William Drenttel | Essays

Katrina: Designer News & Resources (09.08 Update)

This post is an archive of news and resources to help designers from the New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf States area, devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This resource list will not be updated after 09.08, when it was moved to both the AIGA site (more) and to the Displaced Designer site. Other ways to help are outlined below, as well as many other ways to contribute.


Berkshire Taconic Katrina Emergency Fund Established to Aid Designers Our offer to help is gathering steam here in Northwest Connecticut/Western Massachusetts. A lot of interest and support from the local community. We have established a non-profit fund with our local community foundation so that we can accept donations. Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation is a highly reputable foundation, and will administer and control use of funds. (Make checks out to the Berkshire Taconic Katrina Emergency Fund, and mail to Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, 271 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230). Form for credit card donations directly into the Berkshire Taconic Katrina Emergency Fund at BTCF can be found here.

Designer at Winterhouse Studio - Northwest Connecticut
Winterhouse principals Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel will sponsor one young designer from the devastated New Orleans/Gulf of Mexico region. We can offer work for 3-6 months, plus help in relocating to New York or Boston, or staying in our area longer-term. We will help with airfare and resettling costs — anything needed. Winterhouse is located in the Berkshire Mountains in Northwest Connecticut. More information about the studio at Winterhouse. Email elizabeth [at] winterhouse.com, or call collect 860.824.5040.

Relocate A Design Studio to the Berkshires
In the New England tri-state area (Western Massachusetts, Northwest Connecticut and New York State east of the Hudson, south of Albany), there is a real need for additional design talent. This area encompasses towns from Williamstown to Great Barrington, Massachusetts; Hudson to Millerton, New York; Salisbury to Cornwall, Connecticut. Only two hours from New York and Boston. In our neck of the woods are cultural organizations like Tanglewood, MassMOCA, the Norman Rockwell Museum, etc. It's a wonderful area to live in, rich in culture and natural beauty. Winterhouse would like to sponsor a design firm from the devastated New Orleans/Gulf of Mexico region, and believe we can help provide community support, initial clients, start-up funds, housing, etc. Email elizabeth [at] winterhouse.com, or call collect 860.824.5040.


American Institute of Graphic Arts
The AIGA, with 45 chapters and 150 student groups, is the largest graphic design organization in the country. AIGA has a New Orleans chapter for the city and surrounding areas with over 200 members. AIGA is networking offers of help / requests for help through its website. Whether a member of AIGA or not, this is an important place to post requests for help.

Displaced Designer: Helping Designers Affected by Hurricane Katrina Get Back on Their Feet.
A resource from The Chopping Block for those in the creative industry recently displaced by the ongoing situation in New Orleans and the surrounding region. Quickly growing resource of help needed / help wanted.

Archinect: Adopt An Architect / Disaster Relief Information
An extensive archive of disaster news, and over 178 offers (as of 9/9) to help architects with jobs, students with new schools, etc. Amazing response at this site.

American Institute of Architects
With over 74,000 members, the AIA represents the professional interests of America's architects. With a well-established network of chapters in all major southern cities, AIA has local coordinators organizing help, support and information sharing.

Architecture for Humanity
Working to bring architectural solutions to humanitarian crises, Architecture for Humanity has a long list of advice and resources.

Arts Unite for Hurricane Relief
Swine Palace, the professional theatre company affiliated with the Louisiana State University Department of Theatre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is blogging news about arts organizations that provide support. It also lists offers for artist housing.

Aquent is making a donation of $10,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, and will be matching every contribution they gather for Second Harvest, dollar for dollar. Visit their web site to learn how to participate.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation
Baton Rouge Area Foundation is a nonprofit organization that forms partnerships with philanthropists, nonprofit organizations and other community leaders. Community Foundations are part of a national network: they are typically well-run with low overheads, deep connections in the community, and broad experience helping libraries, dealing with poverty and preserving natural resources. Local community foundations are a good way to reach local groups through an already-existing network.

Craft Emergency Relief Fund
Focused on craft artists, CERF was started in 1985 and has helped more than 400 professional craft artists with over $650,000 in financial assistance over the years. CERF bulletin boards are full of offers of help and information. Very grass-roots.

Crafters United: Creative Forces for Hurricane Katrina Relief
Craft Revolution, an online magazine that promotes the work of independent designers, artists, and crafters has teamed up with craftster.org and etsy.com to set up a fundraiser to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina. They've set up a shop at etsy.com, and they're looking for donations from the indie design/craft world:100% of the proceeds from the sales are going to the Red Cross. (Link courtesy of Design Sponge.)

Community Arts Network's Blog on Artists and Disaster Relief
This national arts organization has launched CanBlog to keep track of things affects artists and the arts.

Saving Animals Through the Humane Society
In response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, The Humane Society has launched a massive relief effort to rescue pets and assist their care givers. Relief effort is funded by donations, and they desperately need your support. You can make an emergency contribution to the HSUS Disaster Relief Fund. (Link courtesy of Joseph Coates.)


"There's No Place Like Home"
Witold Rybczynski on the historical problems with emergency housing.

"The Control of Nature by John McPhee"
The New Yorker this week publishes excerpts from John McFee's classic 1987 essay on the Army Corps of Engineers' efforts to tame the waters of Louisiana. The complete essay is here.

Students Design Alternative Housing for Katrina Victims
In the spirit of Samuel Mockbee, Auburn University's architecture and design students are designing shipping-container shelter units. (Link via Archinech.)

"Desparate Need for Shelter"
The New York Times looks at temporary housing, from Carnival Cruise lines to proposals from Daniel Libeskind and Shigeru Ban to "Flat Packs" and "Future Shacks." After Hurricane Charley ripped through Florida, officials bought 550 three-bedroom mobile homes. A year later, 1500 low-income residents still call "FEMA Village" home, reminding us that temporary housing often is not temporary.

"Floods Ravage New Orleans
An amazing archive of photographs from the Washington Post.

"University of Louisiana at Lafayette Reacts to Katrina"
News article about architecture and design students from Tulane, Loyola and the University of New Orleans being moved to University of Louisiana at Lafayette: it's expected that 60-70% will migrate to Lafayette permanently. Short-term design projects will focus on disaster relief needs.

"Surviving The Flood: A Review of the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale"
Originally posted on August 5th, Core77 still has a feature on their homepage — a review of a show titled "Surviving the Flood." It seems out of place today.

"Buiding A Wireless Network"
Community Wireless Networking experts from throughout the United States are heading to the New Orleans/LA region to help rebuild their telecommunications infrastructure. Donations accepted to help defray expenses.

"The Impact of Hurricane Katrina"
The best info-graphic on the impact of Hurricane Katrina is definitely at The New York Times website. The photo and video section offer striking visual coverage of this catastrophe.

"24 Hours of Hell"
An amazing info-graphic from the Sun Herald newspaper in south Mississippi.

"Disaster (and Intelligent Info-design) Strikes Yet Again"
One+one=thr33 on the design of info-graphics for this disaster.

"The City That Will Be"
A history of re-building cities: New Orleans will come back but what will it be?

"A Strong, Soulful, Wicked, Frail City"
For a city of only half a million people, New Orleans looms large in the cultural imagination of the world. What will we keep and what will we destroy in re-building her?

"A Sad Day, Too, for Architecture"
Former president of Oberlin College and of the Aspen Institute, and the founding director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, S. Frederick Starr becomes a The New York Times correspondent to reflect on architectural loses in New Orleans. (One should note that he is a professional clarinetist and saxophonist with the New Orleans-based Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble.)

Follow the declining coverage of Hurrican Katrina at Newsmap.


Speak Up
Speak Up has made a donation to the AIGA relief fund, and is encouraging its readers to join in the AIGA effort.

The Hurricane Poster Project
Moxie Sozo, a nationally known design firm in Boulder, Colorado is teaming up with other designers and design firms around the country to create "The Hurricane Poster Project." All proceeds will go directly to the American Red Cross with a goal of $1 million. URL to follow.

25 Above Water Project
Organized by Sam Vazquez, twenty-five graphic artists to make limited edition posters: project goal is $250,000. URL to follow, with online exhibition to open October 5.

Hurricane Katrina "I'm OK" Registry
Find someone missing, tell your friends you are OK. This is the best registry.

Comments [7]

Its always good to see people helping others in a time of need, whether it be direct or indirect help, its all appretiated by those who need it most. Katrina was a horrific event, true, and not only those moved by the impact of the storm, but those who were moved to help others in need, is truly a remarkable occurence.

After the terrible events of the last days, its great to see how creative people (among others) are working hard to help people in need. Way to go. Regards from Galicia, spain.
felipe gil

I just received this via a NASAD mailing list:

Dear Colleagues,

This is the only expedient way to contact you that I can think of and am making the following appeal.

