look back at how children caught in the middle of another national disaster - Hurricane Katrina - looked at their city two years later.

'Nobody else has lost a parent on national television' - Some of the children who lost a parent on 9/11 say they have little or no memory of that day. Watch here as they talk about life growing without a mother or father, the "nightmare" talk that daddy wasn't coming home and the scrutiny they face as "9/11 kids."

'The lost city' - In February 2007, CNN's Soledad O'Brien handed out video cameras to a group of students who lived through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Here, they spoke with director Spike Lee about feelings of being forgotten and what the world didn't see two years after the storm.

On the Radar: Atlantic storms, Libya and Petraeus' promotion
Route 107 is seen destroyed after floodwaters receded Tuesday in Bethel, Vermont.
August 31st, 2011
08:34 AM ET

On the Radar: Atlantic storms, Libya and Petraeus' promotion

Irene recovery under way as Katia forms - States in the Northeast - particularly Vermont, New Jersey and New York, which saw the worst of Irene's wrath - were struggling with basic recovery efforts: rebuilding roads and bridges, restoring power and stemming the flow of floodwaters after Hurricane Irene struck this weekend. The Passaic River in northern New Jersey was still making the town of Little Falls look more like Niagara Falls. A resident in Montclair said the Passaic was high before Irene, but after the hurricane's rains, "the river began to rage."

One Vermont town hit hard by Irene decided to look for a silver lining. Some Pittsfield residents - there are only 427 of them in all - decided to throw a barbecue. Homes were underwater and roads were impassable, but they nonetheless gathered at a local park for hot dogs and hamburgers. Said Jason Evans, owner of the ski town's Clear River Tavern, "No one in this town was expecting the flooding to be what it was, and we've all gotta eat."

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Katia was strengthening in the Atlantic Ocean and threatening to become a hurricane by Wednesday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said. Early Wednesday, the storm was almost 1,000 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, moving west-northwest at 21 mph. Katia could grow into a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph by Saturday evening, forecasters said. It is too early to say if or when the storm will make landfall.


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Filed under: District of Columbia • Hurricane Irene • Hurricane Katrina • Hurricanes • Libya • Military • Natural Disasters • New Jersey • New York • Pentagon • Tropical weather • U.S. • Vermont • Weather • World
New Orleans police convicted in post-Katrina shootings
The shootings happened on Danziger Bridge six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when Hurricane Katrina hit.
August 5th, 2011
01:49 PM ET

New Orleans police convicted in post-Katrina shootings

Five current or former police officers were found guilty Friday of deprivation of rights and other civil rights violations tied to fatal shootings on New Orleans' Danziger Bridge in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said.


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Filed under: Civil Rights • Crime • Hurricane Katrina • Louisiana • Natural Disasters • Weather
Friday's intriguing people
Kelly Gneiting prepares to wrestle during the 2005 USA National Sumo Championship in North Bergen, New Jersey.
March 18th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Kelly Gneiting

The 40-year-old sumo wrestler, who weighs 405 pounds and has a 60-inch waist, is training to run 26.2 miles in the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday. Should he manage it, Guinness World Records is prepared to recognize him as the heaviest person ever to finish a marathon.

Gneiting took up sumo wrestling in the late 1990s and has won three U.S. championships. Running a marathon has been his goal since grade school, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

Gneiting lives on an Indian reservation in Arizona, the Times says, and has a master's degree in geography from the University of Idaho, according to a bio at His wife and five children live in Idaho.

"I honestly think I'm one of the best athletes in the world," he says.


Former officer gets 8 years for New Orleans bridge shooting
December 1st, 2010
07:47 PM ET

Former officer gets 8 years for New Orleans bridge shooting

A former New Orleans police officer was sentenced to 8 years in prison Wednesday in connection with a police-involved shooting on the Danziger Bridge that left two civilians dead and four wounded shortly after Hurricane Katrina.

Michael Hunter pleaded guilty in April in federal court to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and concealing a known crime. He was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison and three years of supervised release.

