To those in the New Orleans area specifically, and the Gulf region generally, please take Hurricane Gustav seriously. Read the CNN article posted here or check local news. This storm could become more dangerous than Katrina, and once you are in it is too late to understand whether it was dangerous or not. If you can evacuate, head to higher ground, or gather with loved ones and friends, please do so. Whenever possible, take the lead from your local government. I am giving you the same advise I have given my own mother and sister, who live in the broader Gulf region.
Operation HOPE responded to Hurricane Katrina and helped more than 100,000 survivors of Katrina in need, and continues to have operational offices in the region (which will be evacuated until the storm passes). The "economic triage" and financial counseling services HOPE Coalition America, a partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA, DHS/Citizen Corps, the State of Louisiana and the American Red Cross, as well as the State of Mississippi, will be available following the storm. The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund supported our efforts to get established on-the-ground. Fred D. Smith, a dear friend of mine whom I highly respect, is the national director of HCA.
HCA is America's "economic Red Cross." Call on them if you need their services.
For those who need the services of HCA, or who may want to volunteer as a HOPE Corps member to help those in need, please contact HOPE Coalition America at 888 388 HOPE, or online at www.operationhope.org.
Onward with HOPE
John Hope Bryant
Founder, chairman and CEO, Operation HOPE
Vice-Chairman, U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy