So much water. So much pain. And so much ahead. While all Americans can sympathize with Houston and southeast Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, New Orleanians truly can empathize with what our neighbors are going through — 12 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina felled the federal levees and flooded our city. We remember all too well the feeling of helplessness in the face of nature. We also remember the hope that sprang from strangers providing aid and comfort in our time of such devastating need.
Let's channel those memories — and those feelings — into action. We can't all hitch up our boats like the Cajun Navy, but the main thing survivors of Hurricane Harvey need now is money. Lots of money. Here are several ways to give:
• The NOLA Pay It Forward Fund, created by the city in conjunction with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, has been reactivated to help Texans. Visit www.gnof.org/nolapayitforward to donate.
• The Second Harvest Food Bank is accepting donations to assist Texas food banks. You also can drop off needed disaster supplies at two metro locations (700 Edwards Ave., Elmwood, and the Northshore Food Bank, 840 N. Columbia St., Covington). Do not drop off used clothing. Needed items include non-perishable food, especially canned goods that don't require can openers, bottled water, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items.
• The United Way of Southeast Louisiana, in conjunction with SBP (the former St. Bernard Project) and our news partners at WWL-TV have established a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Visit www.unitedwaysela.org/HarveyReliefFund to give.
• Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has asked for donations to the American Red Cross. You can visit www.redcross.org or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
• The Houston Press, Houston's alt-weekly, has compiled a list of local agencies the paper finds particularly worthy of help. Those include the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund overseen by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, the Houston Food Bank, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, the Texas Diaper Bank and the Houston Humane Society. Visit www.houstonpress.com for constantly updated information.
• The Houston Press also recommends Feeding Texas (www.feedingtexas.org), a nonprofit umbrella organization that works with local food banks in Texas to provide help where it's needed most.
• The Louisiana SPCA recommends volunteers register with the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (www.lsart.org), which coordinates assistance to pets and pet owners. Just as in the weeks after Hurricane Katrina and the floods here, there likely will be ad hoc shelters set up around Texas. You also can donate directly to the SPCA's transport program (www.la-spca.org), which has moved hundreds of animals from local shelters to make space for animals coming from Texas and southwest Louisiana.
This is just the beginning of a disaster that will unfold for weeks, months and years. We who survived Katrina and its aftermath know how much will be needed, and for how long — even after the cameras go away and the nation's attention shifts.
Houston was there for us after Katrina. Let's pay Houston (and all of Texas) back — with interest, and with love.