Fundraisers for Katrina Relief
Washington society is taking the reins to raise money for hurricane relief this week, and it seems all of Capitol Hill is invited.
The Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi state societies hosted a fundraising reception last night with former Louisiana congresswoman Lindy Boggs, a New Orleans resident, as guest speaker. "We threw this together in less than a week," said the coordinator, Tonya Fulkerson, who is originally from Slidell, La. She said she expected to raise more than $200,000 from the reception's 1,000 RSVPs.
The Capitol Hill-heavy guest list included 52 members of Congress, such as Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) and Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), as well as Alabama Gov. Bob Riley.
The Canadian Embassy played host to a donation-only breakfast and lunch yesterday, followed by a fundraiser at the Washington pub Elephant & Castle. At least $21,000 was raised. "We want to show our support, our solidarity," said spokesman Bernard Etzinger.
Etzinger said he wasn't sure how many -- if any -- members of Congress were among the 750 attendees: "They're just so busy now with all the hurricane relief fundraisers."
Tonight, another hurricane relief party is planned at the home of Dittus Communications CEO Gloria Dittus. The PR firm's spokeswoman, Stacey Morton, said the guest list includes Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), NPR's Cokie Roberts and Boggs, Roberts's mother. "We think that we will raise a couple hundred thousand dollars," said Morton. "From what we've heard, this seems to be the premier D.C. insider fundraiser."
'There's Always Tomorrow'
Gloria Estefan, a survivor of Hurricane Andrew, said watching news coverage of the Katrina catastrophe has reduced her to tears. "The separation of families, to me, is very close to my heart because we've lived that as immigrants," Estefan told The Post's Vanessa de la Torre yesterday. "And as an animal lover, I see images of dogs who can't get past the porch and who haven't eaten. All that, all that . . . it's very tough to watch, but we have to."
Estefan -- who was honored on Capitol Hill yesterday during the first "Recording Arts Day," a lobbying event for the music industry -- said she wrote the song "Always Tomorrow" after Andrew ravaged Miami in 1992. Though that disaster "pales in comparison" to Katrina, Estefan said music will help victims overcome their grief.
"No matter how black things look, or how dark or difficult, there will be a moment when you're going to get past it," she said. "There's always tomorrow to start over again."
The day also featured "The Power of Music," a congressional jam session with Estefan on maracas, musician Dave Koz playing saxophone, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) handling an apple shaker and Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) rattling lemon and pineapple shakers to the tune of Estefan's "Reach."
Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, announced that a $1 million donation would be made to help music professionals struggling to make a living after losing homes and instruments to Katrina. Emilio Estefan, accompanying his wife, said he is organizing a benefit concert and telethon with Univision and the Red Cross for Katrina's Hispanic victims. It is scheduled for Sept. 18 in Los Angeles.
* America's most infamous intern, Monica Lewinsky, 32, has been accepted for a year-long master's program in London, a spokeswoman from the prestigious London School of Economic and Political Science confirmed yesterday. Lewinsky, whose affair with President Bill Clinton in the mid-'90s led to his impeachment, will study social psychology.
-- Compiled by Korin Miller
from staff and wire reports