Bureaucracy Blocking Progress in New Orleans?

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Check out the pictures that we've posted today. The pics are from our days in New Orleans last week. We were lucky to go to New Orleans for the start of Mardi Gras — although I was disappointed in the progress (or lack thereof) since our last trip there. Yes, many celebrated and are working at bringing back the spirit of an exciting city (like no other), but it is impossible to ignore the heartache that permeates the area. We tried to show you the good and the bad in the city. Incidentally, it seems that the major obstacle now facing progress is bureaucracy. People want to help, but red tape seems to get in the way.

Some pictures posted today are of our trip to New Orleans' Charity Hospital. Charity was hit very, very, very hard... so hard that I am not sure it will ever come back. Right now the hospital has been moved to tents — yes, a hospital made up of tents. They hope soon to move from tents to the Lord & Taylor department store in downtown New Orleans. Many famous people were born at Charity Hospital (Louis Armstrong, Donna Brazile are two examples) and to see what it is now is disturbing.

A doctor called "Dr. W" (picture posted) gave us a tour of the Charity tent hospital. I was impressed with this doctor — he has worked at Charity for 20 years and is determined to bring medical care to the poor. If you looked up "doctor" in a dictionary, his picture should be there. He was one of those unique people whom I immediately liked and admired for all that he does for others. He was also heroic (like many others) during the hospital evacuation after the storm hit and destroyed the power to the hospital. We taped a "walk and talk" with him and will show you that interview tonight. I bet you will be impressed with him, too.

I asked to see Charity Hospital (before I toured the tent hospital) and my eyes practically popped out of my head as I toured it. The about 17-story hospital has a gorgeous exterior — art deco — but the inside is destroyed. We had to wear hard hats and masks while touring the hospital because the air and structure are so dangerous. Our video from inside will stun you — it is hard to believe any place could be so devastated by a storm. Not only is there water damage, but mold is growing all over and wires hang everywhere. It is hard to imagine what can be done with this structure, but it is rich in history and its architecture beautiful.

After the show Friday night, a group of young women came up to me in the hotel lobby (picture posted.) They told me they are from Natalee Holloway's hometown and had lots of questions. They took pictures, so I took one, too. Mine is posted.

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Hi Greta,
I was really impressed with your interview with Dan Akyroyd. He is a super guy who really cares about New Orleans. It is so emotional to hear and see what is going on there.
Thank you. Great job OTR!

E-mail No. 2

I've been "on the road" to steal a line from you and am a little late watching Thursday's and Friday's show. Thank you TiVo! I'm literally sick to my stomach watching the New Orleans coverage. My husband and I seriously considered going down to Mardi Gras as we have been there several times and enjoy the city but it just didn't seem right to go and party when there is so many people still hurting. I haven't seen any recent pictures and I guess I hoped things were a lot better, but obviously that is not the case. My question to you is this: What can one person do to help? I've donated time and money and it seems so pitifully inadequate. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated since you are so on top of this story. Thanks always for all you do and go through to bring the best to your viewers.

ANSWER: You can help New Orleans by going there and vacationing. They need commerce.

E-mail No. 3

Hi Greta,
First of all, since you didn't have a busted lip or black eye tonight, I'm assuming your colleague forgave you for waking her. Is there any particular reason everyone seems to be assuming Natalee is dead? Perhaps Joran wasn't panicked when he got home the night Natalee disappeared because he hadn't killed her, but kidnapped her to sell — which is something that, perhaps, he's done repeatedly and thinks nothing of anymore.
Even if he did kill Natalee, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find he went home and surfed the Web. In my opinion he's at least a sociopath, but I'm leaning more toward psychopath. Therefore, he wouldn't be disturbed at all by the knowledge he'd just murdered someone. Besides, Daddy will take care of it. Nothing at all to worry about.
I'd be curious to hear an expert in body language analyze the interview with Joran. If his eyes darted around any more rapidly, they were going to strip a gear!
The clincher for me was when Joran said that if he were to see Natalee today he'd hate her. If he's so innocent, wouldn't he be thrilled to see her so she could tell everyone that he had nothing to do with her disappearance? I know if I was in his shoes (wherever they are....) I'd be out there busting my butt and working with the Holloways/Twittys trying to find out what happened to Natalee to clear myself. If Joran had nothing to do with her disappearance, it would mean someone else out there harmed Natalee and he's getting blamed for it. But he's never expressed any interest in trying to find such a person. Now, if I was getting blamed for such a heinous act committed by someone else, I think I'd be resentful toward that person, not toward Natalee.
Have a good weekend,
Boycott Aruba... demand justice for Natalee

E-mail No. 4

I watched the prime-time report with Joran van der Sloot and a lot of what he said seemed real to me. I lived in the Daytona Beach area when I was in my late teen to early twenties and did a lot of the same things with tourist girls from the Midwest, some that had been turned loss for the first time in their life. So I could see a lot of high possibility to what Joran said. The only thing that I felt was not brought up and interested me was that at some point in time Joran's father said to him, "No body no crime." Do you know when this statement was and what brought it up? Also relative to Joran and Natalee on the beach, when was it said?

E-mail No. 5

Hi Greta,
I think Joran did something to or with Natalee — maybe not murder, but maybe accident. I do think the two brothers were in on the cover-up. And if the dad was not in the beginning, he knows and helping in the cover-up. If the brothers were in it alone, Joran and his dad would not be helping them. They would tell them they are on their own and would be out to clear their name. I think Joran is the leader of the pack and they answer to him and his father. I also believe they are probably afraid of Joran and his father.
Dianna Myers
P.S. If you get the brothers to talk and promise them protection and your crime will be solved.

E-mail No. 6

Dear Greta,
Be still, my heart! I actually heard the suggestion this evening from members of the panel that Joran van der Sloot might be innocent. If it finally turns out that he is, do you suppose anyone will apologize to him for everything that has been said about him for the past 10 months?
Best regards,
Dick Lodge

E-mail No. 7

Tonight on your program, it was stated that Joran said Natalee Holloway referred to her mother as "Hitler's sister". Boy, did that ring a wrong bell in my head. Seems to me that expression would not even be used by a young American girl — more that it would be a common expression used by one of Dutch heritage. The reason being that the Netherlands were occupied by the Nazis during WW2 — and that to this day, the horrors imposed upon the Dutch by the Nazis are remembered.
That expression "Hitler's sister" would be more understood to originate and be used by Joran and his family to describe Beth Twitty — she is proving to be a horror and nemesis to the van der Sloot family.
Beth Twitty is to be admired for her love for her daughter and her tenacity to pursue the truth in Natalee's disappearance.

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