Comments return, at least for the moment. I posted two that saved successfully a little bit ago. Charles, I've posted your Katrina comment.
I haven't been watching the news, or listening to NPR for the last few days. Knowing what's going on in the gulf coast states, and knowing there's not a bit of anything I can do, just makes the whole thing too painful. I read the paper and look at the still photos, then close my eyes and bite my lip and try to breathe deeply. That's about the sum of my parts here. I donated all the extra food in my pantry to a local food drive yesterday. (An airline donated a plane and a pilot to take food from here to a distribution center down south.) One of the items I keep as emergency backup food is a pre-seasoned rice and beans mix from Vigo; it's called "Red Beans and Rice, New Orleans Style." I had to think twice about putting that in--it was just odd, to think of someone whose New Orleans home had been wiped out picking up a package of food and seeing this little jazz guy logo and instructions for making the "Big Easy Special" on the back. Then one of my friends pointed out that this food might end up in Biloxi instead, and that made me feel better so I put the package in the box anyway.
Being who I am, my thoughts on the hurricaine turned almost immediately to animals and the environment, in addition to the devastating toll on people and things. The Audubon Zoo and Aquarium of the Americas survived the levee break with few casualties; but of course many pets and wild animals were affected by this disaster as well, and they're not exactly a number one priority for FEMA. That's as it should be, of course--but the effect on the non-human residents of the gulf isn't inconsiderable. My dad was doing some work with refugees from NO who've ended up at the Salvation Army and Red Cross stations here, and heard a firsthand story from a guy who saw his friend wading through waist high water in his neighborhood in New Orleans get attacked by a shark. A shark. There are sharks, fish, snakes, alligators--not to mention non-aquatic animals--all swimming around in, essentially, sewage, trying to stay alive long enough to get out of this mess. So if you're like me, and this thought upsets you nearly as much as all the other horrible things we've seen this week, you should be aware that there are places taking donations to assist in animal rescue and environmental cleanup. I donated to the ASPCA earlier this week; organizations like the World Wildlife Fund will be instrumental in restoring the native wetlands and marshes along the gulf coast when the emergency is over and the rebuilding begins. Just one more way to give a little of what you've got to help those who have nothing.