Home From Home

Austin opens arms to New Orleans guests, longing to return

Austin Mayor Will Wynn rolled up his sleeves and got 
personally involved in helping evacuees housed at the 
Austin Convention Center, doing everything from 
washing laundry and entertaining childern (above) to 
more official duties.
Austin Mayor Will Wynn rolled up his sleeves and got personally involved in helping evacuees housed at the Austin Convention Center, doing everything from washing laundry and entertaining childern (above) to more official duties. (Photo courtesy of the mayor's office)

Three days after a helicopter plucked them from the balcony of their New Orleans apartment, Lester Sampson and Irma Louis found themselves wandering around Downtown Austin in the grip of one of Katrina's side effects. They had stepped outside the Austin Convention Center for some fresh air and sunshine, when the sudden jolt of a strange, new environment – miles from their quiet Canal Street neighborhood – proved too much, too soon, for the couple's frazzled nerves. "We got as far as right there," Sampson said, pointing to a spot about a block west of Second and San Jacinto, "and we were lost. We had no idea where we were."

Returning to the convention center, they settled back into the familiar bustle of this new city within a city – Austin's primary welcome mat and resource center for 4,000 hurricane survivors who, like Sampson and Louis, were trying to collect their bearings on this Sunday afternoon. When you're traumatized, sometimes the most ordinary things, like taking a stroll around the block, can be a challenge.

Recalling the ordeal of the walk, Sampson was reminded of the helplessness he felt in the eerie silence that followed a neighbor woman's plaintive cries for help, and the way his stomach tied up in knots when he saw the murky waters creeping up the back stairway, the result of a break in the 17th Street levee that sent a wall of water from Lake Ponchartrain churning through neighborhoods around City Park. Sampson and Louis have lived in the same apartment house, south of the park, between Carrollton Avenue and Jefferson Davis Parkway, for 25 years.

Like so many others, the middle-aged couple had tried to ride out the storm at home, with their two cats. But by last Wednesday, with conditions outside their door looking progressively worse, and with their supply of water and food either gone or spoiled, they had no choice but to flee. Sampson fashioned a raft by nailing the kitchen and bedroom doors together. He remembers the sinking feeling he got when he climbed onto the raft for a test run and realized it wouldn't hold the two of them.

"It was a nightmare," Sampson said. Trying to swim to safety was not an option. Louis, who uses a cane because of paralysis in one leg, can't swim.

As it turned out, they were luckier than others. They were rescued the next day, on Thursday, after a National Guard helicopter crew spotted Sampson frantically waving a white T-shirt that he had tied to a big stick. One of the guardsmen had to kick down the banister of the back steps to ferry them onto the helicopter to safety. Louis went up first, then Sampson. He is convinced that they would have died if help had not arrived when it did. They're happy they got out, but too many uncertainties cloud their joy. Louis has no idea where her sisters are, and Sampson hasn't been able to locate his aunt, who lives across the Mississippi River in nearby Algiers, where the couple hopes to relocate. They had to leave their cats behind, but Sampson is holding out hope that they're okay. "They know about water because we used to bathe them when they were kittens," he said. "I think they're hiding somewhere safe."

There are thousands of life and death stories like this one inside the convention center, where evacuees began arriving Saturday. Most of the new arrivals are African-American, and they range in age from 6 days to 102 years. Some are deaf or blind; many are in wheelchairs. As in Texas, large numbers of Louisiana residents have no health insurance, so a fair number of evacuees arrived in Austin with existing illnesses exacerbated by a lack of medication, such as insulin for diabetes. Mental health services are as much a priority as routine health care. The more critically ill or injured were sent to Brackenridge Hospital, while others went to the Palmer Events Center for treatment. About 60 evacuees, who had arrived earlier in the week, were moved from the Burger Center in southwest Austin to the convention center when city officials were told to expect an estimated 5,000 people over the Labor Day weekend. In all, about 75 pets – dogs, cats, and a few birds – arrived in Austin with their owners. They were taken to the Austin Humane Society and are under the care of a host of volunteer veterinarians and other pet lovers. About 15 of the pets have rejoined their owners, who have since found housing outside of the convention center, said marketing director Betty Rogers.

As of Monday afternoon, 400 to 600 guests had been reunited with friends and families, and the shelter count was down to about 3,600, city officials said. They also discounted rumors from other cities that some of the evacuees carried communicable disease, such as cholera. Medical screenings and monitoring have thus far turned up negative, they said. There has been one death – a patient died at Brackenridge Hospital from an apparent blood clot, according to Dr. Edward Racht, medical director of the city/county Emergency Medical Services System.


