Saturday, September 17, 2005

Feds: Nagin's Ambitious Return Plan is Problematic

Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad Allen said federal officials have worked with Mayor Ray Nagin and support his vision for repopulating the city, but he called Nagin's idea to allow citizens to return and businesses reopen in the next week both "extremely ambitious" and "extremely problematic."
The Associated Press article states that fears of another storm hitting the region's weakened levee system could put returned evacuees in danger.

Greetings from New Orleans: An Experiment in Found Art

A few weeks prior to Hurricane Katrina, I completed this photo project with the intent of displaying the images in a New Orleans gallery.  Clearly that's not going to happen any time soon.  When I evacuated my now-flooded house,  these photos were among the few possessions that I saved.  I look at the images now and realize with some despair what's been lost.  New Orleans has been my adopted home for a total of ten years,  and for the most part it's been a love affair that has enriched my life enormously.  While the city certainly had its share of problems prior to Katrina,  the good has always outweighed the bad,  elegance has always balanced out crassness, and the distinctive cultural contributions of its music, food, and architecture have been preserved throughout the cities neighborhoods for centuries.  Now that the city has been reshaped by this disaster,  I wonder what I'll be returning to in the coming weeks.  I worry that the quirkiness of its people and that the physical charm of the landscape will be irreparably harmed.  I look at these images now and feel privileged to have been witness to the glory that was New Orleans.  Hopefully, a reverse diaspora will occur over the next few months to reinvigorate this beloved and beleaguered town.

[from BoingBoing]

Help Katrina Lawyers: Legal Resources, Consultants, Relief Support for Lawyers, Law Firms

Lawyers in Louisiana and Mississippi have been displaced or have had their practices completely disrupted by Hurricane Katrina. A Louisiana Bar report estimated at least 1/3 of all New Orleans lawyers were unable to either access their offices or find a way to resume their practices. Facing a likely avalanche of businesses and individuals with serious disaster-related legal issues, the ability to restore our brethren to functionality is of paramount importance. The general public needs access to legal services as soon as possible. The best way those of us in the legal technology and practice management community can help is by providing technology guidance. Our volunteers represent legal technology consultants, practice management advisors and vendors of legal products and services across North America.

 We Can Help:
    * Guidance regarding restoring backed up data, or recovering data from physically damaged computer systems or media
    * Advise about temporarily practicing with either borrowed, rented or purchased new PC and voice systems
    * Provide remote access to allow any lawyer who can get online to use well-known legal software to get their work out and contact clients and associates
    * Provide sound longer-term focused guidance on replacing destroyed or damaged systems - but doing it the best way at fair prices, avoiding making costly   mistakes


Higher Ground Hurricane Benefit (Jazz at Lincoln Center)



Hosted By Laurence Fishburne. 
Featured Artists Include Wynton Marsalis, Laurence Fishburne, Terence Blanchard, Ken Burns, Shirley Caesar, Cyrus Chestnut, Peter Cincotti, Bill Cosby, Elvis Costello, Aaron Neville, Robert De Niro, Renee Fleming, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Abbey Lincoln, Bette Midler, Toni Morrison, Arturo O'Farill, Dianne Reeves, Paul Simon, Meryl Streep, James Taylor, McCoy Tyner, Robin Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, Buckwheat Zydeco, and many others.

Jazz at Lincoln Center will record live CD to be released by Blue Note Records with all profits going to hurricane relief fund efforts Auction items include Martin guitar autographed by Eric Clapton and John Mayer; items from LeRoy Neiman, Candlewick Press and more.
Beginning Friday, September 16, auction items can be viewed at

New York, NY (September 14, 2005) Jazz at Lincoln Center today announced plans to produce the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert and Auction on Saturday, September 17 at 7pm at Rose Theater in Frederick P. Rose Hall on Broadway at 60th Street in New York City.

The Benefit Concert and Auction produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center will raise funds for the Higher Ground Relief Fund established by Jazz at Lincoln Center and administered through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to benefit the musicians, music industry related enterprises and other individuals and entities from the areas in Greater New Orleans who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina and to provide other general hurricane relief. (MORE...)
  • Celebrity Auction
    The Higher Ground benefit event will include an auction, which will begin on Saturday, September 17 at 7pm ET and will run through Monday, September 26 until 7pm ET. Items to be auctioned include a 000-28 Martin Eric Clapton model guitar, autographed by Eric Clapton and John Mayer; artwork by LeRoy Neiman; artwork by Peter Max and items from Miramax Films. Paul Rogers and Candlewick Press are pleased to donate ten pre-publication, first edition copies of Jazz ABZ: An A To Z Collection of Jazz Portraits by Wynton Marsalis that will be signed by the author and the illustrator. Each book will be accompanied by a special edition print (15" x 15" framed) that features one of the following ten artists portrayed in the book: Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Art Blakey, Jelly Roll Morton, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Fats Waller, Dizzy Gillespie. Beginning Friday, September 16, auction items can be viewed at
  • Concert Broadcast (
  • Higher Ground Hurricane Benefit Concert Sept. 17 (NPR)
Grace E. Lee

The Tipitina's Foundation

New Orleans Artist Relief Effort (Tipitina's Foundation)
Until the recent devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Tipitina's Foundation has devoted its efforts to uplifting the New Orleans music community through its Music Co-op Office, Instruments A-Comin' benefit concerts and the Tipitina's Internship Program. That mission has changed, as we now fight to save and rebuild that very community. We are currently finding musicians housing, gigs and instruments while we raise funds through donations and nationwide benefit concerts to meet the challenges facing us in the coming weeks and months. Tipitina's Uptown, 501 Napoleon Avenue, will open up as soon as we can return as a Musical Community Center with a Music Co-Op, as we all come together to preserve the spirit of New Orleans. (more...)

Etiquette Tips for Displaced Musicians (National Public Radio)
Weekend Edition - Saturday, September 17, 2005 · As director of Tipitina's Foundation, Bill Taylor is trying to address the housing needs of displaced Louisiana and Delta musicians. Tipitina's Web site lists tips on how to be a good host to musicians in distress and alternatively, how to be a good guest.

Grace E. Lee

The Teasing Press: Cholera Found in Evacuee

Headlines are claiming one of the evacuees has been diagnosed with cholera, though further research proves this strain is not contagious.  There has been much talk about possible infectious diseases plaguing evacuees, but fortunately the "news on the health front is surprisingly good so far: There have been no major disease outbreaks, despite early fears. The chief complaints of people seeking care at clinics and hospitals have been skin infections, stomach problems, heat stroke, cuts and scrapes", doctors and health officials said.

Friday, September 16, 2005

New York City: ABC is Seeking Volunteers for Hurricane Katrina Victims

The Association to Benefit Children (ABC) has been called upon by the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management to provide childcare for the victims of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Many thousands of families with children have fled to New York City in search of assistance. ABC will set up A Child's Space, a therapeutic play space, for children affected by Hurricane Katrina at the Disaster Assistance Service Center in Manhattan. A Child's Space will be a warm, friendly, and nurturing environment where children can play, relax, and express themselves in ways that are comfortable for them.

As we did for 9/11, ABC is once again seeking your help as a volunteer at A Child's Space - to play with the children, read to them, comfort them, rock a baby, play a game, do an art project, organize supplies, work at the sign-in table, let the parents know how the children are doing and answer phones.

The location is 520 West 135th Street (bet. Broadway & Amsterdam), 3rd Fl.
Near # 1 train on 137th Street and Broadway

The center's hours of operation will be from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, and we will appreciate any amount of time you can give. If you would like to participate, please e-mail or call me with the dates and times of your availability (see contact information below).

