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blog for relief day

Post #615 • September 1, 2005, 8:15 AM • 11 Comments

NZ Bear and Instapundit have declared September 1 as Blog for Relief Day. recommends donations to Mercy Corps and the Craft Emergency Relief Fund.

The New Orleans Museum of Art seems to have escaped mostly unharmed, with a skeleton crew of security staff who defied FEMA agents who told them to leave. (Thanks Artsjournal.) Neither NOMA's website nor phones are operating. If they appeal to the public for support to address Katrina-related issues, I will post the message here.




September 1, 2005, 8:41 AM

Thank you Franklin for you support. We are truly appreciative.

Sonny Cloward
Craft Emergency Relief Fund
Communication and Information Manager



September 1, 2005, 9:51 AM

Oh, the CERF is a good idea. New Orleans is/was a good town for artists, it also has/had an especially strong metalsmithing community.



September 1, 2005, 10:15 AM

Via Tyler, the American Association of Museums has set up a fund for museums affected by Hurricane Katrina.



September 1, 2005, 10:47 AM

Correction: the Southeastern Museums Conference set up the fund; the AAM is publicizing it. They're also now announcing a fund set up by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.



September 1, 2005, 12:32 PM

Please keep your camera and dedication to the people that are waiting for help, suffering, and the help not coming in. How is the violence and anger of the people hindering the efforts to help. we all have seen the pictures of distruction, words from Bush etc. get the aid in and the message to the people it is coming, calm things before it is out of control. THAT is where your camera can help the most.


James W. Bailey

September 1, 2005, 1:47 PM

Dear Franklin,

The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art's new Gehry museum on the Highway 90 appears to me from aerial photography to have been destroyed. It also appears that the renovated 19th Century home of Pleasant Reed, a former slave from Mississippi who built the house by hand, has also been destroyed. The Pleasant Reed Home was relocated from its original location to the new museum site to be operated as a living museum of African-American history in the state of Mississippi.

I once worked for the museum and being from Mississippi know every square inch of the Gulf Coast. Aerial photography seems to confirm this destruction.

It's harder to tell about the current Ohr museum, which is located in the Biloxi Public Library. The normal hurricane policy is to move the museum's invaluable collection of Ohr pottery to bank safe for the duration of a storm. Hopefully, that was done. I have friends at the museum whose homes were obviously destroyed. I've been unable to contact anyone.

The historic Tullis-Toledano Manor and Museum in Biloxi (which is located right next door to the site of the new Ohr museum) appears to have been destroyed. I hope I'm wrong about this. It's very hard to tell because it appears as though some of the ancient live oak trees survived and they may be obscuring a clear view of the home if it did in fact survive.

The Biloxi Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum appears to me to have been destroyed.

The historic Mardi Gras Museum in Biloxi appears to me to have been completely destroyed.

I believe it's been reported in the Biloxi Sun Herald newspaper and the Jackson Clarion Ledger newspaper that Beavouir in Biloxi has been destroyed. I'm not sure about the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library that's located next door on the property. I've seen no aerial shots from over that area.

It's also very difficult to detemine the status of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

In New Orleans, I'm especially distressed over the New Orleans Historic Collection. I have not seen any reports about its condition, or the Cabildo. I have many friends who work for these organizations and do know that they're homes have been flooded in New Orleans.

I've also been unable to contact any of my family members or friends in New Orleans.

What's obvious at this point is this: the poorest state in America that had very few museums to begin with, now has even fewer. It's a cultural tragedy.

But more importantly, it's a continueing terrible situation for those who have survived this hurricane.

James W. Bailey



September 1, 2005, 3:42 PM

Our hearts are with you, American friends and the red cross Canada is forwarding donations. Stay strong and rebuild, it is a tragedy that words cannot express, Stay strong.



September 1, 2005, 4:29 PM

James Bailey, I hope you don't mind me excerpting your comment for my site.



James W. Bailey

September 1, 2005, 6:55 PM

Dear Kathleen,

Not at all. And thank you.

I've posted the following on my site. My former boss, Marjie Gowdy, the Excutive Director of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, has been able to email the Biloxi Sun-Herald newspaper:


Update on the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi
I'm deeply saddened by this news. I'm praying for my former boss, Marjie, as well as all of my former co-workers, board members, volunteers and supporters at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art.

I can't find the right words to express how I feel right now. This museum was poised to place Mississippi on the international museum map. I know so many people who have worked so hard against endless obstacles to make this dream come true.

It was a dream come true for me to work with the staff of the museum, and especially with Mr. Jeremiah O'Keefe, the former Mayor of Biloxi, who was the driving force for this project. It is terribly sad for me to contemplate the reality that the fruits of all of this hard work now sits in ruins.

