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September 7, 2005

Superintendent of Louisiana School for the Deaf

From: internet - Sep 7, 2005

From: Tiffany J. Burns, CI/CT
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2005 3:30 PM
Subject: Katrina and Louisiana School for the Deaf

Some of you may have already gotten this. If you are wondering how fellow members of our Deaf community are surviving and how we can help, read on - from the Superintendent of Louisiana School for the Deaf.

Tiffany J. Burns, CI/CT
Manager, Saguaro Interpreting Services

Hello friends,

Your emails are finally getting through to us. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you for your concern and support in this tragedy. It is sinking in to us that this is not something that will go away next week. Our lives here in Louisiana have changed and will never be the same.

LSD's campus and facilities came through unscathed, allowing us to devote our attention to assisting the homeless. Our priority has been to locate our New Orleans area students and get them back in school. We have contacted students and their families in Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas, as well as all over Louisiana. They are beginning to make their way to Baton Rouge to bring their child back to school. In most cases, this means providing shelter for their families. This morning we have 11 families (49) people living in one of our dormitories. This is a number that fluctuates daily. Families find apartments to rent and move out, or they connect with relatives outside Baton Rouge and move on. Example: one little girl's extended family (17 members) found an apartment to rent and moved out last Friday. We expect several more families to arrive today. These folks are in need of clothing and basic supplies.

We are also housing LSD staff members and their families who lost their homes or have been without electricity for an extended period. The daytime temperature here continues to be in the mid-90s. Thank God this has been a small number.

Re: the deaf community for whom we've provided shelter, this number has also fluctuated. We've had as many as 12 or more and that number is down to two this morning. They come here, catch their breath, eat a hot meal, wash their clothes, get a hot shower and an air- conditioned night's sleep. We then help them contact friends or relatives who can take them in. We had two elderly brothers, both deaf-blind, who miraculously made their way out of New Orleans to a shelter near Baton Rouge. One of the volunteers in that shelter was the daughter of an interpreter. She told her mother who contacted LSD and then drove the two gentlement to LSD. They were with us several days until they could contact friends who came to get them.

The local service providers (Louisiana Commission for the Deaf, Louisiana Association of the Deaf, Louisiana Career Development Center,Catholic Deaf Center, First Baptist Deaf Church, Assembly of God Deaf Church, and Louisiana School for the Deaf) are coordinating services for deaf refugees. The Baton Rouge Deaf Action Center will do initial screening and connect the deaf refugees with Food Stamps, Unemployment,Social Security, FEMA, counseling and comforting, etc. and provideinterpreters. LSD will provide temporary housing, food and clothing until the refugees can be relocated with friends or relatives. Once this is publicized, we expect a large number of homeless deaf people to be processed through LSD.

Our most pressing need is and will be monetary donations. As most of you know, I am limited by laws and regulations as to how I can spend our state appropriation. Monetary donations earmarked for a specific purpose(hurricane relief) I can spend as needed. We have established a special account through which these donations will flow. This money would go for clothing, toiletries, and food for the families of LSD students and the homeless deaf people who will be housed at LSD. Donations in lieu of material goods gives us the flexibility to purchase the exact items and sizes needed and we should be able to save by purchasing some things in bulk. In addition, it would go for gas, bus tickets, train tickets to reunite these people with their friends or relatives, if possible.

Please make checks payable to the Louisiana School for the Deaf, with a notation "for hurricane relief," and send to my attention at the address below.

Please remember us in your prayers.

Bill Prickett, Superintendent
Louisiana School for the Deaf
P.O. Box 3074
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
(225)769-8160 V,TDD
(888)769-8111 (instate only)
(225)757-3424 FAX