craigslist>New Orleans>lost & found (Again, with thanks and a nod to TNH at Making Light.)
NOLA refugees.com check-in site
Patrick Connors' check-in site, now automated
Jim Macdonald's check-in site
Responses are beginning to trickle in. There are an enormous number of people missing and unaccounted-for.
Another way to help: Send a flood-bucket.
The sheer magnitude of human suffering as a direct result of this catastrophe cannot even be estimated, yet. Tens of thousands--perhaps more--have lost everything. Many of those people abruptly no longer have jobs, while they begin to face rebuilding.
This is an old, old story for the inhabitants of the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River flood plains. There's an rich tradition of music and culture and cuisine unique to the region, stemming directly from its mixed and painful history.
If anyone in the world can rebuild--these people can. They will. I have complete faith.
Look, maybe I seem a little obsessive about this. Hell, I probably am. There's a reason for that. My experience of New Orleans--especially the neighborhoods in and around the Quarter--is that reality is a bit suspended, there.
For the rest of my life I will remember walking home from the New Orleans French Quarter in the fog, at around 4:30 in the morning, singing "Stand By Me"--really belting it out. From a balcony maybe a block away, a woman with a gorgeous voice picked up the harmonies on the chorus, weaving in and out around the melody. Then, somewhere else in the fog, a guy picked up the bass line.
The friend I was walking with stopped walking, and later swore that he stopped breathing to listen.
I know I was a little drunk--but every note was pure, and dead-on. There was a weird . . . synergy. The song ended all at once, as if we'd rehearsed it. Something about the acoustics of the streets, in the fog--you could still hear the last notes ringing overhead.
There's not much I can do, from here. I can go to the Red Cross site and donate money. I can spread the word about check-in sites. You can do those things, too.