Four NFL players suspended in Saints bounty case
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is suspended for one season, accused by the NFL of helping to run the bounty program.
May 2nd, 2012
12:12 PM ET

Four NFL players suspended in Saints bounty case

[Updated at 12:47 p.m. ET] The NFL on Wednesday suspended four current or former New Orleans Saints players for varying lengths - including linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012-2013 season - for their roles in a scandal involving bonuses for trying to hurt opponents.

The league said the suspended players - Vilma, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith - had leadership roles in the pay-for-injury program, for which the NFL suspended three coaches and the Saints' general manager earlier this year.

Vilma, a defensive captain, helped the team's defensive coordinator establish and fund the program, the league said in a news release.

"Multiple independent sources also confirmed that Vilma offered a specific bounty - $10,000 in cash - to any player who knocked Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner out of the 2009 Divisional Playoff Game and later pledged the same amount to anyone who knocked Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship Game the following week," the league said.

In March, the NFL said an investigation found the Saints had an "active bounty program" during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. During this time, players were purportedly offered "bounty" payments if they managed to hurt opposing players and knock them out of a game.

The following are the details of the other players' suspensions:

- Hargrove, a defensive lineman now with the Green Bay Packers, is suspended without pay for the first eight games of the season. The league said Hargrove told at least one player on another team that Favre was a target of a large bounty during January's NFC Championship Game. "Hargrove also actively obstructed the league’s 2010 investigation into the program by being untruthful to investigators," the league said.

- Smith, a Saints defensive end, is suspended without pay for the first four games of the season. Smith, while a defensive captain, assisted the defensive coordinator "in establishing and funding the program," the NFL said. "Multiple independent sources also confirmed that Smith pledged significant sums to the program pool for 'cart-offs' and 'knockouts' of opposing players," the league said.

- Fujita, a linebacker now with the Cleveland Browns, is suspended without pay for the first three games of the season. He "pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool during the 2009 NFL Playoffs when he played for the Saints," the league said. "The pool to which he pledged paid large cash rewards for 'cart-offs' and 'knockouts,' plays during which an opposing player was injured."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an NFL news release, "No bounty program can exist without active player participation. The evidence clearly showed that the players being held accountable today willingly and enthusiastically embraced the bounty program. Players put the vast majority of the money into this program and they share responsibility for playing by the rules and protecting each other within those rules.”

In March, the NFL handed down an indefinite ban to Gregg Williams, the former Saints defensive coordinator who, in this past off-season, moved over to take that same position with the St. Louis Rams.

The NFL in March also suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton for the 2012-2013 season and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for that season's first eight regular-season games. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt was suspended without pay for the first six regular-season games.

The league said in April that it might consider "modifying the forfeiture" of the 2013 draft pick for the Saints, assuming other conditions are met.

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Filed under: Football • Louisiana • Pro football • Sports
April 6th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Players react with disgust to Gregg Williams ordering Saints to target 49ers' heads, knees

In many ways, the "kill the head" speech by former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams sounds like typical pregame, fire-up-the-troops rhetoric, but former and current players say there are several instances where the now-suspended coach crossed the line.

The speech has added new fire to an already scalding scandal in which the NFL alleges that the Saints administered a bounty program aimed at taking out opposing players.

The day before the Saints' January 14 playoff clash with the San Francisco 49ers, Williams started his speech by instructing his team to never apologize for how they play. No big deal.

Williams goes on to say, "Kill the head, the body will die," a twist on the frequent tutelage of boxer "Smokin'" Joe Frazier. It sounds nefarious given the recent attention given to concussions in football, but it could probably be written off as normal locker room bravado.

Except, and this is a big except, Williams starts naming players by name, and what's more, he starts naming anatomy: tight end Vernon Davis' ankle, running back Frank Gore's head, quarterback Alex Smith's chin and wide receiver Michael Crabtree's "outside ACL."

