Sunday, December 18, 2005

The State of Louisiana: Other places, local shelters

The year 2005 has been a rough one on the State of Louisiana. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had alot to do with it, of course. Although there is still various bits of coverage in the National media, many important parts of the stories involved have been overlooked. One of my goals here is to try and fill in some of the missing pieces. Whilst the big media stories have largely focussed on New Orleans, there are many other parishes that have been badly effected by the storms, the evacuees and the resultant fall out. Consider the Parishes of Vermilion and Cameron. In these places, entire communities have been obliterated. The land has been poisoned by the salt water from the storm serge. Only last week did people begin to get trailers to live in from FEMA. This is not big news, like the 9th ward, but these are real people, trying to maintain real lives. They deserve our support too.

On the topic of support, a few words are in order. In the community in which I live a large sports arena was opened up for evacuees from the storms. Appeals were put out by the local media for people to go a volunteer. I called the United Way and signed up. When I showed up for my shift, the United Way were nowhere to be found. No problem. I filled out a Red Cross form and got to work. The next day, things ran the same way. Then things began to change. First off, the place was surrounded by cops and soldiers. This wasn't too inviting. As I went in, I had to go through a metal detector for the first time. Not too bad, I thought. Perhaps a sensible precaution, if a bit officious. Unfortunately, in my pocket, I had a small screw driver. This was there because I had been working with computers on previous occasions and you need a phillips screw driver to change out circuit boards. The cop wouldn't let me take it in, on the grounds that it was a 'shank'. When I went to collect it on the way out, it was missing -- way to go forces of law and order!

The time after this I went to volunteer after the metal detector, I wasn't allowed in until I got an official ID. So, I spent 2 hours in a line to get my photo taken. Wow, what a great use of my time. Thank you Red Cross. Whilst I was waiting in the line, there was a physician ahead of me. They were wearing two different hospital IDs, but the Red Cross still said they had to have another one. During the wait, another medical type spotted the physician and asked her to help with some emergencies. I promised to hold her place in the line. When she went though, she was warned to just run if she saw any National guard troops, as they would check for IDs. I know many people who regularly volunteered at first, but quit due to the huge wait times to get picture IDs that the Red Cross said were mandatory for all. I'm afraid that I am now against the Red Cross. They stopped alot of good work getting done by willing people, due to their officious nature. The United Way just appeared disorganised. The only people who seem to be getting anything useful done was the Salvation Army.


Blogger Professor Zero said...

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12:25 AM  

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