Hunter and other officers drove to the Danziger Bridge on Sept. 4, 2005, in response to a radio call that said officers on the nearby I-10 bridge had come under fire, the Department of Justice said in a press release.

Hunter admitted that officers on the east side of the Danziger Bridge fired at people even though they did not appear to have any weapons, according to the DOJ. 

Hunter also admitted to firing repeatedly at people who were running away over the bridge even though they did not appear to have weapons or pose a threat to officers as they ran up the bridge.

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Filed under: Crime • Hurricane Katrina • Louisiana
August 29th, 2010
08:27 AM ET

Stories from Hurricane Katrina, five years later

5 Years Later: Hearing the people, seeing the places hit by Hurricane Katrina

Less than a month before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Cynthia Morrison decided to buy a house in the city. Five months after the storm, she returned and began to rebuild, as did so many who have given all to the city they love.

"I felt like New Orleans was a person that I had just let go, somebody that I loved, and I felt like I had to come back," Morrison said. "I really felt like I didn't have a choice. I couldn't see myself happy anywhere else." READ MORRISON'S ENTIRE STORY

On Sunday, the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall, President Obama will travel to New Orleans to give a speech at Xavier University. READ FULL STORY ABOUT OBAMA'S TRIP

The president is likely to be shown how the city and areas ravaged by the storm have been given loving care over the years, and spots that remain unchanged. CNN's iReporters pitched in to create a visually stunning portrait of what hurricane damaged streets and homes looked like then and now. Ray Nagin, the controversial mayor of New Orleans when Katrina hit, also looks back, remarking to CNN "I have given my pound of flesh." 

Many more stories to come today. Go to for continuing coverage of the anniversary.

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Filed under: Hurricane Katrina • Louisiana
August 27th, 2010
09:34 AM ET

On the Radar: Trapped miners, N. Korea release, GPS ruling

Trapped miners - The 33 men trapped in a Chile mine since August 5 sent a video message to their families Thursday expressing thanks for the efforts under way to free them and displaying occasional flashes of humor and patriotism.

Throughout the 25-minute, high-definition video, one miner guided the hand-held camera ahead of him, its path illuminated by the light on his mining helmet. The video views are grainy and sometimes out of focus. The footage shows the 50-square-meter living space occupied by the men since they were trapped 2,300 feet below ground. Some appear heavily bearded, all of them are stripped to the waist. A thermometer shows 29.5 degrees Celsius (85.1 F), a little cooler than officials had estimated.

Carter secures American's release - Former President Carter is expected to arrive Friday in the United States with an American citizen who was imprisoned in North Korea after entering it illegally in January, said the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.


August 27th, 2010
08:55 AM ET

In the shadow of the levees

When Sonya Hill opens the door of her rebuilt shotgun house in the Lower 9th Ward she faces a reminder of the devastation Katrina brought. Directly across from her house is the spot where the levee broke five years ago.

It has since been rebuilt and sits higher than before the storm. It is an impressive wall of gray concrete meant to offer protection from future storms, but for Sonya Hill it is a reminder of everything that can go wrong.

“Looking at that wall, I’m thinking what if it breaks again? What if it breaks right in front of my door and I’m inside with my kids? I don’t feel safe back here if a hurricane comes through,” she says.


August 26th, 2010
11:32 AM ET

5 years after Katrina: Fighting back, rebuilding

Imagine your entire town just washing away.

That happened in 2005 to Waveland, Mississippi, during Hurricane Katrina. CNN returns to Waveland and talks to the hard working people who rebuilt the town.  Libraries, roads, school and parks have reopened and 60 percent of the businesses are back. And CNN's iReport pulls together a haunting photography project of areas ravaged by the storm - what they looked like then, and what they look like today.

Also, CNN's Drew Griffin examines the mysterious deaths of nine patients found dead during Hurricane Katrina in a New Orleans hospital. Officials determined that the patients were sedated to death.