You may also contact Gretchen Buchenholz, ABC's Executive Director, at or 212-845-3828, or Eri Noguchi, ABC's Director of Programs and Contracts, at or 212-845-3822.

Thank you.

Grace E. Lee

Animal Emergency Response Network has unveiled a comprehensive Animal Emergency Response Network helping companion animal victims and their caretakers during disasters. This is a collaborative database linking information from the public and emergency response organizations and making it available to rescuers, victims, and volunteers. The database features the following:
  • displaced hurricane victims post the locations of their pets so that rescuers can go in and save them
  • rescuers post the descriptions and photos of pets they find making them available for distraught pet parents to find them
  • volunteers post their offers of foster care which displaced hurricane victims can search to find temporary care for their pets
This is a collaborative effort powered by Maddie's Fund and a coalition of organizations who are all working together to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Thanks to: American Humane Association, Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, United Animal Nations (EARS), IFAW and Code 3 Associates, Alley Cat Allies and everyone who has come together to put the pets first.

Musicares Hurricane Relief 2005

As our nation struggles to respond to the devastation and displacement wrought by Hurricane Katrina, MusiCares' assistance is even more critical in ensuring that music people whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed can begin to rebuild. To that end, MusiCares and The Recording Academy have established the MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund, a $1 Million dollar commitment of charitable funds to be distributed to musicians and other music industry people directly affected by this disaster.

How We Help: Hurricane Relief Assistance may include funds for basic living expenses such as shelter, food, utilities, cell phones and transportation; medical expenses including doctor, dentist, hospital bills and medication; clothing and toiletries; musical instrument and recording equipment replacement; relocation costs; school supplies for students; cell phone service; insurance payments and more. Applicants may also be referred to other resources, as needed. blogs and forums help save lives after Katrina

[Here's an inside look at how the website for the Times-Picayune helped guide rescuers and provided in-depth news for evacuees.
Posted: 2005-09-13
Jon Donley

wa·ter·shed n. 1. A ridge of high land dividing two areas that are drained by different river systems. 2. A critical point that marks a division or a change of course; a turning point. (American Heritage Dictionary)

As the water finally starts to recede in New Orleans, the watershed for online journalism has been laid bare. Hurricane Katrina brought forth a mature, multi-layered online response that built on the sense of community after 9/11, the amateur video of the Southeast Asian tsunami disaster and July 7 London bombings, and the on-the-scene blogging of the Iraq War.

I spent one entire afternoon glued to my computer, reading The Interdictor blog, written by DirectNIC crisis manager Michael Barnett about survival in a downtown high-rise in New Orleans. But no one could touch the incredible journalism done by the staffs of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, its online counterpart, and Advance Internet (the corporate head of is known more for its site and its live webcam, but now has become Exhibit A in the importance of the Internet for newspaper companies during a disaster. When the newspaper couldn't possibly be printed or distributed, the news blog became the source for news on hurricane damage and recovery efforts -- including updates from various reporters on the ground and even full columns and news stories.

The blog actually became the paper, and it had to, because the newspaper's readership was in diaspora, spread around the country in shelters and homes of families and friends. The newspaper staff was transformed into citizen journalists, with arts reviewers doing disaster coverage and personal stories running alongside hard-hitting journalism. In a time of tragedy and loss, the raw guts of a news organization were exposed for us to see.

And it wasn't just about newsgathering. editor Jon Donley turned over his NOLA View blog to his readers, who sent in dozens of calls for help. Those calls were relayed onto the blog, which was monitored constantly by rescuers, who then sent in teams to save them.


from the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review]

Wal-Mart Opens Gift Registry for Hurricane Katrina Victims

More than 1,300 Hurricane Katrina victims have signed up for items they need through a new hurricane gift registry at Wal-Mart stores and online at

"So many friends and family members want to help hurricane victims in a tangible, personal way, and this registry is helping," said Pam Kohn, senior vice president for Wal-Mart. "Storm victims list items that they really need, and friends or family members can buy items for them at our stores or online."

By this morning, 1,358 storm victims had registered for items. The registry opened last Thursday.

Here's how it works:
Storm victims register for items by visiting a gift registry kiosk at Wal-Mart Supercenters and discount stores in the U.S., or online at

Friends or family members who want to purchase items for storm victims can go to the gift registry kiosk at Wal-Mart stores, or click on "Gift Registry" at They enter the name of a storm victim and select the items they wish to purchase.

Items purchased online can be shipped directly to the recipient; items purchased at stores must be shipped by the sender.

Bush Speech Details Aid Programs for Gulf Region

All Things Considered, September 15, 2005 · President Bush proposes what many are calling the biggest bailout for a region in national history as the federal government moves to help repair the extensive damage inflicted on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina.

In an address to the nation from New Orleans Thursday evening, the president outlined a massive reconstruction plan to restore areas devastated by the hurricane and the flooding that followed. He touched on areas from rebuilding water and electrical systems to mail delivery and simplified procedures to attain federal help. (more...)

[from National Public Radio]

Grace E. Lee

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Katrina 05 blog

I was wondering if you could add my blog to your list.  Good blog, by the way, I've been using it to do some of my research for my blog. 


Bush: New Orleans Will Rise Again

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush vowed on Thursday night that storm-battered New Orleans and the Gulf Coast would rise again with extensive federal dollars and he ordered a review of emergency planning to avoid a repeat of the chaotic response to Hurricane Katrina.

"Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives," Bush said in a televised prime-time speech in the heart of the French Quarter.

Bush's first major speech on the hurricane came as he reels from record-low public approval ratings and faces a public with less confidence in the government's ability to respond to crises, a major theme of his 2004 re-election campaign.

Even many in his own Republican Party had hoped he would have delivered the speech much sooner.

The August 29 hurricane killed more than 700 people in the U.S. Gulf Coast region and displaced 1 million. More from Reuters...

Via the Hurricane Katrina Live News Coverage aggregator.

The ultimate DIY IT story (Doc Searls' IT Garage)

The ultimate DIY IT story, and our first IT Garage podcast, all in one

One of the greatest all-time DIY IT stories is the one that will be told, and re-told about how DirectNIC stayed up and running through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, which remains the greatest disaster to befall a major American city in the country's history: a catastrophe on par with the Chicago Fire and the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.

Sigmund "Sig" Solares is a lifelong New Orleans native and the CEO of DirectNIC, a substantial domain registrar and hosting service headquartered in the Crescent City, close to the Superdome. While DirectNIC's data center, on the 9th floor of a large office building, was not flooded out, it was victim to the complete loss of infrastructure suffered by the city surrounding it. Gone were electricity, ventillation, elevator service, water and, well, civilization. Yet Sig and his crew kept the service running — while all hell broke loose outside. Literally. (more...)

Grace E. Lee

Bringing It All Together for Disaster Preparedness

(Originally posted to <

As a side effect of volunteering with the Katrina PeopleFinder Project, I've started to worry about future disasters, and a few of us on the team have started to think about long term preparedness.

Here's a vision that we've been discussing:

We could bring together the CityCares / Hands On Network, the Community Technology Center Network, and the Katrina PeopleFinder Project team

The Hands On Network could recruit, screen, and coordinate concerned members of the community who are interested in short-term volunteer tasks.

CTCnet could coordinate the use of local community technology centers as disaster preparedness training sites and as sites to which volunteers would report in the event of an emergency.

The Katrina PeopleFinder Project team could provide the technical skills, experience, resources, and training.