Former Detroit Lions cornerback Lamar Campbell, who retired in 2004, told the Detroit Free Press that Williams' speech began like many that Campbell heard during his playing days. Listening to it made him reminisce at first.

“You hear, ‘Knock the (expletive) out of him,’ and, ‘Kick his ass,’ and I love, ‘They’re going to be shocked with our contact, they’re going to be shocked with our speed, they’re going to be shocked with the way we strip,’ ” Campbell said Thursday. “I felt nostalgic reading it and then I get to a line that says, ‘Let’s see how many times we can bull rush and get that outside ACL,’ and it’s like, hold up. You had me and then, ‘Go get this guy’s ACL?’ Are you serious?”

Perhaps most disturbingly, Gregg Williams demands a big hit on kick returner Kyle Williams because of a recent concussion, something the New York Giants' Jacquian Williams and Devin Thomas caught heat for the following week when they said the same thing.

"We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head," Gregg Williams said on the tape. "We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways."

This could simply mean Williams wants his defense in the backfield so quickly that Gore has trouble getting upfield, that he wants Gore running east and west rather than north and south. Again, probably pretty typical of the instructions that defensive coordinators give to their men.

Even Williams' invocation to "knock the f*** out of" backup running back Kendall Hunter isn't as bad as it initially sounds because he follows it with world-class hyperbole.


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Filed under: Football • Lawsuit • Louisiana • Pro football • Sports • U.S.
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
NFL suspends Saints coach, ex-coordinator over bounty program
Saints head coach Sean Payton's one-year suspension begins April 1 as a result of his team's bounty program.
March 21st, 2012
02:01 PM ET

NFL suspends Saints coach, ex-coordinator over bounty program

[Updated at 2:01 p.m. ET] The NFL is suspending former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely and Saints head coach Sean Payton for one year because of the team's bounty program, the league said Wednesday.

The Saints also will be fined $500,000 and will forfeit their second-round selections in the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts, the league said.

In addition, the league is suspending Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season, and Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt for the first six regular-season games, the NFL said in a statement.

“A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the statement. “When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.”


Soccer standout, homecoming queen tries out for LSU football
Ex-LSU soccer star Mo Isom would like to bring her kicking talents to one of the best football programs in the nation.
March 9th, 2012
04:57 PM ET

Soccer standout, homecoming queen tries out for LSU football

Mo Isom already has been quite a presence at Louisiana State. The first LSU athlete to be voted homecoming queen, she was one of the top goalkeepers in the Southeastern Conference for four years, displaying not only useful shot-stopping skills but also the type of powerful kicks that score goals from the other end of the soccer field.

Now she’s trying to show her kicking power translates to that, ahem, other kind of football. The one on the gridiron, where LSU fields one of the best programs in the country.

Isom, a 21-year-old whose collegiate soccer career wrapped up last fall, is one of a few students trying out for placekicker on LSU's football team - last year's national championship runners-up - this month.

She faces gigantic odds. LSU is returning its starting field goal kicker - Drew Alleman, who tied for the nation’s best field goal percentage at 88.9% last year - and kickoff specialist James Hairston.

But she made some long field goals and deep kickoffs in tryouts this week, and she says she’d be ready to take some big hits in one of the nation’s premier football conferences, the SEC.

“Do you see my size?” Isom told CNN affiliate WBRZ on Thursday, the second day of placekicker tryouts at LSU. “Everyone thinks that I am the average size and weight of a female. I am 6-foot-1, almost, and weigh about 190 pounds. Yes, I just said that on camera. It is all muscle."


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Filed under: College football • Football • Louisiana • Sports
March 1st, 2012
08:16 AM ET

RIP tees: In Murder City, a market for wearable memorials

Markets are telling. The best indicators of a region’s demands are the items it keeps in plentiful supply.

In New Orleans, residents demand ways to honor their slain loved ones. With a murder rate that has been tops in the nation for years, perhaps it’s no surprise that a number of custom T-shirt companies specialize in wearable memorials.

