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August 31, 2005


Gerard E.

FEMA's website has complete list of reputable charities and toll-free phone numbers for donations- at least those organizations up to this mammoth task. Catholic Charities USA is clearly set up as gathering point for donations among our peeps. We're Americans. We do this stuff. We'll save our peeps of all faiths on the Gulf Coast. With His assistance, of course.


This is the wealthiest nation the world has ever known. We can and will help and protect our people.


From what I can tell, everyone wants monetary donations. We are certainly going to pitch in (through my husband's company since they are offering to match donations), but I also have a lot of clothes that my children have outgrown. Any ideas who wants these? I saw the diaper clad children being rescued by the coast guard and I think these people must be in need of everything. They can't wash the clothes they are wearing and how are they supposed to go get new ones? Any ideas?


Money is fungible and costs nothing to transport. That's the excuse we always hear anyhow.


Tomorrow the Catholic high school here in SC where I teach will have two new students from the New Orleans area.


A few years ago I read a tome about the 1927 (if think) flood ("Rising Tide"). Many areas of MI, LA, and ALA among other states, primarily below STL, I think, were just destroyed and over-run with water. [Not, NO, I believe.] It was a disaster of similar proportions. Lots of poor sharecroppers then in shanties, displaced permanently. Dead livestock some on high ground all over the place. I expect a permament relocation north by many folks as occurred back then. Recovery will take much time.


In addition to personal checks that will be sent, I'm hoping all our parishes nationwide will take up a second collection this Sunday for Catholic Charities USA.

Anonymous Teacher Person

I'm responsible for coordinating the service program at our Catholic high school. Any ideas from commenters on what my students can do to help? I have calls in to our local Food Bank and the Red Cross at the moment, with plans to call some other agencies as well. If anyone's had experience with herding teenagers to do something to help, I'd appreciate suggestions. Thanks...

John J. Simmins

Among other things, I imagine that all the children's school supplies have been washed away.


Yea, probably the children's schools as well.


People are posting offers of free housing for Katrina refugees on the Craigslist website. One of the posts encouraged people to contact FEMA with their offers, too. I'd imagine most people would rather not live in the Astrodome if they can avoid it.


Here's a Wiki page recently set up:


Hat Tip: Jimmy Akin's blog


Ah, I see the USCCB is already 'way ahead of me:

"In a message sent Tuesday to all US bishops, Bishop William Skylstad, head of the Conference asked that a special collection be taken up in the nation’s 195 dioceses in a spirit of “fraternal support to our brother bishops at this tragic time.”

Sandra Miesel

Ah yes, the 1927 flood which may have killed thousands along the Mississippi. Thousands of other hapless survivors were held on top of a levee at Greenville MS for months, a project in which Walker Percy's relative were prominent. The suffering and bitterness caused by this disaster triggered major black migration to the North. It will be very interesting to see if anything like that happens after Katrina.
John Barry's book RISING TIDE is excellent as is his history of the Spanish flu, THE GREAT INFLUENZA.



Any word from Fr. Bryce Sibley?
No response to email.

Robert Clayton

Dale Price

My wife came up with an idea of having your parish "adopt" one of the devastated parishes in the Gulf Coast region, and sending cash, food, clothes, liturgical materials, etc. I spell it out in more detail at my blog.


I second the idea on parish adoption as well as clothing donations. For some of us, money is tight but I surely have lots of clothing to donate, especially now that I am unpacking boxes and boxes of it..

I wonder if salvation army or goodwill or even St Vincent Depaul in any affected areas would be willing to accept boxes of clothing. I know I would have at least 4 dishpack boxes full of clothes ,shoes, bedding and tupperware..

If anyone knows, please point us in the right direction...


My daughter's high school in Bethesda, Md., has a sister school in New Orleans (Sacred Heart Network of Schools). I just sent an email to her headmistress asking if her school has considered 'adopting' girls from the sister school (Rosary, I think) until their own school reopens. I am sure many parents would be willing to house some girls (including my family).


Robert, I mentioned in another thread I exchanged e-mails with Fr. Bryce this morning. He wasn't worried about getting hit and he was right: all he had was some wind and rain; no loss of power, either.

