A Healthy Dose of Anarchy
Neille Ilel nailed the dichotomy between the two kinds of emergency aid groups in New Orleans ("A Healthy Dose of Anarchy," December). It's good there is someone writing about this. I've always wondered how, after the storm, all this hysterical press came out saying, "Be careful who you donate to! There are all these scam groups out there!," thereby leading people to donate their billions of dollars to groups that proved less effective than grassroots organizations like those Ilel describes. Perhaps next time people will recognize that the spontaneity of those who really want to help makes them a better channel for altruism.
New Orleans, LA
The work of the Rainbow Family volunteers was critical to the people in Waveland and Bay St. Louis. Their generosity was among the bright spots of help in the weeks immediately after Katrina, and I can vouch for their contribution. My website covered their work and that of other unique volunteers who were out of the mainstream. In all cases, they managed to do tasks that the major disaster groups were either too slow to do or couldn't do at all.
I want to thank Neille Ilel for her article "A Healthy Dose of Anarchy." I arrived in Waveland, Mississippi, a few short days after Katrina. I attended Rainbow Gatherings in the summers and am a veteran of the free medical clinic of the Gatherings. I set up a first aid station right next to the café, which evolved into a full clinic, with doctors, nurses, and a free pharmacy. I called this the New Waveland Clinic. For three months I slept in the back of my car and worked 12-plus hours a day to simply help and serve my fellow human beings. Being in Waveland, and later St. Bernard Parish, was the most humbling and amazing experience of my life. Ilel's article touched me and brought many tears to my eyes.
Founder and Director
New Waveland Clinic
New Orleans, LA