Getting It Done

From a broader perspective, the hasty transformation of the convention center into a multipurpose resource shelter is providing an interesting study in good government and can-do volunteerism. The makeover followed quickly on the heels of the Houston Astrodome's overnight conversion into a safe haven, and Houston Mayor Bill White passed on some of those lessons to other Texas mayors. With the sudden influx of evacuees expected over the weekend, Austin went to work. City building services workers built 24 showers at the convention center and eight at Palmer. Local Red Cross officials scrambled to find additional housing and temporary shelters. Friday morning, they met with members of the Austin Hotel & Motel Association and local apartment managers to coordinate housing efforts. By then, many area hotels had already slashed their rates to accommodate the evacuees, while one facility – the Woodward Hotel & Conference Center in South Austin – looked to hire some job-seeking guests for an ongoing renovation project at the hotel, said Karen Kenter-Blumberg, executive director of the Hotel & Motel Association. "Most hotels are reducing their rates by at [least] half, down from the average of $80 to $100 [per night]," Kenter-Blumberg said last week. "They can't totally negate [the rates] because they've got their own payroll to make."

Tragedy, the saying goes, brings out the best and worst in people. In Austin, Mayor Will Wynn, facing the toughest challenge of his tenure, appears to have hit his stride. Since late last week, the usually taciturn mayor has camped out at the convention center, looking more at home in this brand-new city-in-the-making than in the quiet confines of City Hall. In this new city, the flow of tears – from evacuees, city officials, cops, doctors, and other volunteers – is pretty much the norm. On Sunday morning, area ministers descended on the convention center for church services. At a press briefing that afternoon, Wynn fell silent for several seconds as he struggled to describe the outpouring of support from the community. "I can't tell you how proud I am of this city," he said, his eyes brimming, "and how seemingly seamless and professional this process has been." City Manager Toby Futrell and Assistant City Manager Rudy Garza stood beside him. "We have had a spectacular day and night here at the Convention Center," Wynn continued enthusiastically. "This has been an inspiring experience for us. ... There have been so many beautiful, individual stories from people, and a remarkable amount of gratitude from our guests."

Later, an aide would recount one chaotic moment when volunteers discovered they were running short on towels. It was 3:30am Sunday, and there were 500 bedraggled guests waiting for showers. The Austin Hilton across the street, the mayor was told, had refused a request to wash hundreds of towels heaped in a cart. So the mayor commandeered a trio of fellows, and the four of them pushed the automobile-sized cart up Red River and into the Hilton. The hotel night manager told the mayor he would "love" to help, but didn't have the authority to wash the towels. "I ain't asking for your authorization!" Wynn bellowed. "Where the hell are your washing machines?" With that, the staff grabbed the cart and scurried off to the laundry room.

When Futrell prompted Wynn to tell the towel story at a press briefing, the mayor chuckled and then changed the subject. "Now," he continued on message, "we're beginning to transform from what had been a 48-hour exercise in emergency operation into a facilities management operation."


Next Steps

That's Wynn-speak for helping thousands of survivors move on to the next step. That means arranging for their transportation home or to live with relatives in other cities, or helping them find temporary or permanent housing in Austin. Employment counseling will be made available. City officials also expect federal assistance for travel and housing vouchers. Walking through the convention center, Wynn stopped at Meeting Room 2, the makeshift command center where police officers and other public safety personnel had set up shop. (Wynn was careful to point out the "casual" police presence on site.) Wynn picked up a stack of newly made, professional-looking signs waiting to be posted at various points. "Mental Health," read one sign. "School Enrollment," read another.

Heading toward the north end of the convention center, Wynn stopped at his favorite department – the Family Reunion Center, where a dozen or so people had made contact with family members and were awaiting their arrivals. An exhibit hall was the next stop. Here, hundreds of people milled about or rested on cots or lawn chairs. Around the corner, groups of kids tossed balls around in the large airy corridors on the north end. Their eyes lit up when they saw the TV cameras. Turning east, dozens of evacuees picked through donated clothing heaped onto several tables.

Off to the side, Louis and Sampson had found a quiet corner to gather their thoughts. "Right now, all we can think about is going home. We don't know anybody here, and we don't know anybody in Austin. Our home is in New Orleans."


EVACUEE SERVICES

GENERAL EVACUEE SERVICES IN AUSTIN: HOTLINES & WEB SITES

Katrina Federal Assistance Hotline, 800/LAHELPU

American Red Cross in Austin: 877/929-1224 or 928-4271

Austin Katrina Hotline: 974-1110

City of Austin's Hurricane Katrina Relief in Austin Web page: www.ci.austin.tx.us/help/katrina.htm

www.austinhelpingneworleans.org and www.austinhelpskatrina.org

AMERICAN RED CROSS
The American Red Cross has launched a Web site to help assist family members who are seeking news about loved ones living in the path of Hurricane Katrina. Visit www.familylinks.icrc.org/katrina or call 877/LOVED-1S to register. www.redcross.org.

AOMA: ACADEMY OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE AT AUSTIN
Aside from being an official Capital Area Food Bank drop site, AOMA is offering free acupuncture to folks in need. Also, any acupuncture practitioner who wishes to help should contact them! Ask for Janine, 693-4372 or toll-free at 800/824-9987. Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin, 2700 W. Anderson, 454-1188. www.aoma.edu.

AUSTIN CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
is offering free admission to evacuees of Hurricane Katrina (general admission is $3.50-5.50 per person). Also, all donations made on Wednesday nights (the museum's "Community Night") will be passed on to the Central Texas Red Cross and the Southeastern Museums Conference Fund. For tips on talking to kids about disasters, check the museum's Web site. Austin Children's Museum at Dell Discovery Center, 201 Colorado, 472-2499. www.austinkids.org.

AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER
With space for up to 5,000 evacuees, the Austin Convention Center is the main site for evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. The Center is also acting as the main dispatch center for human services for evacuees. This general shelter is operated by the Red Cross in coordination with the City of Austin; those in need of medical attention will be taken directly to Brackenridge Hospital. Entrance is on the east side of the convention center on Red River St. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez, 476-5461.

CNN'S KATRINA HELP CENTER
Extensive links page to assist in locating precise agency assistance in specific disaster-stricken areas. Family locator databases, law-enforcement offices, emergency management teams, etc. www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2005/katrina/help.center.

GOODWILL
is working on a job fair for evacuees staying in Austin. Employers who would like to participate in this job fair can call 480-0772. The date of the fair will be announced. Goodwill, Main Office: 1015 Norwood Park Blvd., 637-7100; 2800 S. Lamar, 442-8802; 836 Airport, 389-3277; 403 Baylor, 480-8266. www.austingoodwill.org.

Evacuees from Hurricane Katrina poured into shelters 
across Texas, including the Austin Convention Center. 
Approximately 4,000 people are estimated to have filled 
the center, causing the city to cancel at least one 
convention and scramble to find alternative 
arrangements for others.
Evacuees from Hurricane Katrina poured into shelters across Texas, including the Austin Convention Center. Approximately 4,000 people are estimated to have filled the center, causing the city to cancel at least one convention and scramble to find alternative arrangements for others. (Photo By Bob Daemmrich)

HELP FOR STUDENT EVACUEES
Area schools will assist you in continuing your education. Check with these institutions:

University of Texas at Austin, 475-7387, www.bealonghorn.utexas.edu/katrina

Austin Community College, 223-7503, www.austincc.edu/pubinfo/releases/90105.htm

Texas State University in San Marcos, 866/798-2287, www.admissions.txstate.edu

Austin Independent School District, 414-1726, www.austin.isd.tenet.edu/misc/hurricane_katrina/aisd.phtml

JEWISH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION OF AUSTIN
is bursting at the seams with hurricane evacuee services (donation drive, housing assistance, counseling services, fitness facility access, etc.). Visit their Web site for all the details. Jewish Community Association of Austin, 7300 Hart, 735-8000. www.jcaaonline.org.

PARTIES FOR AUSTIN'S NEW NEIGHBORS
See information below for Party at Nubian Queen Lola's and Real Relief BBQ listed under Events and Fundraisers.


PET AND ANIMAL CARE

Austin Humane Society has set up a hotline to help Austin-bound evacuees find care, placement, and supplies for their furry friends. Call 512/646-PETS (7387) for assistance. The Humane Society is also looking for local volunteers; visit their Web site for more info. To deal with the influx of hurricane evacuee pets, the Austin Humane Society will be temporarily closed until Sept. 10.

United Animal Nations, a centralized database to register pet rescue requests. If you or a friend staying here from the disaster area wish to request a pet rescue, check out their site at https://www.uan.org/secure/rescue.html. Humane Society – SPCA Austin, 124 W. Anderson, 837-0879. www.austinspca.com.


RED CROSS FAMILY LINKS REGISTRY
Massive database to help unite family members separated by disaster. 877/LOVED-1S. www.familylinks.icrc.org/katrina.

REGISTER FOR FEDERAL ASSISTANCE
FEMA is urging those displaced by Katrina to register for federal assistance (by phone or online). What have they got to lose? Your trust? 800/621-FEMA or TTY: 800/462-7585. www.fema.gov.

SLOAN-C ONLINE COLLEGE KATRINA RELIEF
If your college campus was affected by Hurricane Katrina, you are eligible to take online courses at no cost to you through Sloan Semester. A list of available courses is scheduled to be available by Sept. 15. www.sloansemester.org.

SOCIAL SECURITY KATRINA RELIEF
To avoid Social Security benefit payment interruption, check here. 800/772-1213. www.socialsecurity.gov/emergency.

TEXAS FEDERATION OF TEACHERS KATRINA TEACHERS AID
As if lesson plans and overcrowded classrooms aren't enough, more than 15,000 teachers were affected by Katrina. TFT wants to help put lives back together. 472-1124. www.tft.org/page.cfm?id=katrina.

TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
The Austin office of TWC is working in conjunction with other states' offices affected by Katrina to assist in delivery of unemployment benefits for evacuees and the establishment of workforce development centers at evacuee sites. 340-4300 or 800/939-6631. www.twc.state.tx.us/news/disaster_response.html.


DONATION AND VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES


WHERE TO VOLUNTEER

LATEST VOLUNTEER UPDATE
The city has opened a new Volunteer Registration Site at the Convention Center. The new site is at 201 E. Second Street. Prospective helpers will give their name and number, and depending upon the need, some volunteers will begin work immediately and some will be called when the need arises.

