Sunday, April 08, 2007

What You Can Do to Help New Orleans

Nineteen months after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, there is still tremendous need for financial donations and volunteer labor. This resource list will be updated periodically. Please click these links, learn what is out there, and give in the ways that are best for you.

Please continue to pray for the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. We saw conditions there that shook us to the core. There are rebuilding efforts, and many signs of hope, but they cannot do it alone. Please pray for strength, healing, and wise leadership. Pray for the healing of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wounds. Pray for strong communities. I am writing this on Easter morning; please pray for resurrection.

If you can, please go to New Orleans. I can’t stress this strongly enough. Go for a day, a week, a semester, a season. Go and see the city; if you can, volunteer. You may not think that your brief presence makes a difference—but we found out that it does. Even if you can’t stay long enough to see the fruits of your labor, the experience of serving in this city will change you. You will not see the world, or your place in it, the same way again.

Educational Resources

Indymedia, Katrina page

National Geographic, Katrina Photo Page

National Geographic Special Edition: Katrina (includes "How You Can Help" list of resources)

New Orleans Times-Picayune, Katrina Archive

NPR: Six Months After Katrina

NPR: Katrina, One Year Later

NPR: Katrina and Recovery

Think Progress, Katrina Timeline

This American Life, Katrina Stories

"Immigrants and Hurricane Katrina," ImmigrationProf Blog 4-12-07

"New Orleans Rebirth Depends on Marshes," Dallas Morning News 12/10/05


Donation information and volunteer resources
Many of these organizations welcome volunteers. All welcome financial contributions.

Tulane University School of Social Work, Hurricane Assistance Links

The NOAH Project (Loyola New Orleans Alliance for Hope)

Mercy Corps, Gulf Coast Recovery page (also click the tabs on the left)

Oxfam America, Hurricane Katrina Page

Habitat for Humanity, New Orleans

Episcopal Relief and Development, Hurricane Response Center

Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, volunteer page

St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans
St. Anna's Mission to Musicians, Summary and Outcomes Statement (2006)
We visited while we were there. This church hosts a benefit for musicians every Wednesday night, and has several other free services, including legal and crisis counseling. When I asked the rector what he would have me take back to California, he said, "Peace. Hope. And send us money."

2 comments:

SusanG said...

I just returned from a week's vacation in NOLA, and a mutual friend directed me here. Although we vacationed and did not work, I was so glad we were there. It was my first visit to the city, and I will definitely go back. The people were so friendly and seemed SO happy to have people there. Many of the shops we went into (even when we didn't buy anything) ended with long conversations and many many thanks for visiting.

We did take a 3-hour Katrina bus tour - it was absolutely shocking to see current conditions. The thing that struck me more than the physical devastation was the emptiness of the streets - no cars, no people, no animals, for blocks and blocks and blocks. People need to see that, to try to understand what remains to be done.

My daughter spent the week in Mississippi on a hurricane work trip. She also was astounded by the damage that remains there.

Best wishes to you, and continued prayers for those affected by Katrina.

SusanG

Kirstin said...

Susan,

Thank you so much for dropping by. You're right; seeing NOLA for yourself knocks your apathy right out of you. I know that I'll go back. And I'll continue to work from where I am.

I had the same experience with the people we met; they fell over themselves thanking us, and were so happy just to be remembered. That in itself can break your heart.

We met up with people who'd spent the week in MS. They'd built houses with Habitat, because the town had literally blown away. Gives me shivers. How is your daughter, after having been there?

I'd love to know who our mutual friend is. Please say hi for me.

Thanks again for sharing your experience. Peace to you.