Thursday, September 01, 2005

Lake Providence, Louisiana

Hi everyone,

I'm working on one small piece of this
incalculable relief effort, and I'm wondering if you can help. This
weekend I'll be in Lake Providence, Louisiana, which according to the
1990 census was actually the poorest town in America. It's right on
the river, just south of the Arkansas border, in one of the poorest
regions in America.

Lake Providence is six hours away from New Orleans, but already
dealing with a flood of evacuees (Refugees? Are we allowed to have
refugees in America?) that it doesn't really have the resources to
handle. This is the case in many small towns in Northeastern
Louisiana; the only Red Cross shelter is in Monroe, and families have
simply stopped where they ran out of gas or money and asked for
help. A hundred people are in Providence Church; this is not because
the town set aside the church as a refuge, but because people found a
church, stopped and asked if they could stay.

There is no Red Cross or FEMA money in Lake Providence or Tallulah or
Delhi or any of the other small towns taking in people; they are just
saying "Yes, stay here," and trying to come up with the resources to
help. Most immediately, the locals are trying to find money to move
evacuees to Monroe, but medium-term, many families are likely to
settle right where they are. They'll need clothes and school
supplies. And everything.

I've set up a site that explains this, and shows how to donate -- -- and I'll be taking pictures and
writing about what's going on when I'm there this weekend. This is
very much an exercise in trust; I'm administering a PayPal account
that will draw down to Providence Church. If there is a surplus of
money, it will go first to other towns in the area; if there's a
whole lot of money, it will go to other regions that are similarly
ill-equipped to provide for refugees. I'll be as transparent as I
can the website about what's coming in and where it's going.

I know there's a lot going on, and a lot of different ways to help,
but this is one small way to do a very specific and needed good
thing. I'm happy to answer any questions, and I'd be pleased if you
could pass the link on to your communities.



Brendan Greeley
w (617) 497-8095
m (646) 220-6378
brendan @