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Bear with me for doing some volunteer advertising here for one of my several "homes away from home," a store which provides a feast for the senses.

If you regularly visit Barnes & Noble, you've familiar with their extensive selection of books you can browse through--on some of which you can get some good deals. It's where I found Chris Rose's excellent collection of post-Katrina columns, "1 Dead In Attic."

You're familiar with the peaceful, homey ambience, with the comfy, cozy overstuffed armchairs where you could sit and read for hours. And the pleasant music played over their sound system. (That's how I found out about the Fats Domino tribute album Goin' Home.)

And you're familiar with their music department's "Red Dot" system, where not only can you listen to bits and pieces from albums in the store, you also can listen to ones that aren't in stock, that you can have ordered.

You're familiar with the tantalizing aroma from their coffee shop--and may even have ordered coffee or eaten goodies there....

But here's yet another reason to enjoy shopping at Barnes & Noble. Or visit their website (though I find actually shopping at the store much more pleasurable.) Or buy stock in that company. Per a recent report in the Times-Picayune, Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard Riggio is planning

an initiative that should place at least 120 families into new houses built with energy-efficient features and elevated to a height that should protect them from future floods. Riggio, the chairman of Barnes & Noble, plans to spend $20 million from his family's charitable foundation on the effort.

In announcing this effort,

Riggio, a devotee of New Orleans music, opened his speech with a reference to Randy Newman's song about the 1927 Mississippi River flood, which includes the lines, "Louisiana, Louisiana, they're trying to wash us away . . ." He said no flood could wipe out the music, food, culture and "genius" that New Orleans has bequeathed the rest of the country.

"Despite the enormity of Katrina's fury, a point was proved once again. No storm or flood or disaster could ever destroy this city, because its people are too resilient and too resourceful, too proud and too anchored in deep roots, to ever be washed away," he said

The only thing that's sad about this is the fact that were it not for philanthropists such as Riggio, Brad Pitt, and others, and volunteer groups such as Habitat for Humanity who've been building Musicians Village, New Orleans and her people would be getting far less help because of the inaction of BushCo. And the help from all these individuals and groups is a drop in the bucket compared to what's needed--homelessness is still a major problems in New Orleans. And these homeless, as Crashing Vor says,

are not the cliched caricatures that people think of when they hear the word "homeless."  The majority are not transients from elsewhere, but former homeowners and renters from this city.  They were not "mainstreamed" to the street from mental institutions, but flooded out of their homes by the failure of a flood-protection system that, by law, their city and state were not allowed to touch, that system being the sole responsibility of the Army Corps of Engineers.

And on the topic of the ACOE, per the Times Picayune, there are plans to build recreational stuff around the Bonnet Carree Spillway. That's a waste--I mean, I'd rather see the money that's being spent on that used to upgrade New Orleans' levees to protect the people living there from a future Cat 5 storm. But what do I know? I'm just an interested observer and blogger from the Midwest.

Originally posted to Louisiana 1976 on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 07:24 AM PST.

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