Karen LH

"I wonder if salvation army or goodwill or even St Vincent Depaul in any affected areas would be willing to accept boxes of clothing."

Salvation Army (http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/) says they are not taking in-kind donations right now, just money. Maybe that will change when things settle down a bit.


Thanks for posting Karen.. I guess Ill just box the things up and set them in the garage and just label them for the victims..

If anyone finds a spot to mail them to please do post..

Thanks much.. Yvonne

Donald R. McClarey

In kind donations, unless you can personally hand them to a person who needs them, are a waste of time and money to transport. Money is the item that is needed now, along with prayer which, of course, is always needed.



Ah, you read that book as well. You're an excellent historian. I respect your views of such (& many other) things. I also remember the Percys being a big part of the story in MS. [I think I typed MI instead above!] I am wondering if similar resentments will develop as so many, particularly blacks, are left stranded and possibly dead--maybe by their own choice and foolishness, but stranded nonetheless. The consequences of Katrina and film/photos I've seen seem so similar to that epic flood.

Karen LH

Actually, regarding the in-kind donations, I just saw our local newspaper, and the Coldwell Banker office in Annapolis, MD, is taking donations of clothing, toys, etc., and the airlines are donating the cargo space. So you might want to see if something similar is going on in your area.


Found a place for clothes..

Vincent DePaul Society in Baton Rouge.. they want and need childrens clothes/shoes

Addy is:
St Vincent DePaul Society
220 St Vincent DePaul Place
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Also needed...
First Aid kit items.. Childrens Tylenol, bandaids etc..
Toiletries, blankets, pillows, towles, washcloths, hand soap, diapers

frank sales

I like the idea of adopting a parish. I belong to one called Holy Name and see that there is one in New Orleans called Holy Name of Jesus at 6220 Lasalles Place. Obviously phone lines and internet connections for this church and the archdiocese are down. Does anyone know anything about that parish? Affluent or poor? I'd like to get in touch with someone from there to see what they need most.

Bill H

I like the parish idea in principle, but I wonder if, right now, any organization smaller than the Archdiocese functionally exists.

Sandra Miesel

In that 1927 flood, the rich & powerful of New Orleans chose to save the city by blowing up a levee and draining the swollen river over neighboring Plaquemines Parish, inhabited by a few poor Cajuns. Had they waited a few hours longer, this wouldn't have been necessary, as the crest was passing naturally.
The evening network news showed a downtown store that looters had torched. I expected this to happen. But how much of the city will be destroyed that way?

Catherine L


Holy Name of Jesus is the parish where my parents were married. It is on the Loyola campus in the university section of Uptown New Orleans. My brother lives very close to there (if he still has a house left). It is an affluent area and one that hadn't flooded, last I heard. However, currently armed bands of marauders are going around looting the houses that weren't destroyed by flooding. My brother told me that he fully expected to come back to a house that was stripped bare and full of squatters.

Some other parishes to consider that are in flooded, less affluent areas:

St. Catherine of Siena
St. Mary Magdalene
St. Francis Xavier (affluent, but flooded)
St. Pius X
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
St. Angela Merici
St. Agnes

Probably more that I can't think of. I'm not familiar with the parishes in East New Orleans, which is a heavily Vietnamese area, and was probably totally wiped out.

Dave J

As a retiree with more time than money I've begun trying to determine the need for volunteer help. So far not finding much. More discouraging is that neither the FEMA or Red Cross websites seem to have been updated to provide this info. FEMA in particular seems to still back on last year's hurricanes. I know they're really busy, 'course that's when you need volunteers. This is NOT intended as an attack on those folks, just a comment on the extent of the shock this has been on system.
If nothing else we should learn a lot on handling major disasters in large cities. I know how to get to the Red Cross tomorrow-local branch, anybody know of other needs for bodies?


A spokesman for the Red Cross in Chicago was on public TV tonight requesting that volunteers help here in Chicago to free up trained volunteers who could then be sent to N.O. The need there is for specialists with expertise in Mass Casulties or some-such.


This is the wealthiest nation the world has ever known. We can and will help and protect our people.

