Friday, March 03, 2006

Local charities

Thanks for your comments - Laurie, I think there are a number of groups doing good work, here are some links.

My church - - is running a disaster relief center from its parking lot and is providing volunteers and cash assistance to families in the surrounding Broadmoor neighborhood. It was featured in a USA Today article at

The LA SPCA rescued thousands of animals from the flooding and lost its building. It's running on fumes. Their address is Adopting a homeless animal is also a great way to help.

Habitat for Humanity is constantly building, and is working in partnership with other organizations. Their address is They also have volunteer opportunities ongoing.

And Children's Hospital is operating clinics for displaced families around the area who lost their medical insurance.

I've posted as much detail as I have about our particular situation because I don't think many people around the country have a good idea how frustrating it is here for a couple hundred thousand people with the same problems. There's so much said about how many billions are allocated to rebuilding - but that money doesn't go to the families, it's needed for rebuilding infrastructure. When even up-to-date insurance won't pay off your mortgage or repair the house, you're left with an entire city full of people - rich, poor, and middle class alike - over the proverbial barrel.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Six months later...

...and what have we to show for it?

Flood and wind damage estimated at $400K to repair.
$270K in insurance settlements (currently being held hostage by Countrywide)
$4K in FEMA assistance
$330K mortgage, growing by around $1500/month in interest and fees
1 trailer with no water, electricity, or keys
About $10K in credit card debt.

And you know what? We're the lucky ones. We have an apartment to live in, and our neighborhood is already mostly reoccupied. In other parts of the city, they're still using dogs to locate the dead. Actually, there was a long-dead body found in a house on our block three weeks ago.

My true love Bono recorded this almost twenty years ago, but damned if it ain't perfect for New Orleans today:

Across the mud huts where the children sleep
Through the alleys of a quiet city street
Take the staircase to the first floor
Turn the key and slowly unlock the door
As a man breathes into a saxophone
Through the walls we hear the city groan
Outside it's america
Outside it'’s america

Across the field you see the sky ripped open
See the rain come through the gaping wound
Pounding on the women and children who run into the arms of america