The city’s Times-Picayune newspaper wrote in 2004 that RIP tees were becoming as common as flowers at funerals, but filmmaker John Richie found more recently that, for many T-shirt shops, the shirts are a mainstay of their revenue.

Check out the's story on the violence plaguing New Orleans

Lawrence Elzy, owner of Exclusive Tees in the 7th Ward, told Richie during a documentary shoot that there are roughly 20 shops like his in a 3-square-mile area.

“If I’m too busy, my customer will go to another shop, and if they’re too busy, their customer will come here. There’s not a shortage,” he said.

When Elzy first opened, he wanted to focus on birthdays, family reunions, “things more of the living,” but he quickly realized it wasn’t a sound business plan.

“You can survive without doing Rest In Peace shirts, but your business will never grow - because of New Orleans.”


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Filed under: Crime • Drug violence • Drugs • Economy • Justice • Louisiana • U.S.
February 20th, 2012
02:13 PM ET

Strict new French Quarter curfew nets almost 200 Mardi Gras arrests

New Orleans’ infamous French Quarter is awash in memorable sights and sounds, especially during the busiest and most colorful weekend of the year - the one just before Mardi Gras Day. However, a strict tightening of the city’s curfew policy means revelers under the age of 16 must now be accompanied by a guardian if they’re going to visit the French Quarter after 8 p.m.

Proponents of the new curfew include New Orleans Police Cmdr. Jeffrey Walls, who’s quick to cite an ever-present mix of booze, nudity and violence as the reason for the change.

“We were having kids that were being victims and perpetrators of crimes,” argued Walls, who said prevention is his primary focus in the crackdown.

The newly strengthened curfew regulations apply seven days a week, but only in the French Quarter and the nearby Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Other areas of the city will continue to enforce an 11 p.m. curfew for those under 16, which was already on the books.

New Orleans City Council members unanimously passed the curfew change in January. Like many things in New Orleans, the change did not come without controversy. Critics have called the new curfew racist, arguing the new law specifically targets African-American neighborhoods where, they say, the presence of poor, black youth is too often considered a blight on the city’s treasured tourism and revenue.

Walls, tasked with leading the nightly curfew enforcement in the raucous French Quarter district, maintains it’s strictly “a public safety issue."

"It keeps the kids safe," Walls said. "This is an adult entertainment area. It's not like Disney World. … There’s really no reason for kids to be out after 8 o’clock unsupervised."


Will Ferrell pokes fun at NBA players in lineup intros
Will Ferrell brings his unique take on the starting lineup before the Hornets-Bulls game Wednesday night in New Orleans.
February 9th, 2012
04:12 PM ET

Will Ferrell pokes fun at NBA players in lineup intros

Poor New Orleans Hornets fans. The NBA team started the season miserably at 4-21, and ticket holders entered the New Orleans Arena on Wednesday night for what was probably going to be a beatdown by the 21-6 Chicago Bulls.

At least the Hornets faithful got some smiles on their faces before the drubbing, thanks to extended-stay visitor and actor/comedian Will Ferrell.

Ferrell, in New Orleans to shoot the movie "Dog Fight," introduced the starting lineups Wednesday night. And as Ferrell told it, Chicago Bulls star Carlos Boozer was not only a 6-foot-9 forward but also someone who "still stays with his mother."

Ferrell took biographic license with all 10 starters, sprinkling their introductions with presumably not-exactly-true nuggets and aspirations, such as Hornets guard Jarrett Jack wanting to become a rodeo clown, Bulls forward Luol Deng owning a pet dolphin named Chachi, Bulls guard Derrick Rose claiming "The Notebook" as his favorite movie, and Bulls center Joakim Noah being a horrible dancer.

(Well, he may have gotten that last one right.)


The players seemed to go along with the ribbing by Ferrell, who played an ABA player/team owner in the 2008 movie "Semi-Pro." Hornets center Emeka Okafor looked like he was amused after hearing that at the University of Connecticut, he "majored in econ, but he minored in love."

