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from my son keith

hello, i'm the mother, mother-in-law, grandmother of keith, luanne and camille,family in gretna. keith is the exec. director of kingsley house in downtown new orleans....he sent me this message....i have other memorabilia i think you will want to document that i'll be sending as soon as i can.....messages i've saved from the start of their nightmare....they thought there was no need to leave and went to sleep saturday night.....keith woke early and, when he saw the levee news, got everyone mobilized, and by 8am they were on the rt. 10 to lafayette, where friends awaited them.....11 hours later they arrived....spent 2 weeks in suspension, well-cared-for by wonderful other son larry and i convinced them to come to georgia, meeting us at relatives in cumming.....i was frantic just to see them and hold was a wonderful reunion and a good 'break' for them, as well....and it turned out that, before the weekend was over, my nephew and family invited them to stay! sister-in-law janice got to work calling friends to donate clothing (they just had time to take 2 days' worth, some photo albums, and a bit of food for the road when they rushed from gretna).

davis academy, a jewish day school, welcomed camille at no charge, and all the students and teachers gave her quite a boost when, for her birthday, they surprised her with a party and a cake---even some presents from a few students! you can imagine what that meant to a 10-year-old......people were very generous, and it made them feel less 'orphaned'......

they returned about 4 weeks'later, i think, to a damaged, but still-standing home and a much-destroyed kingsley house complex....several areas were still usable, and keith got back to work he never imagined....i think kingsley was one of the only family service agencies able to re-open so quickly, so he has been also providing services to families from other agencies....but i'll leave the rest of these details to him...i,ve told him and luanne about your project, and i hope they'll get to sending you information, too.

my way of helping was to send a letter to friends and family to raise funds for kingsley house. also, my gifts this year, for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, condolences, etc. have been contributions----at last count, keith told me i'd raised over $2,000.00!!!

that's it for now.

la shana tova, shalom,

toby z. liederman
city island, ny

Object Type: Online Text

Subject : Fw: August 29, 2006

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I thought I was through welling up but received this very moving email that I wanted to forward on to you.
----- Original Message -----
From: Steven Zimmer
Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 6:05 PM
Subject: August 29, 2006

As all of us are painfully aware, today marks the anniversary of Katrina: An event that has impacted the lives of so many in our communities and our nation. I have struggled to find the words to share with you, my new Katrina family, to commemorate this day, and had given up trying. And then I received a poem. I will let the words of a 12 year old speak to and for us all.

But first a little background information on the author, Hannah, the granddaughter of a co-worker here at the United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area. Hannah's family lost their home in Lakeview to 9 ft. of water, and her grandfather, passed away on New Year’s Eve in the midst of all the trauma, due to his pre-existing health conditions and his anguish over his beloved city’s plight. For a school assignment Hannah was to write a poem about her ”calling.” She told her mom she didn’t have any idea what her calling was -- that all she could hear lately was a bunch of loud and crazy noise. Her mother suggested that maybe she could write about not knowing what her calling was and told her a neat word for lots of loud noise was “cacophony”. Naturally, Hannah loved the word and said she was going to name the poem that. Then she wrote the words you will read. Despite the poem, be assured that Hannah has an incredible sense of humor and an indomitable spirit.

Here is her poem:


If I am being called I can not hear it.

Katrina’s disruptive voice is still so loud

it leaves me deaf.

I am so caught up thinking about the past

that it’s hard to hear the future.

My grandfather’s soothing voice echoes

even though he’s gone.

The crunch of bulldozers eating houses

drowns out any thought of how my life is going to be.

The silence of my neighborhood

where kids used to run and play

screams in my ears,

and I can’t concentrate.

Maybe I’ll hear a voice calling someday,

but for now,


Hannah Beth Campbell


Steven L. Zimmer
Vice President for Community Mobilization
United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area
2515 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
504-827-6831 (office phone)
504-312-8220 (business cell)
504-827-6838 (FAX)
504-450-8777 (personal cell)

Working side by side. Hand in hand.
Person by person. Parish by parish.
United we can rebuild lives and communities.

United Way. United We Build.

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Citation Information:

toby liederman, "from my son keith." Katrina's Jewish Voices, Object #290 (January 20 2022, 5:13 pm)