As of press time, the city of Austin has issued a hold on donations made at the Freescale Semiconductor site. However, they do need assistance in sorting through the donated goods and items, which are then sent to the Austin Convention Center as needed.

Please continue to register to volunteer your services through the Red Cross at their office on Pershing, near the old Mueller Airport. They are coordinating efforts at the convention center and at Freescale. 201 E. Second, at the intersection of Second and Brazos. www.ci.austin.tx.us/help/katrina.htm.


CENTRALIZED DONATION EFFORTS
As of press time, the city of Austin has issued a HOLD ON DONATIONS made at the Freescale Semiconductor site. Private organizations are still collecting. Scan the various opportunites on this page. Freescale Semiconductor Site, 3501 Ed Bluestein Blvd.. www.ci.austin.tx.us/help/katrina.htm.


MOST NEEDED DONATION ITEMS
according to the city of Austin and Red Cross:

Specific clothing items: shoes (all sizes), XL and XXL women's and men's clothes and underwear, large sized bras, socks, men's pants and shorts, women's shorts, pajamas, toddler-size clothing, and sweat pants.

Household items: pillows, magazines, baby bottles, towels and washcloths, linens, crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers.

Containers: large and small baggies, tote bags, laundry baskets, knapsacks, backpacks, boxes.

Health and hygiene products: denture cream, body lotion, eye wash; eye masks, contact lens solution, gauze bandages, adult diapers, arthritis gel, #2 size baby diapers, Benadryl, razors, throat lozenges, baby powder, baby diaper rash ointment, hearing-aid batteries, all sizes of batteries, Mylanta.

Electronics: universal chargers for cell phones, batteries.

REMEMBER, AS OF THIS TIME THE RED CROSS IS NOT ACCEPTING ANY MORE DONATIONS OF FOODS AND GOODS; while cash is acceptable, please save your items for donation later, or deposit them at any other official drop-off point listed below.


MOST NEEDED DONATION ITEMS, FOR REAL
This list is from our sources out with the people at the Convention Center.

Hair care products: detanglers (Just for Me brand), hair grease, combs for African-American hair, barrettes and accessories for the kids.

Hurricane Katrina victims from New Orleans surf Web sites 
at the Austin Convention Center, where dozens of 
computers were linked to the Internet to help victims find 
family members elsewhere.
Hurricane Katrina victims from New Orleans surf Web sites at the Austin Convention Center, where dozens of computers were linked to the Internet to help victims find family members elsewhere. (Photo By Bob Daemmrich)

Feminine hygiene products: disposable douches, new wet/dry razors, etc.

Reading material at all literacy levels; materials relevant to people of color.

Local maps and guides to Austin.

ALIVE IN TRUTH: NEW ORLEANS DISASTER ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Our influx of new neighbors brings with it a flood of stories. Local writer (and Chronicle freelancer) Abe Louise Young is pulling together resources and people to compile and document as many of these testimonies as possible. Their current needs include: speakers of ESL, Spanish, and languages of Asia and licensed LPCs or MSWs to be present during interviews. Call or e-mail to support or participate. neworleanstestimony@yahoo.com.

AOMA: ACADEMY OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE AT AUSTIN
All AOMA locations are official Capital Area Food Bank drop sites. Please call to learn what items they are accepting. Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin, 2700 W. Anderson, 454-1188, 693-4372, or 800/824-9987. www.aoma.edu.

AUSTIN FREE-NET NEEDS YOU!
Sensitive, good listeners (who are computer literate) are needed for client intake! IT geeks are needed for system support! You can be utilized. Go thou and be utilized! Second & San Jacinto Volunteer Registration Station. www.austinfree.net/katrinavolunteer.htm.

AUSTIN HARLEY-DAVIDSON/BUELL
has set up bins to collect items needed by Katrina evacuees. Through Oct. 1. 10917 S. I-35. 448-4294. www.austinharley-davidson.com.

AUSTIN.CRAIGSLIST.ORG
features extensive local volunteer opportunities to assist in Katrina's aftermath and is a critical community resource in providing public voice to folks looking to share information. www.austin.craigslist.org/vol.

BEDICHEK MIDDLE SCHOOL
is collecting donations – school supplies and school clothes – for the young, displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina. Bedichek Middle School, 6800 Bill Hughes Rd., 414-3265. www.rockycreekproductions.com.

BLANKET COLLECTION
The Linus Connection is collecting new handmade children's blankets for young Katrina evacuees: quilted, crocheted, knitted, or tied in bright colors, using any pattern, sized between 36-inches-by-36-inches and 45-inches-by-60-inches. Quilts should be made of cotton fabric and yarn blankets of soft, acrylic yarn. Check their Web site for a complete list of drop-off locations, or call for a pickup. 266-9305. www.linusconnection.org.