After the game, which the Bulls won in a 90-67 blowout, Deng claimed he didn't hear his intro. But having learned about it later, he said he felt the Funny or Die co-creator let him off easy.


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Filed under: Basketball • Louisiana • NBA • Showbiz • Sports • Will Ferrell
January 26th, 2012
03:01 PM ET

Suspect in priest's death found dead in jail

A man accused of killing a Louisiana priest in Mississippi was found dead in his jail cell Thursday morning, a Mississippi Department of Corrections spokeswoman said.

Jeremy Manieri, 33, was being held in a jail in Pearl, Mississippi. An investigation into Manieri's death has begun, corrections spokeswoman Tara Booth said.

Manieri was charged with shooting the Rev. Ed Everitt, 70, in July 2011 at a beach house in Waveland, Mississippi.

Everitt, who presided over the Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Hammond, Louisiana, had been vacationing in Waveland when he was killed, the Southern Dominican Province order of friars has said.


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Filed under: Crime • Louisiana • Mississippi
New Orleans tightens kids' French Quarter curfew
Supporters of the change say the district's booze and adult entertainment make it no place for children after 8 p.m.
January 6th, 2012
12:50 PM ET

New Orleans tightens kids' French Quarter curfew

New Orleans' longstanding citywide curfew for unescorted juveniles is about to get tighter in the city's famed French Quarter.

The City Council on Thursday voted to bar people 16 and younger from the district, plus parts of the Faubourg Marigny area, after 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday - making the weekend curfew the same as the rest of the week.

Since 1994, juveniles citywide have had an 8 p.m. curfew Sunday through Thursday (9 p.m. in the summer). But they have been allowed to be out until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Supporters of the change say the district's booze and adult entertainment make it no place for children after 8 p.m. on any day, and they hope it helps cut down on crime and underage drinking, CNN affiliates WWL-TV and WDSU reported.

"They should not be in a place that has over 350 alcohol beverage outlets and has countless strip clubs," French Quarter Management District Chairwoman Kim Rosenberg said, according to WWL.

The proposal prompted some controversy, with some council meeting attendees saying that the move appeared to show members caring more about tourists and the district's white-owned businesses than the rest of the city, the Times-Picayune reported.

Council members have said they will soon consider tightening the curfew citywide.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office said he would sign the French Quarter/Faubourg Marigny measure Friday, WWL reported. The changes would technically go into effect Monday, but because the curfew already is 8 p.m. on weekdays, the first real change would happen January 13.

The curfew has many exceptions, including those for children who are accompanied by a parent or guardian, children who are on their home property or that of a neighbor, or children who are with a church or school group.

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Filed under: Louisiana
Two killed, dozens injured in 40-vehicle wreck in New Orleans
These vehicles were part of the wreck in eastern New Orleans on Thursday morning.
December 29th, 2011
09:49 AM ET

Two killed, dozens injured in 40-vehicle wreck in New Orleans

[Updated at 10:33 a.m. ET] Two people were killed and more than 50 others injured Thursday in a 40-vehicle pileup that shut down Interstate 10 in eastern New Orleans, authorities said.

Both eastbound and westbound lanes were closed following the crashes, which began about 4 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET), said Garry Flot, New Orleans police spokesman. It was unknown how long the interstate would be closed, he said.

Twenty-two people were transported to hospitals with minor to critical injuries. Another 37 complained of minor injuries at the scene but refused medical care, Flot said.

One firefighter suffered a cut on his face while performing his duties at the scene, Flot said. He was taken to a local hospital for stitches.

WWL: Two killed in I-10 wreck in New Orleans

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Filed under: Louisiana
November 16th, 2011
11:03 AM ET

Suspected tornadoes, storms cause damage in La., Miss.

Severe weather including suspected tornadoes swept through parts of Louisiana and Mississippi early Wednesday, causing some structural damage, officials said.

No injuries were immediately reported.

A suspected tornado in Tangipahoa Parish moved a home with four people inside off its foundation, but no one was hurt, according to the National Weather Service. A possible tornado also touched down near Kentwood, Louisiana, according to parish emergency management authorities.