I am asking for your help in the ongoing efforts to aid the people of New Orleans and Louisiana. Here in Baton Rouge we have a great need for art supplies for the evacuees who are being housed and educated in the city and at LSU. We have four cohorts in desperate need of supplies: children and adults now living in shelters throughout the Baton Rouge area, children who are entering the public schools who budgets are currently overtaxed and overwhelmed by the doubling of enrolled students, college art students from New Orleans now enrolled at the School of Art at LSU, and professional artists who have lost not only their supplies but their life's work. The East Baton Rouge Parish School System is a separate entity and one that I cannot speak for, but the others are those that I can directly reach in this effort.

Any art supplies, especially drawing pads, sketchbooks, pencils, markers, watercolor sets, crayons, charcoal, printmaking supplies, sculpture tools, papers, rulers, t-squares, and anything else that is not toxic or dangerous (e.g. oil paint chemicals) is sought to give these souls ways to express their feelings and impressions of this unmatched national tragedy as well as diversion and solace in their uprooted circumstances.

Of course, any gift in kind to the University has tax benefits, but your heartfelt willingness to help us in this time of abject need will not go unappreciated or publicly unnoticed. I cannot possibly explain to you the depth of hardship that now exists and the necessity for life-sustaining support. Art is such a powerful means of achieving those true expressions of loss, fear, confusion, grief, and, most importantly, hope, which words alone cannot convey. No donation would be too small. Please, please help us by providing what you can. This is only one form of positive intervention, coming quickly from the entire country, that will enable the people and artists of the greater New Orleans area and Mississippi to sustain any possibility of a future whatsoever.

All donations can be sent directly to the School of Art office at the address below.

NASAD and its member schools provide unparalleled academic support. It is my most humble and sincere hope that everyone can rise to this horrid occasion in the most expeditious manner possible. Thank you all, and I will do so again at this year's annual conference.  

Stuart Baron
Director, School of Art
Louisiana State University
123 Art Building
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803
225.578.5414 (office)
225.578.5424 (fax)
[email protected]
Maya Drozdz

I loved New Orleans and have many fun memories. As well as a humid AIGA conference experience. But I wonder, is it wise to rebuild in that location? Why not bulldoze it over and cut the losses. The city has been wiped. It won't ever be the same. And it's just a matter of time before another hurircane floods it all over again. You know it's true. The forces of nature can't be beat. So why not just rebuild inland where it's safer? Let the city we used to know rest in peace.
Steve Guerelliao

With the exception of a handful of generous people, the rest is all empty talk. Sorry to have to say this, but it's the truth. Designers like to talk don't they? One org - AIGA - contacted me, the others never even followed up on my calls.
I'll survive this and become independent again, but it's not because bloggers - or the government - are so damn generous. Fooling yourselves is a hallmark of the comfortable. I shouldn't be bitter, I don't have time for this, but it does come out occasionally.

As a Louisiana resident, now a refugee from my home - watching a city try and rebuild, a culture disappear - I can only look back over my shoulder and say "hope it never happens to you."
Mark Andresen

I mapquested your address, Mark. You were on the Metarie/Kenner borderline. That means, unless an old oak or magnolia crushed your home, you most likely had power and water restored within thirteen days of the storm. This is the assumption of those who think they know about New Orleans devastation because they watch CNN. When others see this, they assume you don't have needs that are as pressing as others. Coming from Mid-City, I have seen the bewilderment a thousand times of those who cannot comprehend, and the wickedness of those who only want to say they met someone who lost everything. One designer I met with asked me, "Can't you just dry out the books and records? They just got wet, right?" He seemed to genuinely want to help, event hough by the end of our meeting he knew he had nothing to offer.

You can't expect outsiders to understand what happens to a city, and to a home, when they are soaked for weeks with the waste of over a century of industrialism, dumped into one of the world's largest rivers by a vast region of this country. And you cannot expect them to cherish either history or culture. America's identity has always rested on the notion of erasure- hence the "New World."

As a fellow post-New Orleanian, I understand your anger; but the founders and contributing editors of this blog are actually a part of that "handful" that help. As for the others who make up the majority and don't respond, keep calling, keep emailing. If for nothing else, to remind them of their hollow offers.
grant ray

I'm only angry when I see tragedy without hope. Talk with no backup. Grant, here's wishing that you, me and others too displaced to even write, come thru this better and stronger too.
I'll do my part to add hope rather than bitterness. Thanks for reminding me.
Mark Andresen

Jobs | July 21