In case you haven’t heard, it has been a year since Hurricane Katrina struck. Here in California, on the other side of the country, it’s easy to forget that some of the people that were affected are still dealing with the damage done a year ago.
Last September, about a month after Katrina hit, and one week after Rita, I was able to go to the Gulf Coast area. I was then working at CityTeam Ministries, and they sent me, along with two other members of the marketing team, to document the work that CityTeam was doing. While being a photographer on assignment was exciting, it was also unexpectedly draining both physically and emotionally. I met people whose lives were literally taken away in the Hurricane –their homes, belongings, even family members. I was able to get the “real” story firsthand from the people themselves, and not just what the media was telling us.
During that week-long experience, I kept a blog and continually sent photos back to CityTeam in San Jose. Here are the Katrina Relief Pictures that I took while I was in Baton Rouge, LA, New Orleans, LA, Waveland, MS (“ground zero” for Hurricane Katrina), and Bay St. Louis, MS.
If you still desire to donate, or if you ever donate towards the relief effort of a disaster such as this one, I urge you to not knee-jerkingly donate to the Red Cross. At least consider the options. Do your homework and donate to a church team, or faith-based non-profit. They were the ones who were really making the difference. They were right there with the locals, cleaning up, distributing food, and more importantly caring for them and creating relationships. I didn’t meet a local resident who had anything nice to say about the Red Cross or FEMA (both of which I rarely saw when I was there), but loved the small church groups and faith-based non-profits who came in and helped out in whatever way they could. Your donation, I guarantee you, will go a lot farther.
Anyway, just some thoughts on the subject. Keep the people in the Gulf Coast area in your prayers.
I also put up the video that I made using the pictures that I took. It’s 30 MB, but it has Jars of Clay song on it, so it’s worth downloading.