September 08, 2005
By Anna Weinberg
A week-and-a-half after Hurricane Katrina decimated much of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Booksxyz, a Louisiana-based Internet bookstore, which donates proceeds from its sales to public education in the U.S., is hard at work collecting money for the public schools affected by the catastrophe.
Lafayette, where the organization is based, was hit by little more than light rain when Katrina pounded regions to the east. But the city, pop. 130,000, and its surrounding areas, were soon overwhelmed by residents of New Orleans seeking refuge from their waterlogged city. “We’ve got so many evacuees here,” says Dr. Joseph Abraham, the founder of Booksxyz, who estimates that his city’s population may have tripled in the past week. “You can hardly drive in town right now,” he says. “And everybody’s scrambling around trying to help. We’re filling up churches, we filled up the Acadia Center, shelters. There are a lot of stories of heroism and kindness. We’re high and dry here, but we’ve just got to help people over there.” Story continues below ↓
Booksxyz’s site, which is accepting donations by credit card and check, has pledged to direct 100% of the funds it collects to helping to “rebuild school districts in the ravaged areas, and to assist school districts absorbing refugee students.”
“You know, we didn’t want to jump on education too soon, because we need to look after water and food and shelter first,” Abraham says. “But at the same time, we have the world’s attention right now. This disaster is a multi-year problem, and while we do have to keep the victims of the storm alive, we also have to make sure they can rebuild their lives. And education is going to be absolutely essential.”