It's kind of difficult to comment on the events of this week without sounding a bit like Anderson Cooper (whose sympathy is probably genuine, but who always seems contrived to me... actually, everything on CNN seems contrived to me).
The administration is always talking about how important it is "never to forget." So I'm going to suggest a few things about this week that they should remember.
1. Don't forget that a lot of people died on a bridge in Iraq. I mean a lot of people. Civilians.
2. Don't forget that Bush could have done something about the general ill-preparedness that characterized the response to Katrina.
3. Don't forget the role of race and class in all this. Kudos to Kanye West (whoever he is) for pointing that fact out on national (or almost national) television.
4. Don't forget the musicians in New Orleans.
To that last point, I want to pass along information about two great organizations to donate to if you've got the bread (the following is copied and pasted from a recent email that was forwarded to me--a bit of a clunky read, but some solid information):
1. New Orleans Musicians Clinic (NOMC)
This is a fantastic hands-on organization who has the names and addresses of many great musicians who have been coming to their FREE health clinic all these years--and now, they are the ones who are tracking down the local musicians and finding them shelter.
They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or contact Kathy Richard directly at 337 989-0001.
Send donations to:
NOMC Emergency Fund
funds will be distributed by:
SW LA Area Health Education Center Foundation, Inc.
103 Independence Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506
2. Jazz Foundation of America
We will be addressing the longer term needs of those jazz and blues artists who have just lost everything.
We will be raising funds and distributing money for the musicians to get a new apartment or room for rent: by giving a first month's rent, possibly more, for them to start over, a place to live. (This is what we normally do on a daily basis for musicians across the country who become sick and can't pay their rent, we also keep food on the table and get employment to hundreds of elderly musicians through our Jazz in the Schools program. Our operations normally assist 35 musicians a week.)
As well, we will be attempting to help New Orleans musicians by replacing the thing that matters most and the only way they can ever work again: their instruments. To those who lost their instruments, like drummers and bassists who could not carry their heavy equipment, and guitarist with their amps, we will be making an effort to work with manufacturers and music stores to replace those instruments for as many as we possibly can.
Remember, New Orleans was only "New Orleans" because of the musicians...
Send donations to:
Jazz Foundation of America
322 West 48th Street 6th floor
Director: Wendy Oxenhorn
Phone: 212-245-3999 Ext. 21
email contact: Joyce@jazzfoundation.org
To make an online CREDIT CARD DONATION OR PLEDGE
(click on the link, then click in the bottom right corner of page where it says "instant pledge")
Thank you, from our hearts.