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Volume 71, Issue 11, Tuesday, September 6, 2005


Thanks from a Louisiana native

Josh Deland
Opinion columnist

Most of the time you'd hear me admonishing you to donate to my Political Action Committee to help restore Louisiana's eroding coastline. It is a problem that has caused the slow withering away of our wetlands and barrier islands that guard as a natural buffer against hurricanes. Now, I plead on behalf of my beloved home state that fellow students, teachers and friends help in any way possible to aid the disaster relief process that has already begun.

The city of Houston has already welcomed many friends and relatives and now has done itself one better. The Astrodome has opened its doors for the southeast Louisiana community. Likewise, local businesses and restaurants are getting involved. Restaurants will be donating food and bringing meals while hotels are giving away free rooms to those who have been put out of their homes by Hurricane Katrina.

I am warmed by the kindness and generosity that I've seen from fellow students, faculty and staff who have asked me how my family is doing and if everyone is OK. Though I came from Louisiana to the University of Houston more from necessity than choice, I'm now truly proud of this institution for its readiness to get involved in helping the victims of Katrina. God bless everyone for their kind words and concern.

I hope that you, too, will go to any of a number of charitable organizations and donate so that you can be a catalyst in rebuilding New Orleans and other areas affected by the hurricane, as parts of Mississippi and Alabama have been. The Red Cross is going to be a major player in the relief effort and donations can be made online at University President Jay Gogue sent out a valuable guide to finding charities for those of you who wish to donate: www.charitynavigator. org/index.cfm/bay/content.view/catid/68/cpid/310.htm.

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco was on Larry King Live last night giving her thanks and appreciation to the president, government agencies and others who have done so much thus far and have much work ahead of them. Blanco called the more than one million homeless "unfathomable."

Many have family in Louisiana and have visited to enjoy our warm culture, good food and good times. New Orleans has been on the news constantly, so many know the extent of the flooding and damage to the very way of life of the Orleans Parish community. My prayers are with you, and I hope you will join me and other members of the University of Houston community in donating both money and prayers. Many of us are mourning the deaths and forced poverty of so many of our family and friends. Likewise, we mourn our state, which many of us love.

Thank you, Houston, and God bless you for all that you do.

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