The people of New Orleans
joined the rest of the country in the past two weeks by generously donating their blood, time, money and talents to crisis relief agencies such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, food banks and funds for fallen rescue workers in connection with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Local corporations and businesses donated supplies, services and money to relief efforts, while local military reservists began preparing for -- and in some cases, performing -- active duty. Joining the massive effort were clergy and congregation members who helped people begin the healing process. Meanwhile, local artists and musicians donated their time and talents to raise money and rebuild peoples' spirits. Many New Orleanians offered their support to the local Muslim community at a time when it had become a target for unjustified outrage, and others supported various volunteer and charitable causes serving the community, knowing that most nonprofit agencies are overtaxed in times of crisis. This massive, community-wide effort clearly demonstrates a foundation of strength and compassion in our city -- and in our country.