Louisiana, Katrina & the Red Cross, Page 2
Monday, September 26, 2005
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I had an orientation meeting Friday at the Syracuse Chapter office - a local TV channel was there to do an interview. Although I can't stand being in front of a camera, the publicity is good for the Red Cross so I did it. They wanted to also tape me leaving until they found out my flight was at 6:00AM.

I'm getting tired of being told to arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to my flight. There always seems to be a good reason you have to do it "this time", and there are probably airports where that is necessary, but not at Syracuse, NY. We arrived 2 hours early; I was the first (and only) person in the check in line, went through the TSA security all by myself with no problems, and sat at the gate for two hours. Good thing I brought a book.

No problems with the flight to Newark or, for that matter, the connection to Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge is a very busy city. As a destination for many of the evacuees, in less that 48 hours its population more than doubled. We waited about an hour to get a ride from the airport to the Red Cross headquarters.

After being assigned a staff shelter to sleep in for the night receiving a briefing & checking in with the Client Casework area (where I had been assigned to work) we waited for assignments. Because so many volunteers arrived at the same time, many people had to wait for days to get assigned. In between checking in during the times assignments were given out, we stuffed envelopes with gift cards that were being given to clients. At the end of the day I caught a ride to the Broadmoor Baptist Church, my assigned shelter. All they had left was the overnight room, a large unisex room stuffed with 30 cots. The showers were outside the building, and it was so hot you were covered with sweat by the time you got back from them. Not that I'm complaining - the electricity was back on so we had air conditioning. I can't imagine what the room would have been like without it. Anyhow, since we left for the airport at 4:00AM, it was an early night.