In the event of a disaster, Hands On Network volunteers in unaffected areas (who were previously trained by the PeopleFinder Project team) could proceed to the nearest CTCnet affiliate - in order to process data about missing persons, or to help distraught loved ones who are searching for evacuees to enter queries into the PeopleFinder data repository.

I've already been in touch with Lisa Flick (Hands On Network's national director of network development) and Kavita Singh  (CTCnet's executive director) about this, and both of them have responded very positively.  Of course, it's understood that we all have to cope with the current emergency before we can discuss long term plans, but I'm hopeful about the future.

Deborah Elizabeth Finn
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

To all the defenders of gw on the new orleans floods,
Remeber the buck stops here,,
Who should have taken charge when people were dying at
the dome and trapped in thier attics, Who could have
ordered relief in days earlier. Instead wait 3 days
and rides in appoints a new gen. and suddenly 150
trucks roll in. How long had these trucks been held to
make this entrance. Why when you look at fly over
pictures there is no or few helicopters in the photos.
Why did it take 4 days before blackhawks started
dropping supplies into NOLA.
Why didn't the corp of engineers start checking the
levees on Monday morning, and start shoring them up
before the break. (the 17th st canel was washed out
under the walls), The quickest way to have pluged the
17th st canel was to go to the bridge lake side of the
break, and come in from the dry side and pluged the
canel. not repair the break it self, and then with
only one barge that had no moter worked to repair it.
Three barges should have been used, one at each end
and one being refilled.
A hunred other mistakes were made and our leader was
no where to lead except for the photo ops.

Chertoff delayed federal response, memo shows

The federal official with the power to mobilize a massive federal response to Hurricane Katrina was Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, not the former FEMA chief who was relieved of his duties and resigned earlier this week, federal documents reviewed by Knight Ridder show. Even before the storm struck the Gulf Coast, Chertoff could have ordered federal agencies into action without any request from state or local officials. Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown had only limited authority to do so until about 36 hours after the storm hit, when Chertoff designated him as the "principal federal official" in charge of the storm.


No pay for New Orleans teachers

Also from Reuters....

New Orleans teachers will not get paid for periods after Hurricane Katrina because there is almost no money left in the city's strapped school system, an executive of the outside firm that runs the schools said on Wednesday.

But a team of experts was set to descend on the city on Wednesday to find schools that can be reopened as soon as possible, providing the system gets emergency funding from the government to operate.

The paycheck issued this week to teachers is for the last pay period before the storm hit, said Bill Roberti, a director with the restructuring firm of Alvarez & Marsal, which runs the school system.

"This is the last payroll we will be able to issue for the time being," Roberti said in a briefing. "We were not able to move forward with the $50 million financing we were pursuing to keep the district afloat. We are very low on cash at this time."


Senate Scuttles Bid for Independent Katrina Commission

From Reuters:

Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate what went wrong with federal, state and local governments' response to Hurricane Katrina. The New York Democrat's bid to establish the panel — which would have also made recommendations on how to improve the government's disaster response apparatus — failed to win the two-thirds majority vote needed to overcome procedural hurdles.


Katrina: a cameraman's journal in NOLA (BoingBoing)

from Part One:
Excerpt from a personal diary written by a friend who's a news cameraman working in New Orleans. Name and affiliation withheld by request. This was written on Sunday, September 4th, six days after the storm hit.

New Orleans - The Real Story
It's September 4th in New Orleans, and unfortunately - no one is getting it right, not the Feds, the State, the Local folks or the media. I'm sure that many people are trying, but for what ever reason- it is a rotting, deteriorating mess.

I'm only writing this because of what I watched on tv last night. It was the first chance I've had to see some of the coverage and what I watched was pathetic. I sensed it yesterday when, amongst the chaos of the unfolding disaster, you realized some of the differences between what is happening here compared to major calamities we've endured recently.

There are almost no news crews in the field trying to cover the story. Hundreds, if not thousands of media people are in the region - but I have driven back and forth through some of the worst neighborhoods in the city and you don't see them. You don't see the National Guard… don't see ANYONE, except for the poor unfortunate souls wandering the streets looking for food or water. Many of them are on their last legs; they are literally not long for this world. It is surreal; it's like a zombie scene from Dawn of the Dead. It's disgraceful that in our times, we are seeing the complete disintegration of our ability to care for our own.

from Part Two:

New Orleans - September 9th

I've been here in New Orleans a week and on a daily basis I'm witnessing the staggering expanse of Katrina's destruction. I've driven over a thousand miles around the city and the individual tragedies stretch from block to block. Whether traveling by air boat (remember the tv show "Flipper"?) or Humvee or by foot, every single street contains the remnants of someone's life. Endless debris fields - entire life savings. The wreckage crosses all economic lines.

IRS Guide to Charitable Giving and Tax Related Issues for Disaster Victims

The Internal Revenue Service is working to provide appropriate relief and assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and information to their fellow citizens who want to help. Please check this page periodically for updates. People affected by Katrina who need help with tax matters can call 1-866-562-5227

Make Your Hurricane Relief Donations Count

As thousands of Americans generously offer cash and other donations to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the IRS urges people to make contributions to reputable and qualified charities. The IRS makes no endorsement. The public also should be on alert for possible scams. The agency has prepared the following information:

Tax Relief and Other Assistance for Hurricane Victims

The IRS issued special tax relief for taxpayers residing in the Presidential Disaster Areas struck by Katrina. This relief provides victims additional time to submit estimated tax payments. The IRS is providing other assistance as well.


Dear friends and family,

The Army Corps of Engineers estimates that 160,000 homes in New Orleans
are damaged “beyond repair”. A truly staggering figure. When you read a
statistic like that and you are intensely familiar with the grief
involved in just one of those 160,000, the misery maths is overwhelming.

The Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area, which stretches from St
Bernard on the east to Jefferson Parish in the west, has a population of
around 1.3 million. I guess that works out to around 600,000 houses or
so. So almost one quarter of the city’s homes will be demolished. I’m
still trying to imagine that.

It’s already been stated that almost every single one of the 27, 600
houses in St Bernard will be bulldozed. I think our area of Lakeview
will likely lose most of its houses. I worry that the rebuilding will be
done in haste rather than taste and we’ll end up with the double-storey
brick monstrosities so favoured in Metairie, the suburb just to our
west. In St Bernard, a much poorer district, who knows what will be erected.

What do you do with the rubbish left over after you bulldoze 160,000
houses and their contents, all imbued with toxic waters? Where do you
put it?

I’m worried they’ll do what they did after Hurricane Betsy: dump all of
it in a landfill, cover it with topsoil and then build a neighbourhood
for the poor. The Betsy waste, along with decades of earlier garbage,
lies underneath the Agriculture Street Landfill Community in eastern New
Orleans, a community which is 97% African American.

I get anxious when I see residents rushing to return to New Orleans. I’d
much rather things were done slowly, carefully and equitably than in a
hasty, desperate charge. Still, even with the pressure to return and
rebuild, they say many of us won’t have housing in New Orleans until 2010.

Well, Lillie and I will be getting into our temporary Houston home
today. It’s a six-hour drive from here and we want to leave early to
avoid traffic out of Baton Rouge and the traffic nightmare which is Houston.

Because our apartment is unfurnished and we have almost nothing, we’re
going to stay with some people nearby while we set things up.
Originally, Helen Prejean contacted some friends in Houston, Karen and
Guy Clifton, to have us stay with them. But they are already housing
their third set of refugees and the latest lot are yet to move into
their new place. So Karen arranged for us to stay with friends of hers,
Marcia and Kirk Blackard, who were out of the country when Katrina hit
and who are very keen to help in any way possible. So I’m glad we can
oblige them!

We've also heard that the owners and many of the staff from the
wonderful Fairgrinds coffeehouse ( have ended up in
Houston and they've organised regular weekly gatherings for refugees and
friends at the Orange Show ( there. Fairgrinds was a
real community hub in the Faubourg St. John ('Faubourg' means
neighbourhood) where Helen lived and our Death Penalty Discourse Center
offices were located. As well as great, fair trade coffee and friendly
staff, it had meeting rooms, noticeboards, free wireless Internet, water
bowls and treats for doggie visitors (outside), fair trade coffee and
local artwork.

People here in Baton Rouge, in Houston and all over the place are being
exceedingly generous and supportive. Everyone from my friends and family
to my online community of fellow activists at, work
colleagues, friends of friends of friends, shopkeepers and even credit
card companies. People working in the rushed, overstretched Baton Rouge
stores are particularly gentle with the droves of New Orleanians.

One amusing contrast between the refugees and their Baton Rouge hosts
was noticeable the weekend immediately after Katrina. New Orleans has a
very laissez-faire attitude (“Laissez les bon temps roulez” is an
unofficial city motto) while Baton Rouge is firmly entrenched in the
Bible Belt culture that crosses the South. The weekend following Katrina
bemused refugees looking for a little liquid solace stood gazing at
signs in supermarkets stating things like “No hard liquor sales on the
weekend”, “No wine sales on Sundays” and “Beer sold only between hours
of 12pm and 2pm on Sundays”. It made it particularly easy to spot fellow
refugees. There were many mumblings of “You’d think they’d make an
exception this weekend.”

So, Houston today. I’m not sure when I’ll write again. My hosts have an
Internet connection available, so it may be tonight. Then again, I was
up before 4am this morning, so I may just collapse on arrival.
Everyone’s sleeping habits are awry.

Much love,

Rose Vines

Shots (Interdictor: Survival of New Orleans Blog)

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005
4:45 pm    
For those who are in the area and want to get them, vaccinations and assorted shots are available at the convention center. People are being strongly encouraged to get shots if they're going to come into the city. Sewage and waste is backed up in the pipes and many fear this will lead to some outbreaks of nasty illness as it pours into the streets.

We've been told that this sewage backup is the main reason the water pressure is being kept so low in the city.

On a more disgusting note, flies and roaches are in abundance -- I've seen them on several floors of our building, and I suspect nowhere in the city is there freedom from these pests. Roaches in New Orleans are particularly hideous things, capable of flight and often being as large as 3inches or longer. You have never heard a shriek until you have seen a giant flying roach land in a woman's hair in New Orleans.

Aside from roaches and flies, the winged rat aka pigeon appears to be the most prevalent beast. They are really feasting on the flood's leftovers.

The water is still being pumped out of the buildings and the 82nd is still patrolling on foot.

I didn't get to see the President yesterday, but somehow my life will go on.

And on a personal note, I have begun playing a solitary game called "count how many typos and misspellings I just made in a simple post." (more...)

(The Interdictor is a blog written by a someone who's been holed up in an ISP in New Orleans since the beginning of Hurricane Katrina)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Nursing home owners charged in Katrina deaths (USA Today)

By The Associated Press

The husband-and-wife owners of a New Orleans-area nursing home where 34 people died in Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters were charged Tuesday with negligent homicide.
By Rick Bowmer, AP

The case represents the first major prosecution to come out of the disaster in New Orleans.

The owners of St. Rita's Nursing Home in the town of Chalmette "were asked if they wanted to move (the patients). They did not. They were warned repeatedly that this storm was coming. In effect, their inaction resulted in the deaths of these patients," Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti said.

Salvador A. Mangano and his wife, Mable, surrendered and were jailed on 34 counts of negligent homicide. Each count carries up to five years in prison.

The charges came as Katrina's death toll in Louisiana climbed to 423, up from 279 a day before, the state Health Department said.

Earlier Tuesday, President Bush said "I take responsibility" for failures in dealing with Hurricane Katrina and said the disaster raised broader questions about the government's ability to respond to natural disasters as well as terror attacks.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at joint White House news conference with the president of Iraq.

"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do it's job right, I take responsibility," Bush said. (more...)

We had to kill our patients (Daily Mail)


Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

In an extraordinary interview with The Mail on Sunday, one New Orleans doctor told how she 'prayed for God to have mercy on her soul' after she ignored every tenet of medical ethics and ended the lives of patients she had earlier fought to save.

Her heart-rending account has been corroborated by a hospital orderly and by local government officials. One emergency official, William 'Forest' McQueen, said: "Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die."  (more...)

Via the Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated Blog: According to this article, doctors faced with the futures of patients already on the verge of death hastened the matter with large injections of drugs.

With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

From the Hurricane Katrina Live Coverage Aggregator

Blame is an interesting thing...

It seems odd that the people talking of "blame" don't seem to be doing anything.   As one of the few military people, who have defended our Nation, right or wrong, I believe I've earned the right to speak of what is right and what isn't.   All those who don't contribute in America, other than moaning, "take a ticket folks", you are not adding benefit - just hurting the country that allows you to rant.
MANY other states have faced crisis - some as extreme as Katrina - over the past years.   Florida (Homestead), South Carolina & North Carolina (Hugo), North Carolina (Bertha & Fran within 4 weeks of each other).   I didn't see shooting, or whining, just action.    Florida dug out.   South Carolina dug out.   North Carolina dug out.    FEMA HELPED - FEMA didn't "do everything" as apparently Louisiana Governor Blanco believes they are supposed to.    FEMA "assists".   FEMA doesn't do your work Governor - so maybe you should READ the plan next time before complaining.
Mississippi dug out from Katrina.   Anyone looting, shooting or whining there.   Don't think so.   These are people who add value and are good Americans.   Oh, by the way, Mississippi took the hardest hit in Katrina's path - not New Orleans.
So let me say what the real problem with Katrina is:   The issue isn't Race, and never will be.   The issue isn't FEMA.   The issue is "What happens when you have 30% of a major city on welfare, with no transportation, and they aren't used to working or doing anything?"    THIS is what happens.   Looting - shooting - no drivers for the 800 buses - few working people to dig out - riots - rapes - chaos - death.    New Orleans after Katrina is an example that we all need to learn from.   A society that embraces ENTITLEMENT - is doomed to the consequences.    Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco - at a MINIMUM - should have put FOOD and WATER at the Superdome.   Didn't happen.    Mayor Nagin should have had his Police and Emergency personnel briefed and on call - many ran away.   Governor Blanco should have activated ALL LOUISIANA National Guard.    These are HER RESOURCES - why were some of the first units from Texas?   Louisian State Police?   Who knows.    Bush - yep - he should have been clear with Homeland Security and FEMA to COORDINATE for the needs.    Expectations of everyone were incorrect - and now half the people are complaining - and the other half are doing the usual - and digging out.
Now we all live with the consequences.    Most people who could afford to evacuate Katrina did.   These were the working people - they probably will return to Louisiana.    Most of the people who didn't evacuate didn't have the means to do so - many of them were underpriveldged and unemployed.    So - we've now taken these folks and put them on a different State's Welfare roles.   Just moved the problem - and didn't fix it.
Katrina has caused a mess.   It is a darn shame that America can't work together and find a solution that IMPROVES things - and makes sure this doesn't happen again.    Instead we allow for political bickering, rhetoric and nonsense.   "Bush doens't like Blacks" - what imbecile actually believes this?    So let's ask the question for most Americans who have never served their country - "Are you willing to work in a positive manner to fix this situation?", "Are you willing to only speak of positive and good things that will help, instead of the negative, blame, nonsense?" - If so - you are an American.   If not - we don't appreciate you taking up space.
Austin, TX

Yahoo! for Good
Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

Arrest Warrants Issued for Nursing Home Operators

The Louisiana Attorney General is giving a press conference right now.
He's just said they've issued warrants of arrest for the operators of
the nursing home in which nearly three dozen residents died during the
hurricane. The operators of St. Rita's nursing home will be charged with
34 counts of involuntary manslaughter for refusing to evacuate their
patients despite the pleas of family members and authorities.