CAPITAL AREA FOOD BANK
Austin's community food pantry is proving invaluable in their assistance to the victims of Katrina. Their Web site lists several local businesses accepting food donations, which include all Randalls, Time Warner Cable customer service lobbies, and Austin Java Cafe & Bar locations. CAFB is specifically asking for ready-to-eat baby formula and baby food; single-serving ready-to-eat food, including pop-top meals like stew, pasta, and chili; cereal/granola bars; fruit cups and pudding; juice boxes or individual serving boxes; breakfast cereal in individual serving boxes; ready-to-eat meals (such as Lunchables); peanut butter; canned meat; baby wipes; and sanitary hand cleansers. They do not need bottled water or diapers at this time. Light on food but flush with time? CAFB is also looking for volunteers. Capital Area Food Bank, 8201 S. Congress, 512/282-2111. www.austinfoodbank.org.

CHOOSE AUSTIN FIRST
This group of local businesses will donate a portion of its profits to disaster relief Thursday, Sept. 8, to the Red Cross Children's Relief Fund. Even nonmember businesses can get in on the act. If you participate, Choose First will list your business' generous donation on the tally on their Web site. www.chooseaustinfirst.com.

CITY OF AUSTIN'S HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF WEB PAGE
features official, breaking information on how Austinites can help. www.ci.austin.tx.us/help/katrina.htm.

HURRICANE SURVIVOR FOOD & FUND DRIVES
This week, a team of our local elderly in conjunction with Capital Area Food Bank will host donation drives at the headquarters of Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. By consolidating efforts our area food bank can miraculously convert every $1 donated into $10 worth of supplies and gas and up to five nutritious meals. Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, 2205 Hancock Dr.

OPERATION SCHOOL BELL
The Assistance League of Austin is collecting children's clothing and school supplies donations for the young Katrina evacuees. Tuesday-Friday, 9am-1pm. Assistance League of Austin, 4901 Burnet Rd., 458-3716.

PET AND ANIMAL CARE
Austin's own Dirty Dog pet salon is accepting doggie donations for New Orleans – mainly collars, leashes, and crates for the misplaced mutts of Hurricane Katrina. Visit their Web site for more details. Dirty Dog, 3411 N. Lamar, 453-3647. www.dirty-dog.com.

REALTOR RELIEF
Texas realtors working to find housing for Katrina survivors. 480-8200. www.texasrealtors.com/web/1/housing/relief.htm.

RHIZOME COLLECTIVE
This Eastside activist organization is opening its doors for disaster relief. A group has formed to find housing, help folks navigate the maze of social services, and find jobs for evacuees, etc. They need volunteers, ASAP. Doors opened as of yesterday morning (Wednesday, Sept. 7). Please e-mail to ask for a Volunteer Questionaire: katrinarelief@rhizomecollective.org as quickly as possible. Rhizome Collective, 300 Allen, 385-3695. www.rhizomecollective.org.

RICK PERRY'S EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ONESTAR FOUNDATION
Where to shine your point of light when your government goes dim. www.onestarfoundation.org.

RUNTEX SHOE DRIVE
RunTex's four Austin stores are accepting any and all donations of shoes that are in good shape and notes there is a definite need for pairs size 12 and above. RunTex, various locations, including 2201 Lake Austin Blvd., 477-9464. www.runtex.com.

SALVATION ARMY
The Army began massive collection efforts (cash and goods) Wednesday, Sept. 7, 9am-6pm at their 6510 S. Congress AV location. Check their Web site (below) for current needs or call and donate money. 800/SAL-ARMY. Salvation Army, 1001 Cumberland, 442-3212; 1142 S. Lamar, 443-7565; 5329 N. I-35, 447-4044; 6510 S. Congress.

SALVATION ARMY TEAM EMERGENCY RADIO NETWORK
Ham radio operators to the rescue! Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network can assist in dispatching info for those searching for loved ones. www.tsasw.org/qso/healthandwelfare.asp.

ST. DAVID'S EPISCOPAL HYGIENE KIT DRIVE
Call the church for specifications. You can help by collecting/donating items like new hand towels; washcloths; large, sturdy combs; bar soap; etc. Call the church or check the Web site for a very specific list. Deadline for donations: Friday, Sept. 16. St. David's Episcopal Church, 304 E. Seventh, 472-1196. nicole.y@stdave.org, www.stdave.org/News/hurricane.htm.

UNITED WAY CAPITAL AREA
UW's 2-1-1 call center is assisting evacuees with information on support and shelter, but it costs money to operate. To fund their hotline, as well as their own local relief efforts, please contribute to our United Way either through their Web site, or mail a check to the address below (area code 78702). United Way Capital Area Headquarters, 2000 E. MLK, 472-6267; 323-1898 (volunteer center). www.unitedwaycapitalarea.org.


EVENTS AND FUNDRAISERS


See "TCB" for music related events.

AUSTIN INTERFAITH MEETING TO ORGANIZE COMMUNITIES OF FAITH
Austin Interfaith Hospitality Network, a program of Foundation for the Homeless is providing an organized and coordinated relief effort for congregations of faith to shelter the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. If you would like to be a leader in this endeavor please plan to attend this meeting or call. Thursday, Sept. 8, 7pm. University Baptist Church, 2130 Guadalupe, 453-6570. interfaithhospitalitynetwork@gmail.com.

