Fat Tuesday: Katrina Recovery & Donations Progress

The Washington Post reports today that 2/3 of the charitable donations collected for Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath have already been disbursed, yet so much more work remains to be done. I hope some of you are going to Mardi Gras, but reading this brought home for me that I haven't donated to Katrina relief since last year, and that I need to do so again.

Anybody who loves American music owes a debt of the soul to the City Of New Orleans and its people. Regardless of what degree of rebuilding can actually succeed for the future, and no matter who you prefer to donate with, folks along the Gulf Coast, as well as those relocated, still need all of our help in immediate and longer-term ways. The disaster itself was only the beginning, many of the biggest challenges still lie ahead. Even now, the government seems more intent on examining what it did wrong 6 months ago than what it's still not getting done today, and with the Feds' resources diverted to Iraq over the country we live in, and the local governments in the area stretched past the breaking point, it's up to us citizens to maintain the high level of crucial private aid.

There were a couple of prior Katrina threads that haven't been active lately, but I'm sure many of you have been affected personally and/or personally involved in recovery efforts, and hope those with stories we should hear can post some of them here. As for me, I regret I won't be at Mardis Gras; this timely reminder will get out some Crescent City music on my turntable, and my checkbook on the plain old table.
A most classy thread, Zaikesman!

I think we all need to be reminded about this so we never lose focus on the issue at hand. And, what better time than at Mardi Gras?

Thank you!!!
I live in Metairie, the suburb immediately West of New Orleans and the infamous 17th St. canal.

It is a strange Mardi Gras this year. Normally the celebration is deeply embedded within the soul of the city, but this year is different. The season is shorter than usual and is taking place against a backdrop of destruction that you have to see to understand (TV pictures don't really do it justice).

Remaining residents are glad for the opportunity to forget about Katrina for a few hours, but the whole thing just feels wrong. No matter how you try, you can't quite forget the massive destruction and long uphill road ahead, with an uncertain destination.

Locally the Federal response to Katrina is considered a joke. The concensus is that if we want help we'll have to do it ourselves with the help of private charities and assistance. FEMA stands for "Fixed Everything, My A**". Prsident Bush's September speech from Jackson Square pledging a historically massive Gulf Coast reconstruction effort is a joke.

The local music scene is showing signs of life again. Many local clubs are back in business (including Snug Harbor, my favorite) and a lot of local musicians have returned. New Orleans music has always been a strange gumbo, and Katrina's stirring of the pot may well produce something new.

Personally I was fortunate. My house is raised, and sustained only minor damage. But 10 miles East of me across the 17th St canal lies a total destruction zone that runs for 20 miles. I have too many friends and associates who lost everything. The future is still very uncertain.
PS - Thanks to all for the concerns about New Orleans and a special thanks to those who've contributed to the recovery efforts.
Thanks for letting us know a bit of what you experience daily, GR45. I visited NO twice, but not since the beginning of the 90's, and my gal of the past 10 years has never been. I went to the Jazz & Heritage Fest once back then, and today I sorely regret not returning to it more recently with her. Thought about it most years, even checked out the musical itinerary and made tentative plans in my head a couple times, but when the idea had to make way for other realities, I just thought "we'll get there next year". It pains me now to think she may never be able to see the same great city I was lucky enough to have a little taste of, so I can only imagine what it feels like for the folks who live and love it there. And I have this disquieting feeling like the rest of the country doesn't fully appreciate the tragedy of what's probably been lost, which astounds me.
This is where I'll be in early May, trying to make up as best I can for not attending the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival recently:

The 5th annual Ponderosa Stomp, to be held in Memphis this year instead of NO, at the Gibson Guitar factory! May 8th, 9th, and 10th. Here's the music lineup so far:

Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Joe Clay, Jay Chevalier, Rebirth Brass Band, Willie Tee, Eddie Bo, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Rockie Charles, Tammy Lynn, Alvis Wayne, Warren Storm, Lazy Lester, The Bad Roads, Barbara Lynn, Roy Head, Lil Buck Sinegal, Archie Bell, Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, Sonny Burgess, Hayden Thompson, Ace Cannon, Hi Rhythm Section, Travis Wammack, Willie Cobbs, Kenny Brown, The Bo Keys, The Nightcaps, Kenny & the Kasuals, ? & the Mysterians, Lady Bo, Billy Boy Arnold, Jody Williams, Deke Dickerson & the Eccofonics, Johnny Jones, Chick Willis, Little Freddie King, James Blood Ulmer, Dale Hawkins, Dennis Coffey, Wiliiam Bell, Fillmore Slim, The Tennessee Three featuting W.S. Holland and Bob Wootten, Wiley and the Checkmates, Syl Johnson, Herb Remington, The Fabulous Wailers, Bobby Patterson, The Climates, Carl Mann, Rayburn Anthony, Big George Brock, and Henry Gray

Roots Rock'n'Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Rockabilly, Funk, Soul, Jazz, Zydeco, even 6T's Garage Punk -- and I suspect some BBQ -- all down in Memphis Home Of The Blues, and not one damn "audiophile" artist in the bunch baby! See you there or be mighty mighty square!
This post reminded me to donate some dough and I will...just hope there's no rebuilding in obvious spots that will be crushed again when the next one comes, and it will come...up here in Mass the same shoreline owners used to rebuild every year, with our tax money...that's not happening anymore..some places just aren't appropriate to put a house...the Katrina disaster exposed how needy the entire State of LA is....don't know what the solution is for that...they haven't made a hell of a lot of progress since the civil war ended IMHOP.It's a unique State, that's for sure and all the poor people that have been displaced seem to be the cultural element that's real important.
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DO NOT click on the above links. Audiogon, please delete the previous post (or this thread), and prevent future posts from Unknown (not a member).
I used to work with this guy, Matt. He up and quit his job as a longtime engineer to move down that way, in order to help the community. Check him out. There is alot of solid info about progress.