But as Marjie reminds us, George Ohr's studio once burned to the ground in Biloxi. He lost absolutely everything. After the fire, he went in a new direction with his art and created the legacy we know today.

There is life after the fire.

God Bless all of you,


From the Sun-Herald newspaper

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum update

From Marjie Gowdy, the museum's executive director:

Unfortunately, I don't know very much. We are trying to find out if the library building is still standing solid; I am trying to reach Judy Steckler and other board members including Jerry O'Keefe, Paula April, Jim Brashier and Lyle Page (through this email). I was in the storm but my son was able to get us out to Tallahasssee Tuesday night.

I do believe the pots may be okay.

I know that a casino is sitting on top of part of the new museum, and that the Reed House is gone, as are the homes of many of our staff members and board members, and we are all so very, very sorry about this.

I also believe in the spirit of the people of the Coast and that we will all rebuild, though it may take time and tears for awhile. We are all courageous, and we will all survive!

I am going to try my darndest to get back to Biloxi by the end of next week. Holly Zinner, director of operations, is in town (Ocean Springs) at the home of Earl Denham and is going by to check on the buildings as she can.

Any information will be most appreciated!

Remember: George's PotOhre burned to the ground in 1894. He not only rebuilt but after that made the finest pottery ever made by the hands of man!

My prayers go out to everyone and their families.

We will lock arms and get through this together.

Many thanks.

Many thanks to you and good luck.



September 1, 2005, 7:19 PM

more tugging at my heart-strings -- thought i would forward this report:

> Subject: Neonatal Evacuation report from New Orleans
> Just to update everyone. We just returned from New Orleans to
> Birmingham with 4 neonatal patients at the same time on transport. We
> flew to New Orleans airport via jet and Lifesaver helicopter met us
> there with the helicopter. Lifesaver took 3 crew members from the
> airport to Oschner since there was no ground access due to flooding.
> Oschner's heliport was under water and we landed on the parking deck.
> With equipment in hand, we walked down 6 flights of stairs, (all of the
> elevators are out of service), through the hospital where there is
> caution tape and leaks all throughout the hallways. We then walked up
> two flights of stairs to the unit where they are now caring for the
> babies. Luckily it was now the 2nd floor instead of originally the 10th
> floor. All of the windows were blown out of the 10th floor by the
> storm. On the flight into the airport all you could see is destruction
> and water everywhere, I thought "Truly a saddening sight", then with the
> flight on the helicopter it got worse. We were much closer at that point and could see
> more destruction, more water, looters, Police/ EMS, and uncontrolled
> fires all over.
> Upon entering the make-shift nursery, the first two staff were on phones
> crying their eyes out talking to someone on the other end trying to
> cope. All of the staff in the unit were overjoyed to see that someone
> had come to help. They had requested help from all over but they told
> us we were the only ones to show up today. They thought we were coming
> for only one patient and when we told them we had the resources to
> transport 4, they were shocked to say the least. Then we said maybe we
> can help more tomorrow and to our surprise they all were even more
> excited that we would come back again to help. The nurse practioner in
> the unit pulled me aside and asked me "How bad is it out there looking
> from the air? I mean really, is it as bad as they say?" With tears
> running down her face and tears in my eyes I said "Yes Ma'am it is,
> maybe worse and my heart is broken for all of you down here". With that
> she had to walk away.
> All of the staff are working in t-shirts, shorts and flip flops due to
> the lack of ventilation. It was at least 110-120 degrees in the unit.
> They had all of the babies in open cribs or warmers that were off and
> all were down to their diapers, some with elevated temps still. All of
> the staff have been there since Saturday and said they don't think they
> will be able to leave until the 5th of September. With that said, many
> have nothing to go home to.
> Tonight all 4 babies came back to UAB RNICU but they have at least two
> more babies for us to transport tomorrow and Dr. Prince here in
> Birmingham said we could bring one back to TCH and one to UAB. Plans
> may change by tomorrow.
> New Orleans is in a total state of destruction and chaos and my heart is
> broken so badly. I didn't have good words to make them feel better but
> made sure they all knew they were in my thoughts and prayers.
> I'm sorry to have been so chatty but I had to release somewhat.
> Respectfully and mentally/emotionally drained,
> Jason Peterson RN
> Coordinator, Critical Care Transport
> Children's Hospital of Alabama


Germaine Savo

September 2, 2005, 1:46 AM

Thank you all for your comments, it has brought the situation home to us in a most personal way. Thanks to all for the reports about art sites and the newborns. Take good care of each other down there. With love from Canada.



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