$1M winner credits cashier’s mistake
Louisiana Lottery President Rose Hudson (center) presents a check to Robert Thibodaux Sr. and his wife, Brenda.
November 10th, 2011
08:47 PM ET

$1M winner credits cashier’s mistake

A Louisiana lottery winner says a cashier’s mistake made him hundreds of thousands of dollars richer than he should be.

Robert Thibodaux Sr., of Thibodaux, Louisiana, on Thursday claimed a $1 million Powerball prize at the state’s lottery headquarters, an amount five times greater than it would have been had a clerk not mistakenly upgraded his ticket, he said.

“I’m a lucky person - I won a lot of money. But this lady who sold me the ticket is a big part of this,” Thibodaux said Thursday at Louisiana Lottery headquarters in Baton Rouge.

Thibodaux, 70, matched five numbers in the October 29 drawing but missed the Powerball number, Louisiana lottery officials said. Ordinarily, that would win a $200,000 prize.

But when he bought that and a second Powerball ticket at a Shop Rite in Thibodaux, a cashier mistakenly added the Power Play option to both, he said. That option, which cost Thibodaux $1 extra per ticket, multiplies non-jackpot prizes by up to five times.


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Filed under: Lotto • Louisiana
November 6th, 2011
12:10 AM ET

LSU beats Alabama with overtime field goal

College football's top-ranked LSU Tigers defeated the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide 9-6 in overtime Saturday night.

LSU won the coin toss in overtime, electing to start on defense. The Crimson Tide's offense sputtered in the extra session with two incomplete passes, a penalty for having 12 men in the huddle and a 5-yard sack.

Cade Foster, Alabama's placekicker, who had already missed three field goals earlier, missed another from 52 yards out.

After that, LSU marched down the field, nearly scoring a touchdown but running back Michael Ford stepped out of bounds.

LSU elected to attempt a field goal and Drew Alleman– who kicked two field goals earlier - hit the 25-yard game-winner.

The game, before a Bryant-Denny Stadium crowd in Tuscaloosa, mainly witnessed field goals and punts. Neither team scored a single touchdown.

The low score might be surprising, given that the teams totaled 45 points in 2010, 39 in 2009 and 48 in 2008.

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Filed under: Alabama • College football • Football • Louisiana • Sports
November 1st, 2011
08:38 AM ET

2 dead, 10 hurt in New Orleans Halloween shootings

Two people died and at least 10 others were injured in separate shootings in New Orleans early Tuesday, including one on Bourbon Street where costumed revelers were celebrating Halloween.

The first shooting, just after midnight outside a Bourbon Street nightclub, sent people running for cover, CNN affiliate WWL reported.

\A 25-year-old man was shot several times and died at a hospital, police said. Seven other people, ranging in age from 19 to 50, were also injured.

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Filed under: Crime • Louisiana
At Occupy New Orleans, ‘It’s about a discussion’
Occupy New Orleans protesters gather in New Orleans on October 16.
October 21st, 2011
08:48 PM ET

At Occupy New Orleans, ‘It’s about a discussion’

In New Orleans, Occupy Wall Street-style protesters say they want two things: an honest discussion and a little recognition.

Mindy Diez, a 26-year-old teacher taking part in Occupy New Orleans protests, said she believes that what the movement is doing for people on a personal level is as important as what it is doing nationally.

Diez said that for years, whenever she talked politics with her dad, the conversations would fall apart. But she said that since she has joined the Occupy movement, she’s had sustained talks with her dad, focusing on “issues rather than political players.”

“I think it’s larger than a protest,” Diez said. “It’s about a discussion.”

Fellow protester Joshua Liggin agreed. “I think it’s good, in general, that people are just gathering to talk about what’s upsetting them. That we’re actually articulating our problems and not just letting it pass us by.”

