The Aug. 31 news article "Disease Outbreaks Are Unlikely" said that cholera in the Gulf Coast is impossible because necessary microbes are not found in the area. This is untrue.

Robert Black of Johns Hopkins University states in the standard textbook of public health that there have been cholera outbreaks in Louisiana in 1978 and in 1981. These infections were contracted in that area, and cholera germs may be established in the Gulf Coast environment.

Our nation is responding in an extraordinary way to an extraordinary disaster. We may not have an outbreak of cholera, but the possibility must be included in our thinking, planning and response.

ROBERT C. MORROW

RICHARD C. POOLE

Alexandria

*

Washington's health director, Gregg A. Pane, is to be commended for allowing pets into the shelter at the D.C. Armory ["Plight of Stranded Animals Worsening Daily," Metro, Sept. 8].

The images from Hurricane Katrina's aftermath underscore what animal advocates have said for years: The Red Cross's policy of not allowing pets in shelters is counter to the organization's goal of saving lives. Many people refuse to leave their homes without their pets, a decision that puts them and their pets in harm's way. There isn't a snowball's chance in hell that I would leave without my dog, Frosty.

DICK MYERS

Chestertown

While visiting the thousands of homeless, penniless hurricane evacuees camped in the Houston Astrodome, Barbara Bush, the president's mother, said: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them" [Names and Faces, Sept. 7].

This should definitely make the next edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations -- revealing words from the matriarch who rocked the cradle of compassionate conservatism.

ROSCOE BORN

Sykesville

*

The Sept. 7 new story "Bush to Probe Storm Response" reported that the president promised an investigation into the hurricane response. But like all legitimate investigations, shouldn't this one be headed by a nonpartisan, disinterested, qualified third party?

If President Bush leads the investigation, can we truly expect an impartial assessment of his administration's performance? After all, he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to L. Paul Bremer and George J. Tenet -- men who made many mistakes as they stumbled through their public service duties leading up to and following the invasion of Iraq.

JOHN DUKOVICH

McLean

*

A Sept. 2 Metro article highlighted one of the most serious problems facing the many Mississippi and Louisiana children displaced by Hurricane Katrina: getting back to school. For these now-homeless children, immediate enrollment and attendance is critical both to their education and to their recovery from trauma. It is gratifying that schools are so eagerly registering and enrolling these students.

One fact, however, must be clarified. The article said federal law "allows" schools to enroll homeless students even if they lack documentation. In fact, federal law requires that homeless children be immediately enrolled, allowed to attend school and to participate fully in school activities. Immediately enrolling these and other homeless children who lack documentation is not only the right thing to do, it is the law.

BARBARA DUFFIELD

Policy Director

National Association for the Education

of Homeless Children and Youth

Washington

*

Hurricane Katrina has had a devastating effect on the arts on the Gulf Coast, which can expect, as a result, to lose funding from strained city and local governments.

Some Mississippi cultural attractions are gone: the Biloxi Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium, the Old Brick House, Beauvoir and its new Jefferson Davis presidential library, Tullis Manor, and more.

Some attractions, like the Ohr museum, were damaged, while others, such as Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs and the Dusti Bonge Foundation in Biloxi, were undamaged.

The arts shouldn't be first in line for reconstruction and aid, but they have a lot to give, and what is left is even more important now.

JULIAN BRUNT

Executive Director

Dusti Bonge Foundation

Biloxi, Miss.