It’s been a week now since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, but the mass exodus of people from New Orleans and other afflicted areas continues, and will continue for months to come as many in Louisiana are told to stay away from their homes for at least a month. Ralph Chester is one of this new diaspora, on the road since Sunday with his wife and two teenage boys. The family’s home is three miles outside of New Orleans in an area called River Ridge, in Jefferson Parish, but they’re not going to be back any time soon. So, they’re settling in as temporary residents of Charlottesville, along with 87 special status students at the University of Virginia, as well as other families and individuals with a connection to Central Virginia. I spoke with Ralph on September 5 in the CPN studio. He says this isn’t the first time he’s had to evacuate his family in the face of what he describes as “a bowling ball thrown by God.”
Now, how can you help?
The Starlight Express luxury bus will be taking at least one of its buses to a refugee staging area in Mississippi on Tuesday, September 6. If you hear this before then, call Starlight at 295-0782, 434-295-0782. They’re looking for donations of all kinds of things, and also might be looking for places for people to stay. Call 295-0782 when you hear this to find out how you can help.