Nagin says some residents can return Monday


In a drastic revision of earlier predictions, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said today that he expects to begin allowing residents in areas that did not flood to return to their homes. Those areas are Uptown, Algiers, the Central Business District and the French Quarter.

Potable water may be available in some of those areas by the end of next week, Nagin said.

FBI warns of Katrina online scams

A press release from the San Diego FBI office:

Similar to the Tsunami scams which surfaced last winter, there has been a rapid increase in websites and associated SPAM being deployed; purporting to be legitimate fundraising efforts for the victims of the recent Hurricane and subsequent massive flooding in the Gulf coast region.  Over the past week, there have been more than 500 sites advertising Hurricane Katrina relief services.  On Friday, September 2nd, there were approximately 300 established that day alone.

The challenge is to quickly analyze and assess those sites which appear to be illegitimate and to develop a strategy to ascertain the responsible parties and ensure the safety of the public, who research these sites.  In order to do this, the FBI relies heavily on key partnerships established with both; law enforcement (domestically and abroad) and in many cases, with the well-known charitable organizations, who good names are being used to give credibility to the scammers.

As with the Tsunami fraud scams, the FBI continues to enlist substantial cooperation from its law enforcement partners, particularly the US Postal Inspection Service, US Secret Service, DHS, and a vast array of state and local agencies.  As many of these scams involve international aspects, our growing partnership with international law enforcement will be vital in efficiently following and capturing the evidence trail.

Several matters have been developed and referred out for investigation throughout the FBI.  We expect the number of investigative referrals to increase over the next several weeks.

Those who desire to contribute to the Hurricane Katrina funds should carefully research the organizations soliciting funds to ensure the monies donated will be used as guaranteed.

Anyone with information concerning a scam related to Hurricane Katrina victims should contact the FBI at 858-565-1255.

Bush: 'I take responsibility'

From Reuters:

President George W. Bush took responsibility on Tuesday for any failures in the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and acknowledged the storm exposed serious deficiencies at all levels of government four years after the September 11 attacks.

"To the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush told a White House news conference at which he openly questioned U.S. preparedness for another storm or a "severe attack."

Bush's rare admission of "serious problems in our response capability" came as the White House stepped up efforts to repair his public standing. Bush will address the nation at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT) on Thursday from hard-hit Louisiana, his fourth visit to the disaster zone since Katrina struck."


Google's new Katrina search tool

Google has just set up a new search engine for finding missing persons.
It claims to aggregate data from a variety of missing persons databases.

Victims have no one to blame but themselves

> > I am disgusted with the ignorance of people complaining of a slow response to a crisis. The state and local officials of New Orleans have been warned for many years of the possibility that a natural disaster of this magnitude could occur. This was no surprise folks. People were warned for days to leave. There was a mandatory evacuation ordered two days before the storm. FREE transportation and shelter was offered. The remaining citizens are the ones to blame for the situation they are in. They did not evacuate when told to do so. They ignored all the warnings, did nothing to protect themselves and are now complaining that officials are not doing enough. These very same folks are DEMANDING help. With a crisis of this magnitude it is impossible to get an immediate response. Planning, preparation and action take some time. These people made a choice to stay. Why didn’t they also choose to stock up on food and water? Contrary to popular belief, the National Guard is not sitting around playing cards waiting for a disaster to strike! It is understood that people are desperate and require basic human needs. This does not justify criminal behavior. This is a NATURAL disaster. No one planned it and no one can predict the outcome. But, as usual, when citizens do not want to accept responsibility………….they play the “race” card. GIVE ME A BREAK.

Special PULSE Program for Katrina Victims

In response to the destruction and pain caused by Hurricane Katrina, we are
organizing ­ today from 2-3 pm Central Time - a forum via video conference
linking youth from New Orleans living in the Houston Astrodome to three
schools in Maize KS, Magnolia, TX and Passaic Valley High School, NJ.

This special PULSE program will give students the opportunity to speak
directly with the victims of Hurricane Katrina and listen to their stories.

Schools interested in viewing a webcast of this dialogue can dial in for
free at the following location:

Additionally, all high schools within the US with access to video
conferencing technology are invited to dial in to this event for free using
the following ISDN numbers:

(310) 426-1846
(310) 426-1844
(310) 426-1845
(310) 426-1847
(310) 426-1848

(In case your connection is unsuccesful, please call Glowpoint at 1 (866)
456-9764, press option 4)

When: Tuesday, September 13th between 2 and 3 P.M Central Time (14 :00 ­15
:00 CT)

We hope you¹ll join us for this very special event.

This is a joint program of Global Nomads Group, Polycom, Inc., Glowpoint,
Inc., and IDSolutions.

After the Flood (This American Life from WBEZ Chicago)

Surprising stories from survivors in New Orleans. We give people who were in the storm more time than daily news coverage can to tell their stories and talk about what they're thinking. This leads to a number of ideas that haven't made it into the regular news coverage.

Grace E. Lee

Emergency Katrina Info Center - Live Streaming Media (IWA)



The International Webcasting Association (IWA) is the largest worldwide
non-profit trade organization dedicated to the growth and development of
webcasting and streaming media over the Internet and other networks. The
IWA serves as a forum for the ideas, people and issues shaping the future
of the webcasting industry. IWA represents webcasters, streaming media
companies, entrepreneurs, individuals and academics throughout the United
States, Europe, Asia, Canada and Australia
[via the CARR-L listserv]
Grace E. Lee

How Bush Blew It

Bureaucratic timidity. Bad phone lines. And a failure of imagination. Why the government was so slow to respond to catastrophe. By Evan Thomas of Newsweek. (More)

Monday, September 12, 2005

New Song for Download - New Orleans

Internationally acclaimed activist/singer/songwriter/blogger David Rovics announces the online release of his new tune, “New Orleans”. The song was recorded today in Ramallah, a Palestinian city of approximately 57,000 residents, located about 15 kilometers ( 9 miles ) north-west of Jerusalem.

The MP3 music file is now available as a free download for use in Hurricane Katrina photo slide shows and video compilations. 

Lyrics (excerpt)

Everybody knew that it could happen
The likelihood was clear
The future was coming
And now it’s here
They had to fix the levees
Because otherwise they’d break
On one side was the city
Above it was the lake
It was in the daily papers
In bold letters was the writ
What would happen
When the Big One hit
But every year they cut the funding
Just a little more
So they could give it to the Army
To fight their oil war

Another Tough Day

[Note: I’ve changed the names of the friends mentioned in this email, to
preserve their privacy and because I’m living in such a terribly
homophobic culture. I know many of you are sharing these emails with
friends, too, so I wanted to make sure you could continue to do so.]

Dear family and friends,

No email last night. I was too tired, after waking at 4am and then
having a very tough day.

