I received this forwarded message from a neighbor this afternoon, this is an excerpt:
We are about 50 miles from the New Orleans area where you are likely seeing pictures. The capital area ( Baton Rouge and surrounding cities) did not suffer the same damage you are seeing in New Orleans . However, the situation grows worse here for different reasons. Many people here are still without power. Many folks evacuated from New Orleans before the storm--my neighbors and most everyone that I know have between 15-20 people staying in their houses. Anyone that could get a ride, came to Baton Rouge, whether they knew anyone here or not. The grocery stores here are out of food and gas stations are out of gas. Luckily, I had a gas powered BBQ grill that I used to cook on while the power was out and had stocked up with water and ice to keep food cold. Today, I drove for half hour all around the city to find gas, there is none.
He also compiled a bunch of links that might be useful to others...
Some have asked what they can do to help. I don't really know, as I'm only now getting reconnected to the outside world. I just know that the needs here are very, very dire and we need everything. There is absolutely no way to mail anything in or out of New Orleans . But I do know that all of the humanitarian efforts are being coordinated from Baton Rouge. Here is what I do know:
Cash donations are being encouraged through the Red Cross--1-800-HELP NOW, or http://store.yahoo.com/redcross-donate/
I'm told that donations to this fund go must be designated for New Orleans, or they go to a general disaster relief fund, but cant be guaranteed to go to Louisiana, although there is a good chance that something will end up here.
Other National Charities that have Louisiana-specific donation funds:
Catholic Charities http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/news/katrina.cfm
Christian Reformed World Relief http://www.crwrc.org/?action=d7_article_viewer_view_article&Join_ID=94464
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance http://www.pcusa.org/pda/response/usa/hurricanekatrina-index.htm
Other lists can be accesses at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/31/AR200508
Those who want to donate to something that is in Louisiana: Baton Rouge Area Foundation is coordinating relocation and humanitarian efforts for New Orleans folks right now. I know the director personally and he is top-notch. www.brac.org or 225 387-6126.
The Mayor is establishing a New Orleans fund, but I don't have the details yet, They will have the fund set up I'm told by tomorrow and I'll pass along for those interested. Also, the following is a list of local needs compiled by the local paper: http://2theadvocate.com/livepages4/830.shtml which includes some of the above, but also other types of needed assistance.
My friend in Mississippi was finally able to post, she's in Jackson right now and her husband who had stayed behind has checked on their house and it has some damage but it's livable. She has relatives in New Orleans that didn't fare as well. She's expecting to have a full house when they do return home but already they are talking about relocating out of the area.
Elsewhere online I've seen offers from people in the surrounding area to help receive donations of food and clothing and help distribute them via area churches and the like. I think I will take part.
There's also a MoveOn.org site to help people connect with housing in the extended area -- http://www.hurricanehousing.com
What a nightmare, and with one big earthquake that could be Seattle as well. Scary. I think I will go restock up on some of my earthquake supplies. We're supposed to keep cash, 3 days food and water and a bunch of other supplies at home, in our car and at the office. Read more about it...