September 08, 2005
Scams and (lack of) sensibility

Possibly the least surprising news yet in the Hurricane Katrina story.

The Missouri attorney general, Jay Nixon, filed a lawsuit this afternoon against, the hub for a constellation of Web sites erected over the last several days purporting to collect donations for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Also named in the lawsuit, Mr. Nixon said, is the apparent operator of the donation sites, Frank Weltner, a St. Louis resident and radio talk show personality with ties to neo-Nazi organizations and the notorious Web site

The Missouri lawsuit seeks to freeze the assets of Internet Donations Inc., a nonprofit entity registered with the Missouri secretary of state's office by Mr. Weltner on Sept. 2, and to shut down the dozen or so Web sites with names like, and Those sites appear to have been hastily registered and mounted since Hurricane Katrina devastated large swaths of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi last week.

Be careful who you give to, people. Though, as Ginger reminds us, it is possible to be overzealous in this regard. NYT link via Roger Ailes.

Via the SciGuy, here's the best Katrina resource list I've come across. Kudos to Laura Haynes of the Chron for putting it together.

Reports from volunteer duty: Eileen, the Chron's Ken Hoffman, and Lou Negretti, who's curiously uninformed about Austin's evacuee efforts. For the record, some 6000 evacuees were expected in Austin, with the first wave arriving on Sunday. As of Wednesday, there were about 4200 in the capital city.

Speculation on what the future of New Orleans and the evacuee host cities may look like: from Tory, Ray in Austin, Mike Fjetland, and Laurence. On a more sobering note, Amanda passes along word about disease and contamination from a doctor currently in New Orleans.

Latinos for Texas notes that many people displaced by Katrina are Mexican nationals, and they may be reluctant to ask for help.

Benefits: For you New Yorkers, there's Jazz at Lincoln Center, next Saturday the 17th (via Rob. Closer to home, the Saint Arnold brewery will be holding a Red Cross fundraiser on Tuesday the 13th:

RED CROSS FUNDRAISER AT SAINT ARNOLD'S ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 The only way to celebrate New Orleans is to have some good drink, good food and good music. We're going to supply two of the three: drink and music. You are welcome to bring your own tasty food. Music will be courtesy of the Zydeco Dots. Laissez les bon temps rouler! Admission will be $12 per person in advance, $15 at the door. 100% of the proceeds from this evening will go to the Red Cross. We will also be donating all the profits from any glass and shirt sales that night. So be charitable and have a good time! Here are the details:

Red Cross Benefit at Saint Arnold Brewery
Tuesday, September 13
6 PM to 9 PM
Admission: $12 in advance, $15 at the door
For advance reservations, call or email Ann ( or 713-686-9494). She will accept cash, credit cards, checks and flattery (while appreciated, the flattery will not go towards the admission). Advance reservations must be made by noon on Tuesday.

Finally, a comment from Susan Wade:

My name is Susan Wade, and my brother is an Austin firefighter. He was in touch with the local Veterans for Peace group, and heard of a VfP group that drove from California to Louisiana last week and set up an aid station. They're in Covington, LA and were the first relief on the ground there. We organized supplies (they had only the first load they brought with them), and Daryl loaded his truck (camper shell and a huge luggage rack) and drove to Covington last Saturday night. He and a friend have been volunteering there ever since. VfP has collected supplies and sent more pickups to Covington from Central Texas.

I was able to talk with Daryl by cell phone (his service is spotty, of course) on Monday night. They're working with the Red Cross now. That day, re-supply had improved dramatically, and they're starting to feel like they're making headway.

Tonight, when I got home, there was a message from Daryl saying they've had word of a small town in Mississippi (Laurel) that's received no assistance yet at all. We're organizing supplies and drivers again. If any of your readers want to make a donation that they can be certain will go right now to people in desperate need because of Katrina, I know for a fact the VfP is doing that. They have a PayPal and credit card site set up. Here's the link.

If anyone else wants to go do unglamorous relief work, it sounds as if rural Mississippi is the place to go. I'll serve as a contact for direct info from Covington for any who are interested. Email is

As always, send me any Katrina information you'd like for me to publicize.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 08, 2005 to Hurricane Katrina | TrackBack

No evacuees in Austin? No effort in Austin? Lou, are you kidding? Austin was the first city to pitch in after Houston hit capacity. The entire city, government and citizens, put their lives on hold and hit the ground running to welcome and care for the 5,000 evacuees that began arriving last Friday. At least a couple of hundred children started school today in Austin. The entire state of Texas is doing more than its fair share.

Posted by: Eileen on September 8, 2005 10:27 PM

I can give directions to Weltner's House if anyone wants to pay him a visit...


Posted by: ArchPundit on September 9, 2005 2:13 AM

Unfortunately, the cheapest available tickets for the Higher Ground Jazz Benefit are $1,000. However, tickets will go on sale on Tuesday for a September 20th concert at Madison Square Garden that will feature Elton John, Fats Domino, and other New Orleans musicians.

Also, for all you fans of the world's oldest rock and roll band, the Rolling Stones are offering tickets to their sold-out concerts if you pay for the tickets plus make a contribution to the American Red Cross. Tickets are only available in pairs, so all single people such as myself are left out. More information is available on their website, or

Posted by: William Hughes on September 9, 2005 10:07 AM

I am a evacuee from new orleans, now staying in hudson, florida. I am trying to get 2 tickets to rolling stones concert in tampa. I have shelpingupported the stones for 40 years, have all the records,cds tshirts,hats etc. Surely they can afford to get me tickets at a reduced rate, I have been through a lot and my son and I need a little fun. Anyone, please help! I will be grateull for anything anyone can do! email me at thanks a lot

Posted by: darleenklepeis on October 6, 2005 9:13 AM