After getting up so early, I managed to get a fair section of my article
on using technology in times of disaster written for the Herald. Helen
and Maureen and Maryann had gone off to mass, while Lillie was up north
in Tallulah visiting her sister Jane, who has been lent a house there
for a short time.

I’d thought all my friends were okay since Katrina, but we hadn’t been
able to contact our friend Martin. Martin’s a friend from New Orleans
who moved to Mississippi almost two years ago after his partner, Gerald,
died from cancer. I had assumed Martin was okay because he lives in a
trailer just north of Pass Christian in Mississippi and because of his
vulnerable position he has always packed up and evacuated early when a
hurricane approaches. I assumed he’d done so this time.

But we hadn’t heard from him and his contact details were one of the
things I lost in our own evacuation. So I asked around other friends and
although no-one had heard from him, one person had a phone number. He’d
tried several times and got no answer at all.

So I tried the phone number and got the same result, but looking at the
number one of the digits didn’t seem to match my recollection of his
number. So I started substituting digits and although I didn’t get an
answer, one of those numbers clicked in my memory so I sent a text message.

About an hour later I got a call from Martin. He was in dire straits. He
hadn’t evacuated, and as soon as he said so I recalled that last time he
evacuated it had been a nightmare because he has numerous dogs and two
cats and two rabbits and he took them all with him, but then could not
get accommodation because of the animals. So he spent a couple of nights
beside the road in his little pickup with the animals before returning
to his trailer. This time, he just couldn’t face evacuation and by the
time he knew he should have gone, it was too late.

So he was in the direct path of the storm with the eyewall going over
him. One of the dreadful things about hurricanes is that the right front
quadrant of the storm spawns tornadoes. So, on top of 120 mph sustained
winds in Katrina there was terrible danger from 200-300 mph tornadoes.
Two tornadoes went straight through the land where Martin had his
trailer. There’s also a metal barn on the property, so when he realised
the storm was getting really intense, he ferried his dogs and other
animals into the barn, grabbed the jar containing Gerald’s ashes, drove
his pickup into the barn, closed the door and weathered the storm in
there. He said that 45 minutes after he got into the barn, the tornadoes
had passed through and his trailer wasn’t demolished, it was completely
blown away. He found it later about 14 country blocks distant wrapped
around a tree.

Martin has had a really hard time since Gerald died. He used to own a
business and live in one of New Orleans’ characterful old
neighbourhoods. After Gerald died, he was left in bad financial straits
and, being gay, received no benefits or assistance. He sold his house,
bought the trailer and moved to Mississippi. He is himself not well, is
on a disability benefit and unable to work, so his world has become
increasingly narrower over the past two years.

When he rang, he was suicidal. Not only had he lost almost everything he
possessed but he’d also seen a person’s body hanging in a tree as well
as numerous dead animals in the trees after the storm had passed.

I talked with him for a long time, gave him some contact numbers for
support organisations (he rang while I was researching my article on how
the Internet helps in times of disaster and I had the National Suicide
Prevention Service’s web page open in front of me when his call came in)
and said I’d get some cash to him as soon as I could get to the bank.
When he hung up, he sounded a little calmer.

Helen and Maureen arrived home from mass shortly after and as soon as I
told Helen, she said let’s pack up the car and take him some supplies.
So that’s what we did. We collected water, juice and canned food for him
(most of it the supplies Lillie and I brought with us from New Orleans),
pooled together our cash, and then grabbed a bunch of other stuff from
the house: clothes from Charlie, a hurricane lamp Lillie and I had
evacuated with, batteries, blankets and towels. We put together an ice
chest and a pot of Maryann’s gumbo and French bread so he could have
some real food. I texted him that we were coming and to hold on. Finally
got a call back from him and we agreed to meet just past the
Louisiana/Mississippi border on I10 (Interstate Route 10).

The trip over took about 90 minutes. The roads are open all the way
through to Mississippi, but not heading south from I10 to New Orleans.
The further east we got, the worse the devastation. Whole swathes of
large trees were snapped in two. Pine trees were simply bowled over by
the dozen. Massive power and lighting towers were lying beside the road.

We met Martin at a truck parking stop about 10 miles across the border.
I think just the knowledge we were coming had calmed him. We transferred
all the stuff over into his truck. It was boiling hot and no shade, so
we followed him down the road looking for a place where we could sit and
talk out of the sun. At one point, we turned off I10 southwards, and
then suddenly realised we were on the road to Waveland, a town totally
obliterated by Katrina’s storm surge. There were a bunch of service
stations just near the turnoff and they were crumpled flat. At first I
thought the concrete on their driveways had been ripped up, but then
realised it was mud all over the ground. The storm surge had carried it
inland five miles to this point.

We got back on I10 and eventually stopped at a closed rest area, walked
around the barricades and sat down amidst the rubble in a shelter.
Martin couldn’t stay long because there’s a 5pm curfew in his county, so
he had to get back home before then.

It was heartbreaking to be with someone who already had so very little
before Katrina came, and then lost it all. And he was so upset about our
house. He kept saying “You and Lillie. Your poor beautiful house. I’ve
lost so little in comparison.” It’s awful seeing someone in so much need
who feels his loss is less because it’s not the same in monetary terms.
And his devotion to his animals makes him more vulnerable, as does his
being gay. All his medical needs were being met in New Orleans, which
doesn’t share Mississippi’s general homophobia. So he’s now without a
doctor and a clinic.

We left him in a more hopeful mood. We’re working to organise some good
connections for him in Baton Rouge, so he can plug into a community, and
we’ll get an alternative source for his medications. And Helen is
getting her fundraising connections on the boil trying to get the money
for a replacement trailer (FEMA told him they’d give him $1000 for the
loss of his trailer!).

When we got back to Baton Rouge, Helen started putting out feelers to
people who can hopefully offer him help. That’s one of her many, many
strengths. If something needs doing, she gets it done.

I phoned Martin again today (Monday) because it is the second
anniversary of Gerald’s death and I wanted to make sure he didn’t feel
completely alone. Helen was going to phone him, too, and we’d organised
another friend to call him. He sounded much better. He said that because
of us today was not hard, and that going through all the boxes of things
we’d delivered to him had made the previous evening like Christmas. He’d
been so pleased to meet Helen and Maureen and the gumbo had been his
first decent food since Katrina.

Today I’ve been doing work for the Death Penalty Discourse Center,
trying to get their new email and Internet arrangements working
adequately before I leave on Wednesday. Helen has left on another
speaking tour, and so I may not see her for a long time. Maureen and I
took her to the airport this morning and it wasn’t until I hugged her
goodbye that I realised this was the first of many partings from people
who are normally in my everyday circle. It is so hard to be moving away
from friends and family at a time we most need them.

Thanks for all your emails and phone calls and support. I know it’s hard
to get through to me on the phone; hopefully that will be a little
easier when we get to Houston. And I love to hear how you’re doing, even
if I don’t reply to emails promptly.



FEMA's Mike Brown Resigns

Mike Brown says he has resigned as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, CNN reports.

Open House Project

The concept of The Open House Project is simply to provide a meeting place for people who have extra space in their homes (or rental properties) who are also able to lend that space to those in need during a time of crisis, such as Hurricane Katrina. In adding, we want to foster economic re-development by freely assisting the small businesses that were affected by the hurricane.

Q: What's the difference between you and the other housing projects ?
A: Our site is keeps your information private. We think that letting someone come and live in your home is a very, very big deal, and at the same time we don't think that everyone should be plastering their names, phone numbers, and addresses all over the internet and gulf coast. It's a somewhat difficult issue, because on one hand everyone really wants to open their homes, yet on the other hand, they want to be a little selective of who they are letting live with them. At this point, we are asking people who don't mind sharing all of their personal information to sign up at the larger housing sites as they have a little more open distribution of lists. However, the open house project seems to be the only one that introduces a one-way privacy approach and you should use this site if you want to initiate contact instead of people initiating contact with you.

Grace E. Lee

Hurricane Katrina Aid Request

My name is David M. Chavers, and I am the Director of Choirs for  the Pass Christian Public School District of Harrison Co., Mississippi.  Our  district suffered almost complete destruction by Katrina.  Three of the four campuses in our district have been deemed unusable or totally destroyed.  The choir, musical theater, drama and instrumental music programs lost every piece of equipment, instrument, script and octavo.

I am currently attempting to explore every avenue of aid for the coastal schools, most of whom are as badly damaged as we are.  Do you have tips, grants and advice on how our booster clubs and schools may apply for assistance?  If so, please contact me via email, telephone, or at my temporary postal address.  I can be reached at:

David M. Chavers
C/O Tom Chavers
5791 Ryals St.
Satsuma, AL 36572
(228) 669-4745 (Cell)
(251) 675-1806 (Temporary Housing)

The Mississippi coastal choirs website is at:

There, we are gathering information from our area groups that have been affected, and you'll see a "Katrina Aftermath" report. In addition, there's a contact form for people who are interested in helping us.

Thank you so much for your assistance.


David M. Chavers,
Pass Christian Public Schools Director of Choirs
Mississippi Music Educators Association - Eighth District, Jr. High Division Chairman
Trinity Episcopal Church Choir Master

Grace E. Lee

Help Schools Impacted By Hurricane Katrina (NetDay)

NetDay wishes to offer the support of our network of schools and organizations to the efforts of schools impacted by hurricane Katrina.

Schools in the Gulf Coast region are struggling to enroll displaced students and as much as possible move towards normalcy in school operations. Schools are in need of supplies ranging from backpacks to notebooks to pencils to textbooks and we know there are students and schools around the country who are eager to help out.

If you are interested in organizing a local effort to help schools in need, please review the resources and requests posted here. We will be updating this site with more school-related needs in the coming days and weeks.

Sites for Information

Hurricane Katrina: The School Impact
The school year for the 70,000-student New Orleans district has been decimated by the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Follow this constantly updated Education Week series as they cover the effects on schools, districts, and states affected by the resulting floods.

Bringing Hurricane Katrina Into the Classroom: Media Literacy Lessons
For educators who want to help students analyze, understand, and cope with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the AMLA offers this basic set of media literacy activities and suggestions.

Youth Service America
Youth Service America has published a list of organizations that are mobilizing to support the relief effort. They also offer project planning guides for students organizing relief efforts.

Requests for Support, Supplies, and Donations

U.S. Department of Education: Hurricane Help for Schools
At the Hurricane Help for Schools web site, schools are able to post their contact information and the supplies the students need. Companies and organizations are able to view these needs and contact the schools to meet them, or, on another part of the site, they may post what supplies or resources they can offer.

VSKOOL.ORG: Virtual Schooling Opportunities
VSKOOL is a consortium of online learning organizations, virtual schools, education institutions, technology companies, corporate and non-profit organizations, and foundations working together to provide online K-12 classes and tutoring for victims of Hurricane Katrina. VSKOOL will serve as a clearinghouse of hurricane related offerings of education technology products and services to affected students, teachers, and families.

We've Got Your Back
The "We've Got Your Back" campaign invites kids to collect backpacks filled with new pens, pencils, notebooks and new personal items - like a new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste - for the many children and young people displaced by Hurricane Katrin

Lafayette Parish School System
The Lafayette Parish School System in Louisiana has registered over 3,000 new students to an already strapped school system. Items needed include tablets, loose-leaf paper, pens, pencils, rulers, markers, binders, calculators, crayons, scissors, construction paper, backpacks, socks, underwear and undershirts.

Please contact the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce about sending donations.

804 East Saint Mary Blvd.
Lafayette LA 70503
Ph: 337-233-2705
Fax: 337-234-8671

EMCED (Educational service agency serving 22 school districts in east Mississippi)
In an effort to assist students who have lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina and the thousands of refugee students enrolling in our schools, EMCED is collecting school supplies. Items needed include book bags, paper, pencils, colors, scissors, glue, notebooks, etc. For those who wish to make monetary contributions, funds will be used to purchase school uniforms, socks, shoes, etc., for students. Please send items or checks to:

EMCED, Inc.-Hurricane Katrina Assistance
1000 Highway 19 North
Meridian, MS  39307-5799
601.484.0301 (voice)
601.484.0372 (fax)

Louisiana State Libraries
"To all--we are in desperate need of computers/printers.  We are being inundated with evacuees needing to file FEMA applications, unemployment, search for loved ones, etc. and are coming into our public libraries to use the computers.  Our libraries have greatly extended their hours to accommodate the people but they need additional computers and printers.  If you can please put the word out that if anyone wants to help immediately, this is our greatest need."  -- Louisiana State Librarian, Rebecca Hamilton.  The specs for the computers: Pentium 3, Windows 2000, prefer XP, Laser printers if you can still get toner for them. If you are able to send computers, please contact Rebecca by email:

Rebecca Hamilton 
State Library of Louisiana
701 North 4th Street
Baton Rouge, La.

Public Education Network
The Public Education Network As is responding by helping their colleagues in the region—the Greater New Orleans Education Foundation, the Mobile Area Education Foundation, the Academic Distinction Fund (Baton Rouge, LA), the Orchard Foundation (Alexandria, LA), Area Education Foundation (Hattiesburg, MS), and Association for Excellence in Education (Laurel, MS). They need our support to help families rebuild their lives, communities, and schools. To make a contribution online, please click on the link above.

ISTE's Affiliate in Texas (TCEA--Texas Computer Education Association), where most of the victims are being evacuated, is volunteering to lend long-term support in the way of manpower and technical assistance once schools re-open in the devastated regions. TCEA is preparing a Tech Task Force that includes support from members and corporate partners. If you have recommendations or wish to be involved in the TCEA Tech Task Force, please e-mail Ron Cravey, TCEA Executive Director, at or visit the TCEA website ( for more information.
NetDay's mission is to connect every child to a brighter future by helping educators meet educational goals through the effective use of technology.



Grace E. Lee
URL: Restaurant Jobs for hurricane Katrina victims

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Katrina.  As part of our efforts to help, we are working with CIRA Chapter Members to find jobs for displaced restaurant employees, transportation to those chapter cities, and housing once they get there.

CIRA is pleased to work with other restaurant groups and restaurants to provide jobs for Gulf Coast restaurant employees displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

For more information about CIRA, The Council of Independent Restaurants of America , please visit our website at or email .

Grace E. Lee

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pfizer Inc to Supply Emergency Prescriptions to Hurricane Evacuees

The Steady Buildup to a City's Chaos

An excellent feature story by the Washington Post detailing a day-by-day account of what local and national government officials did over the course of the Katrina disaster.

Katrina PeopleFinder Project Update

Volunteers surf and scrub the web to help reconnect family and friends
separated by Hurricane Katrina

Contact: Sue Cline: Volunteer : : Communications &
Media Phone: (804) 230-3456

Contact: Marty Kearns: Volunteer : : Communications &
Media (C ) 202-487-1887

Contact: Zack Rosen: Volunteer : : Technical and
Engineering Lead (C) (724)612-7641

WASHINGTON,Friday, September 09, 2005 — The largest collection of data
on the web about evacuees and survivors has been pulled together by
volunteers and programmers working long hours for the last week. The is a collection of survivor information
from across dozens of sites.The project was launched to provide
information on survivors to family and friends across the web. The site forms a needed complement to a pending
launch of newer efforts to organize data by the Red Cross, FEMA and
the Department of Homeland Security.

