Weeping for New Orleans
I'm glad things are becoming better, albeit slowly. The cavalry has arrived - literally - and law and order are being reintroduced, evacuations are ongoing, people are being fed and housed, and bodies being recovered. Having worked a couple of previous disasters, I know how difficult that is for the people involved. Nonetheless, it will be done, because that's what military people do - whatever it takes to accomplish the mission, even when it literally kills them.
There's been one online resource I haven't seen any links to, so I thought I'd add it: the Alexandria Daily Town Talk (http://www.thetowntalk.com/). This is the newspaper I grew up with. It's disappointed me many times in the past, but it's doing a very good job of covering Katrina and its aftermath. Also check out the New Orleans Louisiana website - http://www.nola.com/ - and the Times-Picayune coverage. Both papers deserve a Pulitzer, and the attention they're currently getting.
Now the HARD work begins - thinking about how to do things better in the future. I fear, however, it will be Louisiana politics as usual, and the city and state will be set up for another devastating blow in order to line some politician's and their buddies' pockets.
We've been on the low-to-bottom side of financial security ourselves for the last six years, so we know how it is to have to do without. While that's changed, we're still so far behind on essential things it's going to be several years before we're able to recover fully. We needed to paint the outside of our house five years ago - hopefully it'll be done this fall, before we suffer permanent (and expensive!) damage. Both of us have had to hold our spending to absolute minimum for so long, and had to respond to disaster by in-kind donations (or less) for so long, that's our primary means of responding these days.
Luckily, we have more and highly diverse skills and background than most, and we can offer a multitude of in-kind donations. Our choice for Katrina aid is to once again open our home to traumatized children: children who have lost their parents, who don't know where their parents are or even if they're alive, or who have been temporarily or even permanently separated from them. We've been therepeutic foster-parents before, and we can do it again, even with both of us being much older and less physically able now than at any time in our lives. We've contacted about a dozen agencies about this. So far, we haven't gotten much response. I'll update this entry with whatever we hear.
God has been VERY good to us, and we feel the need to extend our hand to others. We've offered to take up to two children indefinitely, at our own expense. That seems to be the least we can do at this time. We only hope that "indefinitely" won't equal "forever", as much for the children's sake as our own, and that we don't have to make such an offer again for many, many years.