I hope they all get AIDS and die, and I mean that. Fuck the lot of them. The Houston homeless? They still have a fucking city to be homeless in. They have a city with numerous charities, organizations, programs, shelters, and other ways for them to get help. The folks coming in from New Orleans? Have a very large puddle. Gee, I wonder which group is in more need of immediate assistance.
Yes, the prices are going up. Welcome to capitalism. Yes, it sucks that people who just fled for their lives are being forced to pay ridiculous sums of money for rooms and gas that would have gone for a quarter of the price last week. It's awful, and it adds insult to injury. It's also how our economy works. X and Y are limited. When everyone wants X and Y all at once, they suddenly become a helluva lot more valuable. If you find some wonderful company or merchant NOT raising their prices out of the sheer goodness of their heart and sympathy for hurricane victims, support them. Continue to support them even after things have returned to some semblance of normal. Get all your friends and family to support them as well. And let the company know WHY.
To people complaining that the Astrodome can hold several thousand more people than are currently camped there, may a camel fuck out the eyes in your brainless skull. The Astrodome seats something like 55,000 (I've also heard 62,000). But these people aren't here to watch a baseball game, they are here to LIVE for what looks like at least a month. Meaning they need a little more room than a seat.
To people in the surrounding states who want to donate or help - Most places (in Houston, at least) are being flooded with volunteers to the point where they're having difficulty organizing. They are now asking you to call so they can tell you when it'd be most helpful for you to show up. The Red Cross requests monetary donations. If you don't feel comfortable donating money to a big organization because you worry about where it's really going, donate nonperishable food, clothing, or toiletry items to smaller places like fire stations and churches. These places have minimal resources for handling refugees, and aren't big enough that large companies will drop by to donate massive quantities of food/water/etc as they're doing with the Astrodome. Even if all you can spare is a few bucks to buy someone a bar of soap and some toothpaste, that'll help. Gas is insane, so get a bunch of friends or coworkers together to pool some gas money and haul everything to the Astrodome/fire station/shelter/etc. all at once instead of driving seperately.
Also keep in mind that the school year just started - a ton of kids have been displaced, and are soon going to be enrolling in schools in other cities. Educators are already trying to find information on Louisiana lesson plans so they can keep the kids on track. In Texas they cannot legally be denied enrollment due to laws dictating that even homeless kids get to go to school, which means our already somewhat-strained education resources are going to be stretched even thinner. Call up local elementary, junior high, and high schools, ask them if they'll be taking in displaced Louisiana or Mississippi kids, and what they'll need in terms of supplies.
Those of you far-off who also want to help? Money's
Hate people? Okay, fair enough, I'm often not too fond of them, either. But if you happen to love animals and were thinking about taking one in, you might consider adopting one of the evacuated critters that are currently filling the SPCA. Some came from Louisiana or Mississippi shelters, some are pets whose owners had to evacuate and for whatever reason couldn't do anything more than get them out of the city and give them a chance somewhere else. Can't take care of another cat/dog/ferret/moose right now? Understandable. How about donating some pet food instead? It's fairly inexpensive. Maybe you don't have much cash, but you've got some free time? Volunteer to help care for the animals. They're scared and stressed from being transported 300-odd miles away from home and, in some cases, being seperated from their families. Give 'em some love.
If you can, help. If you can't, spread the information to get it to others who can.
As for my flist, I know of two people who were living in New Orleans, and from what I've heard they both got out safely before the real bad stuff got started. Unfortunately, I don't know where everyone lives - not everybody puts it in their profile or mentions it often.