The Southern Review Relief Fund for LSU Students
September 10, 2005
To the Community of Writers, Readers, Teachers, Students, Editors and Anyone Else Within the Sound of This Email—
Bret Lott here, editor of The Southern Review on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am writing to you and to everyone you can forward this email to with an opportunity to help victims of the hurricane. Forgive this rather long email, but it is important to the welfare of many hurricane evacuees in our area -- please read this all the way through.
No doubt you know the sorrow and hardship that has been visited on residents of our state because of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding caused by the breach of the levee in New Orleans. No doubt you know as well of the thousands of displaced persons who have lost everything because of the evacuation of that city.
As a result of so many New Orleans area universities
and colleges closing down for who knows how long, LSU has taken on almost
2800 new students who were displaced by losing their homes and their
schools; in addition, many students who were already enrolled at LSU
have also suffered great losses. These students have experienced hardships
that few of us will ever know: they have lost their homes, their personal
belongings, their books, their food -- everything, including, for many,
the college or university at which they were enrolled. To help
meet their needs -- and these are IMMEDIATE and GENUINE needs -- the LSU Foundation
has set up Hurricane Katrina Relief
Strangely and beautifully and sadly enough, the latest issue of The Southern Review -- mailed to subscribers just week before last, right as the hurricane was making way for the Gulf Coast -- has turned out to be a very special issue for the artwork on the cover and that featured inside. The artist, Billy Solitario, lives near Gulfport (and I trust you have seen the pictures of the devastation there); as of this writing, we have not been able to contact him. The paintings themselves are of the Gulf Coast -- one of them is even titled "Spiral Cloud over Levee," another one titled "Storm Over the Mississippi"; still others in the portfolio are of barrier islands on the Gulf Coast -- places that don't even exist anymore. The artwork was selected about a year ago, and the synchronicity of this is a little too much to think about -- the issue, which went out just two weeks ago, celebrates a coastland that is, suddenly, gone. Also, and again the synchronicity of this is too much to behold, the lead poems in this issue are by Peter Cooley, poet at now-closed Tulane University; we have heard that he is safe in Houston at the time of this writing.
Here is where the community of folks to whom this email is addressed can help (and please read the following instructions CAREFULLY as they are being written this way so as to allow all of us to help each other legally!).
Please note that these two actions -- your donation, our sending you a free copy -- are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE (does anyone out there recognize yet the legal hoops I am having to jump through in order simply to help students in dire need of help? Sheesh!). Please note as well that it just so happens that the cover price for an issue of The Southern Review is $8 (eight dollars), BUT YOU ARE FREE TO DONATE AS MUCH AS YOU WISH.
Order as many as you want -- use them as gifts with the good knowledge that because of your generosity help is going to students in need; use them in your classes as a means to help your students rally to the aid of their comrades here at LSU; give them to anyone and everyone you know. And please forward this email to as many people as you know so that they might also be able to contribute to a worthy fund, and to enjoy the issue itself.
But finally, please note that NOT A SINGLE PENNY WILL COME EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE TO THE COFFERS OF THE SOUTHERN REVIEW ; THIS IS SOLELY AN EFFORT TO GET MONEY TO STUDENTS IN NEED AND TO CELEBRATE THROUGH THE PAGES OF THE SOUTHERN REVIEW THE BEAUTY OF A COAST THAT HAS LARGELY BEEN LOST.
I know that to many out there this may sound like some sort of mercenary effort to advertise our journal and somehow to make money through the loss of others. Indeed, we will in fact be losing money in all this.
But you have my word -- Bret Lott -- that we will in no way profit from these mutually exclusive actions.
I know the outpouring will be a great one, and please know that we here at The Southern Review are prepared to handle the deluge of good will you are already sending our way. Thank you for reading all the way through this email, and thank you as well for what you have already done for the hurricane relief efforts.
Sincerely, and with thanks to all --