ABC�S �20/20� RETURNS TO CHARITY HOSPITAL IN NEW ORLEANS TO
CHRONICLE THE HEROIC EFFORTS OF DOCTORS AND STAFF TO KEEP PATIENTS ALIVE
AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA�S DEVASTATION, ON �20/20,� FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15
Eating Out of the Trash to Make a Statement;
Star of �The Color Purple� Speaks Candidly About Loosing Husband on 9/11 While
Eight Months Pregnant -- to Making it on Broadway;
Barbara Walters Previews Upcoming Special on Heaven;
Elizabeth Vargas Reports from Iraq;
Songs of the Season
Charity Hospital in downtown New Orleans, renowned for its emergency and critical care of those in need, became a symbol of desperation and crisis in the chaos that ensued after Hurricane Katrina�s devastation. For five days and nights, a remarkable team of doctors, nurses and staff, led by Dr. Ben DeBoisblanc, chief of the medical intensive-care unit, and Dr. Peter Deblieux, emergency room physician, pushed the limits to save the lives of countless patients under horrid conditions � no electricity, no water, no plumbing, no transportation and no basic critic care equipment. And with the flooding, Charity Hospital became an island. For the first time since the tragedy, Dr. DeBoisblanc and Dr. Deblieux, with nurses, staff and survivors, return to Charity � now closed � with Elizabeth Vargas to chronicle the ordeal and how they were able to execute their own evacuation. The exclusive report, which features never-before-seen footage taken by the staff of the hospital during the tragedy, airs on �20/20,� FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Without power in the ICU, monitors and ventilators failed � nurses and doctors had to keep patients alive by hand. �We were trusted with the lives of these people that we weren�t sure we were going to pull through� we didn�t have the resources to protect their interests. And so we were very worried that several of them would die,� Dr. DeBoisblanc tells Vargas.
And: Bob Brown introduces viewers to people who eat food from other people�s garbage � because they want to. Called �freegans,� they collect food they claim has not spoiled. One member, Adam Weissman, says they are �making a statement� we're a part of a network of people that are helping to build solutions to this over-consumptive, wasteful society, and proposing different values.� So how serious is the problem they�re protesting � how much discarded food do Americans waste? The figure is so staggering that Dr. Timothy Jones of the University of Arizona conducted a study to try to quantify food loss at every level of consumption. �It is a really big issue. In terms of economics, we're talking at least $100 billion a year,� says Jones. And his study showed that American families are among the worst offenders.
Also: Actress LaChanze is now in the spotlight playing the lead role of �Celie� in the current Broadway production of �The Color Purple.� But as she tells Deborah Roberts, it�s been a bumpy and heartbreaking trip to the top of the great white way. While eight months pregnant with her second child, the struggling actress lost her husband in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Today, not only is she in a leading role, she is happily re-married.
Plus: Elizabeth Vargas will prepare a reporter�s notebook piece as part of the ABC News weeklong series on �Where Things Stand� in Iraq.
Additionally: Barbara Walters previews her upcoming special, �Heaven. Where Is It? How Do We Get There?� which airs on Tuesday, December 20.
And: What is the music of the American Christmas? For some it might be a church choir; others might seek newest holiday CDs or savor the classics like Bing Crosby�s �White Christmas.� But as Chris Connelly reports, the music so many happily associate with Christmas is neither classic nor contemporary pop. It is a 40-year-old jazz album � the soundtrack from the 1965 animated TV special, �A Charlie Brown Christmas� featuring jazz composer and pianist Vince Guaraldi�s �Linus and Lucy� tune. In fact, it was the second most downloaded album from Apple�s iTunes website last week.
�20/20� is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is the executive producer.