August 30th, 2006


Returning to New Orleans... and staying there.

I got an email today from a LiveJournaler in New Orleans that prompted me to make an important decision as to how I plan on using my journal for the foreseeable future.

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I want to ask those of you in New Orleans, please, give me your stories to share with others. Your firsthand perspective. Your frustrations. Your thoughts on what is important and helpful to you, and what is not. Your news of grassroots efforts to rebuild New Orleans, its citizen's lives, and its communities.

In a very real sense, I am encouraging New Orleanians to be co-contributors to this site, and to use whatever visibility I might have in order to ideally draw more attention to your issues. I reserve my right as editor, but I will do my best to make sure your stories get heard.

Most importantly, I'm not asking for you to contribute news and stories on some sort of arbitrary anniversary that will be forgotten until next year, but rather, I welcome contributions from the people of New Orleans for as long as you think it might help make a difference in rebuilding your lives, your communities, and your city, and for as long as there's a problem or a solution we can draw people's attention to. We need this as long as there's something all of us out here can do to help. We need this until New Orleans is whole again.

To contribute articles, news, information, and personal stories that you have written from New Orleans to my journal, just send me an email or leave me a comment in any of my posts, indicating your desire that I share what you're submitting with others. I, in turn, will do the best that I can to use whatever limited notoriety I might have to draw attention to it, not just today, not just tomorrow, but until New Orleans is whole again. I encourage others to do the same, or to simply copy anything I post from people  in New Orleans to your journal. You have my permission to do so, with absolutely no attribution required.  

So, New Orleans, what's your story? How are things going, what would you like to tell us, and how can we help you today?

What can you do to keep the spotlight on New Orleans?

One New Orleanean, soupystew, suggested the following, which I am reposting in full:


**Visit to find information, connect with local organizations and learn about actions that affect housing, health, jobs, and other related issues.

**Organize friends, family, and colleagues to watch Spike Lee's HBO documentary, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. It will be shown on HBO cable starting on August 29th. (Or rent it at Netflix.) Afterwards, talk about ways you can take practical actions. Visit for discussion questions.

**Help ensure that news media tell the real story of Katrina and its aftermath and continue to offer balanced reporting on the issue. Call your local news and radio talk shows, and write letters to the editor. (For pointers, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting has an online kit with contact information for media outlets and sample letters.) 

**Got five minutes a week? Join the Katrina Information Network. KIN members commit to five minutes a week to send emails to their network and to policymakers to keep these issues on the public agenda.

On the creative front, the most innovative project I've seen coming out of the catastrophe is the New Orleans Kid Camera Project. Created to address the psychological and emotional impact of Hurricane Katrina on children returning home to New Orleans, the project fosters photography, creative writing and mixed media as means for children to explore their environment and express themselves, their stories and feelings. Check out the latest gallery of the kids' work here and then click here to support future efforts.

There are innumerable Katrina memorial events over the next few days--in the Gulf region and nationwide. The Human Rights Network has a good list as does United for Peace. The Sun Herald is the place to look for anniversary events in South Mississippi and check WAFB TV's site for a close-to-comprehensive list for New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Finally, if you want to donate money to help the tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors still homeless and in great need, see the American Institute of Philanthropy's guide to find the best ways to help the victims, and check out the Network for Good's suggestions on Katrina giving. Habitat for Humanity is also a good recipient. It's been on the ground for virtually the last twelve months helping to rebuild the homes of those way down on the government's priority lists. Giving to Habitat will get your money to the right place.


Good ideas, and some great links. 

Another thing all of you can do is to share this kind of information with others on your journals, not just now, but in the weeks and months to come.  

I was also sent these links from everyinchofme , who wanted to tell her hurricane story and share a few links: 

A Year Ago...

Aug 28th--No Clue
Aug 28th--No Where to Go But Up
Aug 28th--Lights Out
Aug 29th--And then There was Silence
Aug 29th--From Parchment and Paper
Sept 1st--We Don't Die...

"Life" after...

Sept 17th--My Work Day
Sept 17th--Policies and Procedures


Six Things to *Not* say to a Katrina Survivor