And I mean this seriously and sincerely. If you are a lawyer, get cracking -- the people of New Orleans are going to need you. Here's why:
First, think about the scenario for the next month or two. The bizarre reports we are starting to hear about communications lines being cut and so-called looters shooting and being shot may or may not be true. What is true is that hundreds of people, in the next few days, will likely have to be forcibly removed from New Orleans if the feds are serious about their intention of evacuating absolutely everyone from the city. These people will quite likely end up being thrown in jail "for their own good" because otherwise they will sneak back into the city as soon as they can. So there's the first job for the lawyers, to defend these folks and make sure their rights are not trampled.
More after the break.
Second, think about the scenario for the next year -- given what has happened so far, how confident is anyone that FEMA will be able to get the financial aid to people that they need? They can't live on cots forever, without even enough cash to buy a cup of coffee or a mug of beer, but what are the chances that anyone in FEMA will even answer their phone calls, much less cut them any cheques? How will they establish their identity? You know what government forms are like. A brigade of volunteer lawyers should descend on every shelter to do battle with the bureaucracy on their behalf.
And third, think about the next several years -- what will happen to the poorer, likely elderly property owners of all those small flooded houses, who were almost certainly underinsured and will not be able to afford to rebuild? What pressure will they be under to sell their land cheap to developers now? How badly are they going to be screwed if they don't have some expert help?
Lawyers, its now your time to step up to the plate.