That is something the Occupy movement seems to excel at. Participants, a diverse group, are talking. A recent sampling by Princeton University shows the Occupy protesters in New York span all economic and social demographics, with the vast majority of people saying they are political independents.

While there has been no sampling of the smaller New Orleans movement, participants appear to be just as diverse, with seniors and young people camping at Duncan Plaza in the city’s financial district.

Scott Khiavatta, a self-described libertarian, is one of the semi-regulars at the New Orleans camp. He said the movement is about “people being recognized as people fed up with a corrupt system.”

Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's John Sepulvado:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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."

[cnn-video url=""%5D

'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.

[cnn-video url=""%5D
At least 4 dead as what remains of Lee storm moves north
The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee brought down trees and damaged homes in Woodstock, Georgia, on Monday.
September 6th, 2011
05:56 PM ET

At least 4 dead as what remains of Lee storm moves north

[5:47 p.m. ET] Former Tropical Storm Lee left at least four people dead as it crossed Southern states.

In Gwinnett County, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, firefighters said Tuesday they found the body of a man who drowned in a rain-swollen creek near Norcross. He was one of two men who were trying to walk across the creek Monday "when a sudden gush of rushing water swept them over into the middle of the creek," the Gwinnett Fire Department said.

The creek was estimated to be 8 to 10 feet deep near the spillway where the two were swept away. The first man held onto the second but eventually lost his grip. He was washed downstream as well but managed to escape the water.

In Baldwin County, Alabama, police said they no longer believe a missing 16-year-old boy is alive. The teen was last seen on a beach near Gulf Shores on Sunday, said sheriff's spokesman Maj. Anthony Lowery. Lowery said Tuesday hopes of him coming to shore have faded.

A flooding death was also reported in rural northeast Mississippi, where one person drowned after floodwaters swept away a vehicle in Tishomingo County, emergency officials said.

In addition, a woman died in Chattanooga, Tennessee, early Tuesday. A woman went outside about 12:30 a.m. to move her vehicle and was struck by a tree, said police Sgt. Jerri Weary. About 30,000 people in the area were without power as of Tuesday morning, Weary said, and several roads were closed because of flooding.

As of 5 p.m. ET, the center of what remained of former Tropical Storm Lee was located about 115 miles northwest of Atlanta and was nearly stationary, the National Weather Service's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center said Tuesday.

Winds of up to 30 mph may accompany the rain.


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Filed under: Alabama • Flooding • Georgia • Louisiana • Mississippi • Tennessee • Tornadoes • Tropical weather • Weather
September 5th, 2011
05:15 PM ET

Soggy Lee plods north; storm damage reported in Georgia

[Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET] More than 100 homes in north suburban Atlanta were damaged by heavy thunderstorms and possible tornadoes as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee swept through the area Monday, authorities reported.

At least one person was rescued from the basement of a collapsed home near Woodstock, about 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Cherokee County Emergency Management Supervisor Robby Westbrook told CNN. He said sheriff's deputies counted more than 100 homes damaged in a roughly five-mile stretch around the town.

And Cherokee County Fire Department spokesman Tim Cavender said several trees were knocked down around Holly Springs, about five miles north of Woodstock. But there were no immediate reports of injuries, he said.

The National Weather Service issued a series of tornado warnings for the area starting around 2:30 p.m. Tornado sightings and radar indications were reported across the northwest Atlanta suburbs throughout the rest of the afternoon.

[Initial post, 11:45 a.m. ET] Lee whipped up winds, dumped rain and caused severe flooding across a broad swath of the Southeast on Monday even after weakening to a tropical depression.

The storm will bring up to 20 inches of rain to some areas Monday as it moves into southern Mississippi, the National Hurricane Center said.

The threat of flash floods forced authorities in Jackson, Mississippi, to evacuate more than two dozen families from an apartment complex early Monday, Jackson police spokeswoman Colendula Green said. The storm knocked down power lines and trees across the city, officials said Monday.

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Filed under: Alabama • Louisiana • Mississippi • Texas • Tropical weather
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