A Cajun Party
With a Purpose
Even in the most disastrous of times, Cajuns know how to party.
"We're asking people to bring rice and onions over here to make some jambalaya."
"And beans. They need some red beans."
"Propane burners, too. Gotta bring over some supplies."
A few days after the most devastation these tough southern Louisiana residents have ever seen, The Rajun' Cajun radio station had this latest request. The folks at Grande Isle, a small slip of land that ended up underwater, needed something hot to eat as they returned to their property.
That very evening, the makeshift emergency center was filling up with jambalaya supplies.
The Rajun' Cajun radio station has been on air during and since the hurricane. But it hasn't been playing much of its all-Cajun-all-the-time music. It is acting as a go-between for everyone who needs everything.
"How many kids are at the Civic Center?" a woman caller asked. "Because I've got 100 Beanie Babies I been collecting."
"You bring 100 Beanie Babies over there, you get 100 smiles," said Captain Kirk, who typically is host of "Talk of the Bayou."
In a land of leaning and splintered telephone poles, shrimp boats tossed along bayou banks like toys, and houses, trailers and houseboats just decimated, the radio station has been this self-sufficient area's link between those who have and those who need. The station opened its warehouse immediately after the hurricane to let people drop off food, water and supplies. It has been filled and refilled. Walk into the entrance, and volunteers are taking a sweaty break on two recliners ready for a dry new home. A virtual grocery store is lined with families, many picking up disinfectant and other cleaning supplies. Large men in sleeveless T-shirts are outside grilling sausage, with a side of sausage for anyone who walks by. And Connie Callais, a retired teacher whose home is without power, has containers of hot rice and beans for anyone who wants them.
"This is the generosity of Cajuns," Callais said arms wide as she took in the stocked warehouse.
-- Amy Joyce
As residents in New Orleans struggle with dire shortages of all manner of essential goods, people throughout the country are facing another shortage caused by the hurricane -- a dearth of New Orleans maps.
Since the hurricane struck and flooding started, many map stores and online dealers around the country have quickly sold out of detailed maps of the city and the state. Rand McNally, which produces one of the most comprehensive maps of the area, was completely out of stock Tuesday. Map stores from coast to coast said they had sold out, reordered and often sold out again. Many had downtown tourist maps or guidebooks left in stock but not detailed road maps. They are being snapped up by family members and friends trying to find loved ones; reporters and aid workers heading to the region; power companies and builders planning restoration efforts; and collectors looking for souvenirs.
"We're sold out of all the maps of New Orleans and the Gulf area," said Cory Rostein, an employee at ADC Map and Travel in the District. "Normally we have 10 or 15 in stock at a time, but we sold those, ordered more and sold those, too."
MapSource, a map publisher based in St. Petersburg, Fla., said it has taken thousands of orders for maps of the Gulf region. The company has stores throughout the Southeast, and its affiliate in New Orleans survived the storm intact.
"We've been getting calls from FEMA, the FBI, the National Guard, insurance companies, electric companies, relief agencies, they all need maps," said Mike Klien, MapSource's director of operations. "The printer had to run a second shift to keep up with demand."
-- Kari Lydersen