Yes and no. One lesson to be learned from all of this, from the comfort of our nice, dry, and unaffected homes, is that, if you are one of the unfortunate ones who are hit by a disaster, ultimately, it is a big and perhaps fatal mistake to expect help from anyone. If disaster strikes, you need to be prepared to help yourself, to do it all by yourself, to expect that help will not arrive. If it does arrive, great, but you should not simply sit back and expect for it to be there. If you can give help to others, again great, but government officials at the scene are obviously not providing the help that people are expecting. A few thousand people are sitting on the highway without any water, just sitting and waiting, expecting government to bring it out to them. They've been waiting for days. Why it is not being taken to them, I don't know, but its not. It is clearly a mistake to expect any assistance, you must be prepared to save yourself.

I don't know, perhaps its an entitlement mentality that some people are stuck in, always expecting government to do something for them. But you have to expect that government will not be there for you. You have to replace an entitlement mentality with a do-it-yourself mentality. Obviously, that does not mean armed looting, etc., like we are seeing, but it does mean not sitting there complaining about why the government isn't helping. It means walking out of there if you have to; it means walking down the highway 20 miles if you have to.

Certainly, government and private organizations must provide assistance. But, ultimately, you cannot place your faith in government; you cannot rely on government for anything. You must be prepared to do it yourself.


Would it be wrong to note that it is really beginning to look like N.O. has taken this French thing too much to the extreme? That it looks like, in their rescue efforts, that state and local officials have modeled themselves way too much on how the French would do it -- screwing things up and blaming others?



You bring up some very good points. I would also like to add that I think the chaos that is going on there is truly failure to prepare or failure to believe that this could happen. they all say they knew it was coming but evidently they did not prepare for a catastophy of this magnitude.

I see the problem as the agencies are NOT working together. There is no communication amongst them. Everyone is all over the place doing this, doing that, etc..

What should be happeneing is one group focusing on evacuations, another looking for survivors,security for the city to prevent looting and another searching for those who have died. There is absolutely NO excuse in my book for this mish mosh unorganized bologne. We are talking about life here- these folks have gone days without water and food. For heavens sakes where are the MRE's and water buffalos!

The MSM is so focused on the water levels and the devestation that no one has yet asked- or at least I didnt see- on WHY these agencies cant get it together. They are all going in different directions. It should have been an immediate response- a coordinated effort and strong leadership to get it done.. Do what it takes to get the job accomplished.

While I cant argue with what you are saying about being dependant on the government-- I understand their mentality. Ilived in the deep south for quite a few years. The mentality there at the time was " You owe me Master". while that sounds quite crass and perhaps quite unchristian, I can assure you it is VERY visible to the naked eye that this mentality exists.

Truly sad but yes we can do our share.. we can pray, volunteer , make monetary donations, send clothing to St Vincents-- matter of fact it is our duty to give either of ourselves or of goods.


ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY? We are talking about people who have narrowly escape death after several hours of terror with nothing more than the clothes on their back, spending a few days in some sort of homeless limbo, abandoned in a city with flooded streets with flaoting bodies and complete lawlessness, not eating anything substantial in days, and then criticize them for thinking that someone might help them in their time of desparate need when they are likely too tired, too hungry, and too in shock to imagine any way out except for a weary "please. help. me." We are not talking Welfare reform, here. Think after the end of a war, when displaced people wander in shock because they have no home to go to. They wonder and wait because they haev absolutely no means, financial, mental, spiritual, to get beyond where they are. I would wager GOVERNMENT HANDOUT is not their expectation, but rather help, of some kind, any kind.


And before we blame the agencies for not having their acts together, which certainly I am not saying they do, but please remember there really is no communication system to speak of in those parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. Most radio communication, including cell phones and some emrgency systems, are completely out. Some unfortunately like one private ambulance service's system, were knocked out a second time because someone stole their generator.
Heck, I just moved out of Jackson a few weeks ago and still have my Mississippi cell phone and up here in Pittsburgh people can't reach me on it due to the massive power and phone system callers get is due to the emergency situation blah blah can't connect the call blah blah. And Jackson wasn't even that hard hit!


You can call it criticism, or you can call it advice -- If you want to survive, if you want to live, then you are going to have to do it yourself. It is that simple. I'll leave the politics of the matter for another day.

frank sales

Thank you, Catherine L.!

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