When Katrina hit, I think we all felt so shocked and so powerless. I donated money, but it wasn't until I went to New Orleans for ALA (it was the first convention held in NOLA after the hurricane), and saw the Ninth Ward for myself, that I saw the depths of the destruction. I went with a New Orleans local and writer who was there when it all happened. The news cameras could not do it justice, because they could not capture the overall feeling of loss, and the eerie silence, and the anger and sympathy and sadness, yet the hope because it's New Orleans, where laissez les bon temps roulez is more than something fun in French. The Ninth Ward looked like a war zone. It was heartbreaking -- few houses were left, some were just foundations, and whole roofs were lying in another front yard. Children's bicycles and old appliances were scattered, and the grids painted on the still standing structures, detailing the bodies and what kind of pets were found, made me cry.
Though Gustav isn't turning out to be as devastating as Katrina, and it was a proactive instead of reactive response, there are still over a million people who need help. I got this bulletin from my friend on mysapce today, Mr. Barack Obama:
----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Barack Obama
Date: Sep 1, 2008 9:15 AM
Today, the thoughts and prayers of all Americans are with those in the path of Hurricane Gustav -- and many of you are asking what you can do to help.
We do not yet know what the impact of Hurricane Gustav will be, and we hope with all our hearts that the damage will not be as great as it was three years ago.
But we know there will be damage, and there is something you can do right now.
Your financial support will strengthen organizations like the American Red Cross that are evacuating Gulf Coast residents and planning to help communities get back on their feet.
Make a donation to support the American Red Cross today.
At times like this, it is our compassion and resilience that define who we are as a nation.
Please give whatever you can afford, even $10, to make sure the American Red Cross has the resources to help those in the path of this storm:
https://donate. barackobama. com/redcross
Thank you for your generosity, and I hope you will join Michelle and me in praying for the safety of those in the path of the storm and the first responders who are doing all they can to ensure the safety of their communities.
If you can spare it, please help.