WATERLOO RECORDS HURRICANE RELIEF DAY
Waterloo Records will donate 5% of all Thursday's sales to hurricane relief efforts. James McMurtry will also be in the store to play and sign CDs. The store will also have Capital Area Food Bank boxes to collect food and water donations. From www.austinhelpingneworleans.org. Thu., Sept. 8. Waterloo Records & Video, 600-A N. Lamar, 474-2500. www.waterloorecords.com.

LONG LIVE NEW ORLEANS
Waxploitation! hosts this benefit for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The preparty begins at Gene's, with a special DJ set of Crescent City Soul. The main event features Little Danny, Greg Most, Dr. Rhythm, the Soul Bandit plus a special mystery guest DJ, plus, emcee Obatallah! Fri., Sept. 9, 6pm. Gene's Po-Boys and Red's Scoot Inn, 1308 E. Fourth.

Austin emergency workers help family members locate one 
another through a Red Cross database set up at the Austin 
Convention Center, where 4,000 evacuees are housed.
Austin emergency workers help family members locate one another through a Red Cross database set up at the Austin Convention Center, where 4,000 evacuees are housed. (Photo By Bob Daemmrich)

KATRINA IS A BITCH!
The folks at Austin Daze throw a band-filled bash to benefit the Red Cross, with live sets by Echobase Sound System, King Tears, Aster, Paul James, Groovin' Ground, and more. Friday, Sept. 9, 6pm. Austin Daze HQ, 1300 E. Fourth. 587-8358. www.austindaze.com.

CHARITIES BEING CHARITABLE
Chaparral and Blues Crawlers are the first to sign up for what will certainly be a large lineup of bands slated to perform at this Katrina fundraiser. Local nonprofits, including YouthLaunch, Austin Children's Museum, Liveable City, and so many more come together and invite you to do likewise. Sat., Sept. 10, 11am-3pm. Republic Square Park, Fourth & Guadalupe, 236-0074, x1 or 974-6700. $15, adult; $3 kids, suggested donation. suzanne@sustainablefoodcenter.org, www.austinfarmersmarket.org, www.youthlaunch.org.

ARABIC HAFLEH
Featuring Zein Al-Jundi and the Saadi M'nawwar Band, a bellydance showcase, an Arabic dinner, a bazaar "for your shopping pleasure," and this year, proceeds benefit evacuees of Katrina. Tickets available at the Phoenicia Bakery, 2912 S. Lamar, 4701 Burnet). Saturday, Sept. 10, 7:30pm. La Zona Rosa, 612 W. Fourth, 472-2293. $18. www.wmdproductions.com.

JAZZ AT THE AUSTIN FARMERS' MARKET
Enjoy the New Orleans Relief Fund Jazz Band this Saturday as you peruse the Austin Farmers' Market. While they play, make a contribution to the Red Cross. Sat., Sept. 10. 10-11:30am Austin Farmers' Market Downtown, Republic Square Park, 422 Guadalupe, 236-0074. www.austinfarmersmarket.org.

SLAM AID
Austin's finest spoken-word talent unites with the San Antonio Slam Team for the Austin Poetry Slam's Slam Aid. All proceeds go to the hurricane relief effort. Donations are also being accepted. Performers include Andy Buck, Genevieve Van Cleve, Suzy Lafollette, Adriana Ramirez, Phillip Aulie, Tommy Mendez, Love Robinson, Danny Strack, Hilary Thomas, David Hendler, Tony Jackson, Liz Jones, Phil West, and Da'Shade Moonbeam. The event will be hosted by Mike Henry. Sat., Sept. 10, 8-10pm. Ruta Maya, 3601 S. Congress Ste. D-200, 707-9637. www.austinslam.com.

BRADZ SALON CUT-A-THON
All three Bradz will be snippin' and a-trimmin', for just $35 per do. Oh, please do, as you will look so stylin' while all proceeds go to the Red Cross. By appointment. Sun., Sept. 11. www.bradz.com.

PARTY AT NUBIAN QUEEN LO-LA'S CAJUN, SOUL FOOD & BBQ KITCHEN
Austin: Get ready for some soul power. Our town is in for a treat, as we absorb some serious New Orleans soul and Gulf Coast laaaaaaaid-back attitude. Nubian Queen Lola, who within the last year has established her soulfood joint into a community hub of love (every weekend she feeds the homeless), is throwing a party. Musicians and chefs who are currently residing at the convention center are throwing a benefit for storm survivors, and Queen Lola's is the place! Before the big throw-down, Lola wants to know Austinites who would loan some instruments or musical/tech services. They are also going to need all the party essentials, so call the Queen and volunteer your time and your goods! (Cash never hurts!) They hope to make this a regular gig. Sun., Sept. 11. Nubian Queen Lola's Cajun Kitchen, 1815 Rosewood, 542-9269. deangraber@mail.utexas.edu.

SIXTH STREET FOR BOURBON STREET
A big event is planned for Sixth Street featuring Marcia Ball, Delbert McClinton, Joe Ely, and Asleep at the Wheel, and more. Fri., Sept. 16, 4-10pm. Sixth Street, between I-35 and Congress.

