Much of St. Bernard Parish is under several feet of water. Neraux resident Debbie Boyle has already lost her home. She and her family are now at the Civic Center in Ruston Louisiana, where they too sought refuge in this time of need.
"Red Cross is here, and I’m so thankful to be here," Boyle struggled to say over the knot in her throat. "I couldn’t have asked for kinder people. The community, donations, Red Cross workers, churches, schools, they are all fantastic."
As she spoke of help she is receiving, a smile began to arise in Boyle as she stood still under the scattered dark clouds and light winds. It soon vanished into the harsh reality. She covered her mouth, "My whole family is here, five generations of us. Our homes are under water, we’ve lost everything," Boyle exclaimed, still managing to keep her composure.
The routine for many is trying the phones lines, but making contact with loved ones is often of no avail. One thing remains certain. Relief efforts are widespread throughout Louisiana and neighboring states in support of Boyle’s family and others who fell victim to Hurricane Katrina.
The campus of Grambling State University refused to miss out on the effort, as it too acted as a unit for collecting proceeds and donations towards relief efforts. Through the radio station, a full day of donations kicked off bright and early Wednesday morning. The plan: to get the community and surrounding areas involved by discussing live over radio waves, latest development in the hurricane disaster.
The drive, "Operation Good Samaritan," was organized by Joyce Evans of KGRM, along with Vicki Jackson and the rest of the KGRM staff in support of victims of the storm in nearby shelters.
The relief effort is by no means limited to the Grambling campus. Communities, schools, and even phone companies are all getting in this opportunity to simply help people in need.
Louisiana Department of Education, Superintendent of Education Cecil Picard said his number one priority is getting those children back in school.
At the collegiate level, several institutions including Texas Southern University, and the University of Georgia have opened their doors to college students who have been affected by the storm.
TSU has announced that it will admit "any student currently enrolled at the institutions affected by the hurricane for the fall 2005 semester." Application fees are being waived and a meeting for all interested students will be held today, at 10 a.m. to noon in room 243 of Bell Hall. The University also plans to hire displaced faculty. For more information call 713-313-1059 or 713-313-7071.
UGA has also announced actions in response to hurricane tragedy.
The university already has received inquiries. Dillard student Rebecca Roussell has been told that Dillard students are going to be able to enroll in other schools to finish this semester. "I am in the process of trying to see what schools will take my credits so that I will not be behind this year." She claims Huston-Tillotson College is allowing Dillard and Xavier students to enroll there and have all credits transferred in order to complete the semester.
Even Cingular Wireless has set up free emergency calling stations at many of its retail stores in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to help many people families who are without power and phone service. Free phone calls to friends and family anywhere in the United States can be made at Cingular stores during this time of crisis.
Vice President/General Manager for Cingular’s Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama/NW Florida region Joe Larussa said, "Many communities have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina and it is the least we can do for those many individuals who need to connect with loved ones."