Give Till It Hurts
If you've already given to the Red Cross, consider sending something to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation as well.
Here's an account of the need from someone on the ground:
New Orleans is flooded - up to fifteen feet in some places, they say - and everything south of New Orleans is under about ten feet of water. Two parishes (counties to you) and a major city are more or less totaled and there is other, very severe, damage. People's lives have been ruined forever in vast numbers and on a tremendous scale. It's much worse than if Louisiana had been nuked. It totally dwarfs 9-11.
Today I worked with Search and Rescue. Tomorrow I am scheduled be doing airphoto/recon/imagery work. I am working long, hard hours, and helping to save survivor's lives, and that's good, because it helps to keep my mind off of the depressing severity of our tremendous losses.
And they are indeed tremendous. The magnitude of this disaster is almost inconceivable to the human mind. This disaster is so big that it is, as one of my friends put it, apocalyptic. You would not believe what I have seen and heard, because some of the sights and some of the radio traffic and cellphone/satphone calls have literally been beyond normal belief; they could only ever happen during an apocalyptic event.
Please tell your friends that the displaced citizens of New Orleans, many of whom lost their homes after literally escaping the hurricane with just what they could fit in the car besides their kids and pets, desperately need help. We have a half million of them (!) here in Baton Rouge (and I even have several of them in my house), and many of them are suffering terribly. They need clothes, food, shelter, and medicine. Many of them are poor urban blacks who have never lived anywhere but New Orleans. Please urge all your friends in the strongest possible manner to please contribute tax deductible donations to the Hurricane Katrina Displaced Residents Fund online at www.braf.org or via check to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (marked Hurricane Katrina Displaced Residents Fund) and sent to BRAF at 402 N. Fourth St., Baton Rouge, La., 70802. Please tell them that if they could see the damage and these poor, suffering refugees and the wretched state that most of them are in that they would be as moved to tears as I have been.
Please tell them that this is the worst natural disaster in American history, and that its victims urgently need whatever help they can spare.