AS I SEE IT 9/5: Helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina

AS I SEE IT
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
PWBTS.com

Every reader of this column and website has seen the unending newsreel of the unmatched devastation of the city and surrounding area of New Orleans, LA. We have seen the endless scenes of death, destruction, and despair over and over and over...to the point that many of us can't watch them anymore.

Beyond the immense physical scope of this natural disaster is the immense human toll that Katrina will produce...in numbers that are not even imaginable in the history of the United States. Officials in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have stated that thousands will eventually be counted among the dead in this disaster.

Television has shown that the scope of this disaster is rivaled by only the San Fransisco earthquake of 1906 in terms of sheer magnitude of devastation...a devastation of so much of the beautiful and lively city that I visited many years ago... as well as the surrounding area. Whole economies in city after city throughout the Gulf Coast region are wiped out, with the destruction of what had been nicknamed the "Redneck Riviera" in adjacent Mississippi...in an area that was developed, ironically enough, to help residents of the area after another hurricane.

Given the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans, Alabama, and Mississippi, I'd like my readers, wherever they may live, to take some time and consider how they might help the victims of this disaster.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has listed the following organizations that are assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina:

The various charities listed below can receive donations online through the Network for Good portal.

To donate cash by telephone:

  • American Red Cross (800) HELP NOW/(800) 435-7669 English; (800) 257-7575 Spanish
  • Operation Blessing (800) 436-6348
  • America's Second Harvest (800) 344-8070

    To donate cash or volunteer:

  • Adventist Community Services -- (800) 381-7171
  • Catholic Charities, USA -- (703) 549-1390
  • Christian Disaster Response -- (941) 956-5183/(941) 551-9554
  • Christian Reformed World Relief Committee -- (800) 848-5818
  • Church World Service -- (800) 297-1516
  • Convoy of Hope -- (417) 823-8998
  • Lutheran Disaster Response -- (800) 638-3522
  • Mennonite Disaster Service -- (717) 859-2210
  • Nazarene Disaster Response -- (888) 256-5886
  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance -- (800) 872-3283
  • Salvation Army -- (800) SAL-ARMY/(800) 725-2769
  • Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief (800) 462-8657, ext. 6440
  • United Methodist Committee on Relief -- (800) 554-8583

    Additionally, the governor of Louisiana has established this foundation to collect and distribute monetary donations to private and public entities for disaster relief for losses and/or damages brought on as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Please make donations payable to Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, Inc. and mail them to:

    Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, Inc.
    Fed. Tax ID No. 20-3399944
    c/o Division of Administration
    1201 North Third Street, Suite 7-240
    P.O. Box 94095
    Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9095

    Application to the Federal government has been made for nonprofit status and exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and approval by IRS is expected shortly.

    The Web site to accept credit card donations and provide other information is under construction and will be linked to the Louisiana.gov website.

    In the State of Alabama, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency can be accessed here.

    In Mississippi, the state website, which is providing Katrina-related information is available here.

    In terms of connections to professional wrestling, there are those among the wrestling world attempting to help; beginning with the largest company, WWE partnering with Americares.org to raise funds for hurricane relief.

    Other independent promotions are scheduling events to benefit the victims of the devastation, including a joint CHIKARA/MBA show at the ECW Arena on October 1. Steel Rage Pro Wrestling in Sepaulpa, OK is having its regular venue used in part as a shelter for Katrina victims, while running a benefit show on their behalf of September 16.

    Additionally, Michael Moody, creator of "101 Reasons Not To Be A Pro Wrestler", has made public that he will donate 85% of sales this week to non-profit groups helping the Hurricane Katrina Victims.

    In terms of those within wrestling with potential personal connections to victims, WWE.com has reported that John Heidenreich hasnít been able to contact his father since his father's hometown in Louisiana was devastated by Hurricane Katrina last Monday. Heidenreich's father decided to stay behind and brave one of the worst natural disasters in United States history.

    Heidenreich has also been unable to reach his wife and children, who he last talked to on August 27. He is aware that they left New Orleans for Hammond, LA prior to Katrinia's landfall, but has not been able to reach them since to determine the damage in their area.

    One wrestling-related side effect of the disaster is that the much-promoted debut of Friday Night Smackdown will be reduced to a one hour program because of a conflict with the UPN participation in "Shelter from the Storm"; a multi-network (ABC/NBC/CBS/WB/Fox/UPN) one hour fundraising concert for Hurricane Katrina victims. The program could not be run in its two-hour format with an hour delay, due to the fact that many markets run local 10:00 pm newscasts.

    The previously scheduled list of matches for the debut (which no doubt likely have to be modified with only half the time available to air matches) had been announced as: Batista-John Bradshaw Layfield in a Bullrope match, Rey Mysterio-Eddie Guerrero in a steel cage match, WWE Tag Team Champions Road Warrior Animal & Heidenreich-MNM, and Chris Benoit- Orlando Jordan, as well as a segment with Randy Orton and the "Undertaker's Retirement Fund".

    Another side effect of the disaster is that a WWE tour of the Gulf Coast, originally scheduled for late September, has been cancelled with 5 shows listed as postponed, including a RAW taping and Smackdown taping.

    The postponed shows are:

  • September 24 - Lake Charles Civic Center Arena, Lake Charles, LA
  • September 25 - Mobile Civic Center, Mobile, AL
  • September 25 - Baton Rouge, LA
  • September 26 - Biloxi, MS - RAW taping
  • September 27 - UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA - Smackdown taping

    The RAW or Smackdown tapings originally scheduled for Biloxi, MS and New Orleans, LA have been relocated; as a September 17 RAW brand house show originally scheduled for Waco, TX has now been turned into a RAW taping on September 26 (all tickets for September 17 honored); with the September 27th Smackdown taping relocated to the Laredo Entertainment Center in Laredo, TX (tickets for the original New Orleans taping are listed as honored for the Laredo, TX event).

    Until next time....

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    If you have comments/questions, or if you'd like to add the AS I SEE IT column to your website, I can be reached by e-mail at bobmagee1@hotmail.com)