hurricane katrina

I didn't celebrate my birthday the way you would have expected. I declined all invitations to go out and instead sat, for the first time in months, in front of a television. I parked myself there with bottles of wine and I cried.

I usually don't cry when I'm drinking. I'm not a sad drunk. But I couldn't help it. The footage of the dying, dead and barely surviving victims of Katrina has left me numb, hurt, confused, guilty, disgusted, angry and ashamed.

Since you've stuck with me for this long - and while I still have your attention - I have to ask you to help. Tonight's post is a plea.

What has happened in the Gulf, specifically Louisiana and Mississippi, is a disgrace. It is a travesty, a horror and a true portrait of how the poor in this country are treated in the face of disaster. In their darkest hour, these people - OUR PEOPLE - were abandoned; left to die both by the hand of mother nature and the neglect of our government.

Survivors need everything: clothes, diapers, bottles, blankets, dolls to comfort their children, personal care/hygiene items, clothes, shoes, etc. If you have it they need it. The Red Cross is doing the best they can. The Salvation Army is doing the best they can. Gasoline is expensive and scarce. Please help. Donate anything you can, including time. The Red Cross website has links at the very top of the page that will direct you to volunteer opportunities in your area.

Find out if your company will match your contribution. The company I work for is matching all employee contributions so I'm putting my birthday money where my mouth is; as well as collecting money from my friends and family. Apparently, Warner Brothers will match up to $500,000 in donations via Ellen's website.

Check out these Katrina related sites/blogs for up-to-date information and heart-breaking first-hand accounts of death and survival:

Michael Barnett of Zipa

"wiki" map for those in search of people

This NOLA.com blog is amazing. Read the open letter to our President and read the survival stories. You will be there for hours.

The Times-Picayune still publishing...

Take a minute to be grateful for everything you have and for everyone you love.

Thanks for reading this.