Lagniappe ...

Amid the chaos after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many Americans sought advice about honest charities capable of getting assistance directly to people in need. Links to a few of the many reputable aid groups appear to the left.

These catastrophes hit the people, infrastructure, and environment of the Gulf Coast harder than photographs, television, or the printed word can convey - and the agony continues. If you suffer from "Katrina fatigue" or wonder if the area's cultural importance alone is worth the financial price of recovery, consider the plain facts of southern Louisiana's economic and strategic importance to the rest of the United States. The state and its waters rank first in US oil production, with a refinery industry second only to that in Texas. A quarter of our natural gas comes from Louisiana. So does a quarter of commercial seafood caught in the lower 48 states. The lower Mississippi River is the busiest shipping corridor in the country.

Americans uprooted by or struggling at home to recover from the disasters of 2005 continue to need our help. The isolation that has made Louisiana such a special part of our national landscape has worked against its people, despite the generosity of many of their fellow citizens. It's hard to imagine a lame reaction to the displacement of a quarter of a million Americans if such devastation had hit New York City, Washington DC or a major midwestern agricultural area.

The security of coastal Louisiana and its resources were in jeopardy before the storms, whose impact was dramatically worsened by the erosion of wetlands and coastal barriers. The state continues to literally fall into the sea. Prior to Katrina and Rita, funding for programs to reverse this process were repeatedly shelved by the federal government. For all of the reasons mentioned above, however, saving this coastline is a necessary chore the country can no longer duck. For more information about this issue and opportunities to get involved, investigate the links provided by

Thanks for helping!
May 2011