The "official sites" will be focusing on new more structured data
collected from people in shelters and from those interacting with
government programs and relief organizations.
http://www.Katrinalist.netis the complement to whatever official
collection all the informal datafrom bulletin boards, discussion forms
and sites across the web. will provide data to

Those seeking information on family should first search and then These sites
represent the best collection of data and the best hope for helping
family and friends locate each other.

Evacuees wishing to inform loved ones of their location can register
or post information about survivors at

Report a Missing Person at

These are all voluntary and self-reporting tools. All media outlets
and those hosting discussion boards, search tools and other
information on survivors or offering connections to families are asked
to redirect search traffic and data input to these sites.

Additional Background:
The project was launched as the core team started to realize that too
many sites were collecting data and stories on families looking for or
posting the status of their friends and neighbors. In the moments
leading up to the storm dozens of sites launched services to help
their members, including: New Orleans Newspapers (, TV and
radio sites, Craigslist, CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo, Blogs and the Red Cross.
In the hours following the storm companies, college students and
volunteers began to set up databases for people to add and search

On Friday the 9th, The American Red Cross, with support of the
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement launched a web site
and hotline to help assist family members who are seeking news about
loved ones living in the path of Hurricane Katrina.

Dozens of message boards have sprung up around the country since
Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, promising to throw a
technological lifeline to families that have been ripped apart. At the
same time, the proliferation of registries has also made it
increasingly difficult to figure out where to find information on
missing loved ones.

"If I'm a refugee trying to find my brother, I would have to search 20
databases and 25 online forums," said David Geilhufe, chief executive
of the Social Source Foundation, a charity set up to create
softwarefor other non-profits. "It's a huge problem."

Enter The all volunteer team created a searchable
directory of persons displaced or affected by Hurricane Katrina,
consolidating over 25 different online resources into one central,
searchable repository. PeopleFinder Interchange Format, (called
'PFIF') is a new, standardized data format implemented in XML.

Katrina People Finder ( in the organization
of data about people affected by major storms such as Hurricane
Katrina and speeds searches by allowing many organizations to
contribute to a central repository. The interchangeformat of Katrina
People Finder makes automated search and retrieval of data about
people quick and easy. Common data will help automated systems to
connect displaced individuals via automatic categorization and

The PeopleFinder database now contains just barebones
information -- such as name, phone number, last known address and
status. But Dean Robison of,a San Francisco software
firm that is providing the technology to run the consolidated
database, said it could easily be expanded in thefuture to speed
rescue and relief operations in further disasters.

The Power of Community

The Katrina PeopleFinder Project mobilized hundreds of volunteers over
the Labor Day weekend to make an immediate difference. That immediate
difference is at,a searchable database of
almost 400,000 PeopleFinder Interchange Format-compliant,
volunteer-entered, missing and found persons reports from across the
web. Having a single, searchable resource is critical due to limited
internet access for evacuees and their families. The team plans to
turn its attention to housing and job solutions next, creating a
centralized technology solution that aggregates acomprehensive
resource set from sites all across the web, standardizes them, and
makes them searchable from anywhere.

Project Contributors
CivicSpace Labs ( is a funded non-profit
organization and community collaborating with the Drupal
( to develop a free/open-source software
platform for onlinecommunity organizing. CivicSpace enables bottom-up
people-powered campaigns to operate on a more level playing field with
more traditional top-down organizations, and, similarly, allows
top-down organizations to leverage the power of grassroots organizing. Foundation
( officially
launched in July 2000 by Secretary of State, Colin L.Powell. The
launch of the Foundation came less than a year after the launch of the
company with the goal of building philanthropic programs at the very
beginning of the company's existence rather than waiting until the
company had reached a certain level of 'comfortable success'.Our
belief is if emphasis is placed on social programs from a company's
inception, the value of service will be a core cultural value that is
built into the fabric of the company.

Social Source Software (
world-class software specifically for nonprofit and non-governmental
organizations, usually under an open source license. Social Source
Software works with organizations seeking to create enterprise grade
websites, web applications, and other types of software.

Craigslist ( From its humble beginnings as
an e-mail newsletter sent to friends in San Francisco, Craigslist has
grown to be one of the largest online community bulletin boards, with
175 Craigslist sites in all 50 US states, and 34 countries. Craigslist
was one of the earliest community sites to coordinate hurricane
relief, rescue and reunion for Katrina survivors.

Two Weeks After Evacuation

Dear family and friends,

Just a quickie tonight, so I can get to bed earlyish.

There was a wonderful story in today’s Baton Rouge Advocate about a
woman whose 49-day-old child, Calli, died in New Orleans Children’s
Hospital from a congenital heart condition before Katrina hit. The
hurricane caused the child’s burial to be delayed until this Wednesday.
Her mother had been unable to face going through Calli’s things, but
when she heard about women in one of the shelters needing nappies and
wipes, she made herself go through all the things and then gathered up
the nappies and some clothes and took them to the shelter.

There are so many small braveries going on, and so many more, small and
large, which occurred in New Orleans just after Katrina. I think for
every image and report of violence we heard so much about there were
probably several dozen instances of courage and heroism. All those
people who waved the helicopters or boats away from their roofs saying
“Someone down that way needs you more”. Those so-called looters who went
and grabbed food and water out of stores to feed people stranded outside
the Convention Center. Singer Charmaine Neville, a member of a famous
New Orleans singing family, who rounded up a group of her stranded
neighbours, smashed into a store and got them food so “no-one else but
me would be accused of looting” and then broke into a city bus, loaded
it up with her neighbours, and taught herself to drive the bus as she
delivered them out of the city.

Lillie is up in Tallulah tonight, visiting her sister Jane. Helen
Prejean has returned from her latest speaking tour. She raised a lot of
money for the Death Penalty Discourse Center to help us get
reestablished. She talked to public defenders in Florida, and students
and parishioners and a diverse bunch of people in several states. She
sold a lot of copies of her latest book, The Death of Innocents; those
funds are one of the main ways we get money to fund our
anti-death-penalty work. I have no idea how she keeps up her schedule,
especially at time like this. She manages to channel her energy so well
into her work.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that yesterday Lillie and I received our
first snail mail addressed to our new (very temporary) abode. We both
received beautiful cards from our friends Maura and Allen in New
Hampshire. Mine has the most magnificent photo of an hibiscus I’ve ever
seen with a Maya Angelou quote: “I can be change by what happens to me.
I refuse to be reduced by it.”

Maura and Allen offered us a huge gift: they said that, when we are
allowed to return to our house, they would like to fly down from New
Hampshire and accompany us.

The thought of returning home fills me with dread. And I feel
particularly for people like Laurie, one of Lillie’s sisters, who will
return to a house containing dead pets.

The mail, by the way, is in as bad a state as the phone system. We
receive newly posted mail, but nothing that was in the mailstream at the
time of the hurricane. The post office has ceased delivery to a bunch of
zip code areas including ours and a statement on its site says it is
still trying to figure out how on earth to deal with this old mail (not
quite in those words). We keep on thinking of things that are stuck
somewhere in that mail (or perhaps mouldering in the New Orleans Post
Office). A t-shirt I’d ordered; some CDs; an order of bread from (which I fervently hope they do not manage to deliver to
us after all this time).


Rose Vines