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Forty for Four on Five – Money Raised to Go to Causes that Gumbo Supports

September 8, 2010

Funds raised by the sale of the book, The Story of Gumbo Yah-Yah the Blue Alligator and the Big Storm are to be distributed to four important organizations working to rebuild and preserve the great city of New Orleans and the surrounding region.  The fundraising is to be marketed as “Forty for Four on Five” as it will seek to raise at least $40,000 for the four organizations noted below on this, the fifth anniversary of Katrina and the failure of the city’s levee system.

The Saint Bernard Project was established after Hurricane Katrina in March 2006 to create housing opportunities so that survivors can return to their homes and communities in St. Barnard and Orleans Parishes. The St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit, community-based organization, carries out its mission through three primary programs: Rebuilding Program, Center for Wellness and Mental Health and Opportunity Housing Program.  Thanks to its many donors, volunteers and sponsors it is able to rebuild a home in about 12 weeks for the low average cost of $20,000; at present it has rebuilt nearly 300 homes and has 50 under construction.  For more information on how to help contact: 504-277-6831 or  www.stbernardproject.org.

Loyola University New Orleans is a Catholic non-profit institution of higher education whose collegiate roots in the city go back to 1849, preceding its charter as a university in 1912.  Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 best universities in the South by US News and World Report, Loyola’s goal is to holistically educate and develop individuals who dedicate their lives in service to others.  Despite the setback of Katrina, for 5 years the university’s J.  Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library has been named one of the top 10 libraries in the nation by The Princeton Review and is the home of rare archives documenting the city’s past.  With its rich heritage of education and service in New Orleans, it is fitting that it is also the home of the new Center for the Study of New Orleans, which promotes research into the city’s unique history, culture and society while integrating social justice and analytical thinking into courses.  For more information on how to help contact: 504-861-5500 or  www.loyno.edu.

Archdiocese of New Orleans Catholic Schools were the first schools to reopen in New Orleans after Katrina, in January 2006.  Since the storm, the Archdiocesan schools have welcomed children of any background – regardless of ability to pay – and now educate over 40,000 students, up from 27,000 before.  The quality of education, however, has remained extraordinary: of the 2,785 students graduated from Catholic high schools in 2009, 96% were admitted to college and 2% into the military.  Also, the Mayor’s education task force report of April 2010 has shown that the reopening of the nearly 90 archdiocesan schools has led to the anchoring of neighborhoods hard hit by the storm and significantly higher rebuilding efforts and the return of residents.  Over the last 5 years, however, the open door policy of the schools has cost more than $10 million to undertake and that cost is still climbing.  For more information on how to help contact: 504-866-7916 or  www.anocs.org.

Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans was established in 1974 to preserve the historic neighborhoods and culture of New Orleans.  The PRC’s Rebuilding Together program has led to the sustainable rehabilitation of more than 300 historic homes for low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners over the last 5 years in some of the city’s most storm-devastated neighborhoods, such as those of Holy Cross, Gentilly and Tremé.  The PRC is a national leader in merging historic preservation and the reestablishment of neighborhood vitality.  For more information on how to help contact: 504-581-7032 or  www.rtno.org.

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