UT WATCH & HURRICANE KATRINA BENEFIT
Clap! Clap!, Tran Tram, the Always Already, and Ghosts of the Russian Empire play to raise more than dough. Sat., Sept. 17, 9pm. Flamingo Cantina, 515 E. Sixth, 494-9336. $5.

H2HOS BENEFIT FOR KATRINA SURVIVORS
Austin's beloved "Esther Willliams' Follies" are reuniting for the love of NOLA and Gulf Coast survivors in Austin. This super FUNdraiser is still in planning stages but promises access for groups helping Austin's new residents, stories from survivors, footage from Ho-shows past, DJs, bands, food, folks, fun, you know. E-mail if you can help. Sun., Sept. 18. The Off Center, 2211-A Hidalgo, 476-7833. h2hofunds@yahoo.com, www.h2hos.com.

UNITED WE JAM
All proceeds and donations from this daylong concert at Lucy's in San Marcos are going to hurricane relief. Featured groups include the Cari Hutson Band, Clap! Clap!, Electric Mayhem, Meat Wood, the Harlots (TX), Castro, Subtle Creeks, People of Habit, and more. Sun., Sept. 18, 2pm. Lucy's on the Square, 141 E. Hopkins, San Marcos, 512/558-7399. Free. www.lucyssanmarcos.com.

REAL RELIEF BBQ
A day of relief and fellowship for evacuees now living at the convention center in downtown Austin. Through a network of volunteers and donors they plan to provide a hot, homemade New Orleans-style meal, iced tea, and entertainment from a local New Orleans-style Zydeco band to all of our new honored guests. Donations and volunteers needed. Sun., Sept. 18, 1pm-6pm. Palm Park, 200 N. I-35, 499-6700. info@crowdcontrolrecords.com, www.crowdcontrolrecords.com.

ROSEMONT AT WILLIAMSON CREEK BENEFIT CONCERT
The above apartment location is hosting their own benefit concert and is accepting goods, clothing, and financial contributions. Saturday, Sept. 24. 3-8pm Rosemont @ Williamson Creek, 4509 E. St. Elmo Rd., 326-9273.

GOODWILL JOB FAIR FOR EVACUEES
Employers who would like to participate in this job fair may call. Date and location to be announced. Goodwill, Main Office: 1015 Norwood Park Blvd., 637-7100; 2800 S. Lamar, 442-8802; 836 Airport, 389-3277; 403 Baylor, 480-0772. www.austingoodwill.org/main_en.html.


MISCELLANEOUS


"MAKE LEVEES: NOT WAR" MUGS & T-SHIRTS
All profits from sales will be shared equally between The New Orleans/Baton Rouge Foundation, www.braf.org; Direct Relief Interational, www.directrelief.org; and The American Friends Service Committee, www.afsc.org. $12-20. www.workinglife.org/makelevees.html, www.cafepress.com/neworleansaid.

AIR AMERICA RADIO
The fine folks at Air America have, in addition to live on-going coverage, a Web site filled with helpful links. Their site also features a free voicemail link for the purpose of finding lost loved ones, located in the top right column. www.airamericaradio.com.

AUSTIN INDYMEDIA
is a great place to discuss and digest Austin's own relief efforts and what more can be done. www.austin.indymedia.org.

BUSH RUSHES TO FLOOD SITE, ORDERS EMERGENCY TAX CUTS
Vitriolic humor from investigative journalist Greg Palast. www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=454&row=1.

FLICKR KATRINA CLUSTERS
The World Wide Web's visual potential manifest. People share Katrina images/dispatches from the front lines. Amazing stuff. www.flickr.com/photos/tags/katrina/clusters.

NOLA BLOGGERS T-SHIRTS
Gorgeous "I (Heart) NOLA" shirts. Proceeds go to displaced bloggers and their families. $19.99. www.cafepress.com/iheartnola, neworleans.metblogs.com.

SGT. PEPPER'S HOT SAUCE
Sgt. Pepper's Green Olive Muffaletta Mix knows NOLA. The company, which has a stall at the farmers' market and has mix at the Farm to Market Grocery on SoCo, will donate $1 to the Red Cross for each sale for the entire month of September. Farm to Market Grocery and Sunset Valley Farmers' Market at the Toney Burger Center Parking Lot, 280-2727.

THE ONION: GOD OUTDOES TERRORISTS YET AGAIN
"America's Finest News Source" offers more frighteningly on-point Katrina commentary, including "Louisiana National Guard Offers Help by Phone From Iraq" and "Government Relief Workers Mosey in to Help." www.theonion.com/content/node/40305.

WWOZ-IN-EXILE
Seems a fitting time to savor the flavor of the Crescent City. We know no better way to do this than to tune in, via Webcast, to WWOZ. WWOZ, baby. If you know it, you know why we think this is an important link. If you don't, then by all means, click to find out. They're still out there ... putting it out there, and it's a damn fine way to commence the healing. www.wwoz.org/exile.php.


RESOURCES


ACADEMY OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE AT AUSTIN (AOMA), 693-4372 or 454-1188 or 800/824-9987

AIR AMERICA RADIO, www.airamericaradio.com/katrina

AMERICA'S SECOND HARVEST, www.secondharvest.org

AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE, www.afsc.org, 888/588-2378

NOLA bloggers T-Shirts
NOLA bloggers T-Shirts

AMERICAN RED CROSS, www.redcross.org, 800/HELPNOW or 929-1225

AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE, www.austincc.edu/pubinfo/releases/90105.htm, 223-7503

AUSTIN HELPING NEW ORLEANS, www.austinhelpingneworleans.org

AUSTIN HELPS KATRINA, www.austinhelpskatrina.org

AUSTIN HUMANE SOCIETY, www.austinspca.com, 646-PETS

AUSTIN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, www.austin.isd.tenet.edu/misc/hurricane_katrina/aisd.phtml, 414-8324

AUSTIN INDY MEDIA, www.austin.indymedia.org

AUSTIN JAVA COMPANY, www.austinjava.com

AUSTIN KATRINA HOTLINE, 974-1110

CAPITAL AREA FOOD BANK OF TEXAS, www.austinfoodbank.org

CENTRAL TEXAS RED CROSS, www.centex.redcross.org, 877/929-1224 or 928-4271

CHOOSE AUSTIN FIRST, www.chooseaustinfirst.com

CITY OF AUSTIN'S HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF, www.ci.austin.tx.us/help/katrina.htm

CNN'S KATRINA HELP CENTER, www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2005/katrina/help.center

CRAIGSLIST (AUSTIN, KATRINA LINKS), www.austin.craigslist.org

DIRTY DOG, www.dirty-dog.com

EMERGENCY FOOD STAMPS, 211 or 888/312-4567

FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, www.fema.gov

FLICKR.COM, www.flickr.com/photos/tags/katrina/clusters

GRASSROOTS/LOW-INCOME/PEOPLE OF COLOR-LED HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF, www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html

HURRICANE HOTLINE, 800/469-4828

HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF IN AUSTIN, www.ci.austin.tx.us/help/katrina.htm

HURRICANE MEETUP, www.hurricane.meetup.com

HURRICANEHOUSING: MOVEON, www.hurricanehousing.org

JEWISH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION OF AUSTIN, www.jcaaonline.org

KATRINA FEDERAL ASSISTANCE HOTLINE, 800/LAHELPU

KATRINAHOUSING.ORG, www.katrinahousing.org

MOBILE LOAVES AND FISHES, www.mlfnow.org

A Katrina evacuee scans tables for needed living supplies as 
he tries to assemble a life at the Austin Convention Center.
A Katrina evacuee scans tables for needed living supplies as he tries to assemble a life at the Austin Convention Center. (Photo By Bob Daemmrich)

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR VICTIM ASSISTANCE, www.trynova.org/crisis/katrina, 800/TRY-NOVA

NATIONAL YOUTH ADVOCACY COALITION, www.nyacyouth.org

NEW ORLEANS MUSICIANS HURRICANE RELIEF FUND, www.preservationhall.com/2.0/donate.php

NEWS 8 AUSTIN, www.news8austin.com

NEWS 8 COMMUNITY PAGE, www.news8austin.com/content/community/neighborhood_news

OPERATION SCHOOL BELL: KATRINA, www.alaustin.org, 458-3716

RAINBOW WORLD FUND, www.rainbowfund.org

RED CROSS FAMILY LINKS REGISTRY, www.familylinks.icrc.org/katrina, 877/LOVED-1S

RHIZOME COLLECTIVE, www.rhizomecollective.org, 385-3695

RUNTEX, www.runtex.com

SALVATION ARMY TEAM EMERGENCY RADIO NETWORK, www.tsasw.org/qso/healthandwelfare.asp

SLOAN-C ONLINE COLLEGE KATRINA RELIEF, www.sloansemester.org

SOCIAL SECURITY KATRINA RELIEF, www.socialsecurity.gov/emergency, 800/772-1213

SOULCITI, www.soulciti.com

TEXAS FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, www.tft.org/page.cfm?id=katrina, 472-1124

TEXAS HOMELESS NETWORK, www.thn.org/shelter.htm

TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY IN SAN MARCOS, www.admissions.txstate.edu, 866/798-2287

TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE, www.twc.state.tx.us/news/disaster_response.html, 340-4300 or 800/939-6631

THE AMERICAN LEGION'S NATIONAL EMERGENCY FUND, www.legion.org

THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES, www.hsus.org

THE SALVATION ARMY, www.salvationarmyusa.org

TIMES-PICAYUNE ONLINE: NOLA.COM, www.nola.com

U.S. MAIL RE-ROUTING, www.usps.com, 800/ASK-UPS (275-8777)

UNITED ANIMAL NATIONS, www.uan.org/

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, bealonghorn.utexas.edu/katrina, 475-7387

UNKNOWN CITY, www.unknowncity.com

WDSU, www.wdsu.com

WWL-TV, www.wwltv.com

WWOZ IN EXILE, www.wwoz.org/exile.php

  • More of the Story

  • Katrina Relief in Austin

    Where to get help, how to give help, and events to ease the burden and heal the heart

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle