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September 03, 2005

The Irish & Katrina

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IC 09/02/05 News O'Flaherty's Irish Channel & Friends
IE 09/02/05 Katrina's Wrath Pounds Gulf Coast
IO 09/03/05 Efforts To Contact Missing Irish Continue
IO 09/03/05 Concern For Irish Caught In Hurricane
BT 09/03/05 Ulster Soccer Girls In Katrina Horror

(Thanks to all who have volunteered to help with the
assistance to any Irish victims of Katrina.

As far as I know, there are no Irish in Houston who need
our assistance. My understanding is that those who were
transported to Dallas have temporary places to stay.

If I become aware of any changes in their status, I will
let you know.

Below is some information that I thought would be of
interest. Jay)


News O'Flaherty's Irish Channel & Friends

Here's an update on Danny O'Flaherty and O'Flaherty's Irish
Channel Centre & Pub in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Danny and his family (Susan & Liam) are out of New Orleans
and safe. Patrick O'Flaherty was visiting New Orleans just
before the storm hit and he is now back in DC. Andrea
(Patrick's wife) is also in DC. Betsy, while losing her
musical instruments to make room for her dogs, is safe and
staying in Pennsylvania with her brother. (I do not know
the status of Justin Murphy or Beth Patterson.)

Based on the path the hurricane took, Danny is sure that
his house is gone but he doesn't know how extensively
O'Flaherty's Pub has been damaged. As you've probably seen
on the news, water is rising in the French Quarter and with
the building being more than a hundred years old, it's hard
to be optimistic about having the Pub back in business
anytime soon.

As you can imagine, he's devastated as are so many other
people that are in the areas hit by the hurricane. To add
to the uncertainty and frustration is the realization that
he can't do anything yet . . . he can't move ahead until he
can get back into New Orleans to assess the damage and what
it will mean for him and for his family.

Because I've already received so many calls and emails
asking what people can do to help Danny, Dave and I are
sending this brief update to let you know that he's
physically ok and also to let you know how you can help if
you would like to do so. Our suggestions:

· Keep Danny, his family, and all his friends and
supporters in the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama areas
in your prayers

· If you would like to send an email to him, you can send
it to

· If you would like to make a donation to help, please
send a check made out to Danny O'Flaherty and addressed to
#300, 9732 State Route 445, Sparks, NV 89436 or call us
(775-425-6708) with a credit card number and we'll process
the donation for him

· If there's a concert hall, large church hall, or large
Irish Pub in your area which might like to sponsor "An
Evening of Traditional Irish Music" or if there are K1-12
schools in your area which might like to have Danny present
his "Traditional Celtic Music for Kids" program, please let
us know.

It is incomprehensible how many people are hurting from
this disastrous hurricane. I know Danny wants to thank you
for thinking of him during this extremely difficult time.

Thanks for your consideration . . .

Laurie and Dave
O'Flaherty Tours


Katrina's Wrath Pounds Gulf Coast

Irish rally in cane's wake

By Ray O'Hanlon and Susan Falvella-Garraty

The Irish community in New Orleans and along the Gulf coast
is counting the cost of Hurricane Katrina's devastating
strike, but Irish Americans around the U.S. will be coming
to their aid.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians is to establish an
emergency fund, proceeds of which will be made available
for general relief, or specific aid to AOH members and
their families in the worst affected areas.

"New Orleans is a major location for us. We have a large
division in the city and two more outside. There are
hundreds of members in the area," said AOH National
President Ned McGinley.

The French Quarter and Irish Channel area of downtown New
Orleans has a significant Irish business presence, mainly
restaurants and bars.

One bar owner, Jim Monaghan, described a scene of utter
devastation when contacted by the Echo shortly after
Katrina blew through.

Monaghan said that he felt very lucky.

The owner of the pub Molly's at the Market said that
Hurricane Katrina - responsible for a death toll in the
hundreds and possibly thousands - had caused complete
devastation for many in and around the city.

But, he added, his and many of the other bars and
restaurants in the French Quarter have been spared from the
worst flooding and destruction.

In a telephone interview from a second story office above
the pub, Monaghan said it would be days, or perhaps weeks,
before a true accounting of how many people were killed and
how many billions of dollars would be needed to repair
homes and businesses.

"There is just stunned silence on the streets and the only
word that really describes it is devastation," said

He and his wife Alana and their 26-year-old daughter,
Tierney, took to the office above the bar to avoid the
water below.

"There's some flooding here, but not like in other areas of
the city," Monaghan said.

His relatively sanguine assessment would be overtaken
within hours as flood waters rose in the city as a result
of breaks in the levee system.

Monaghan's father, also named Jim, was from Sligo and
started the bar that is known for attracting the Big Easy's
politicians and journalists. It is located around the
corner from the French Market.

According to Monaghan, the French Quarter has a slightly
higher geographic elevation that has helped its historic
buildings survive other devastating hurricanes such as
Camille and Betsy that battered the city in the 1960s.

"The French Quarter is the main tourist draw and they've
put in the best pump system to keep it going and that's why
our 200-year-old building is here," he said.

With high water and search and rescue operations by the
U.S. military and disaster teams spread out from New
Orleans into Louisiana and both neighboring Mississippi and
Alabama, Monaghan said there was not much that could be
done on the ground right now. He did not expect that he, or
many of the millions of residents in the flooded areas,
would have electricity for days or even weeks.

But Monaghan is not going to simply wait for relief. He
plans on dishing up some himself

"We've made it through after being in the center of a
hurricane, so now it's time to take care of our neighbors,"
he said.

This was not the moment to take advantage of customers who
may not be able to prepare their own meals, or obtain fresh

"So far, a lot of our food in the freezer is still frozen,
but as it thaws we'll cook it in the upstairs kitchen and
then we'll give it away," Monaghan said.

Giving it away was also on the mind of Ned McGinley.

From his home in Pennsylvania, McGinley spent the hours
after Katrina's strike against New Orleans checking on the
safety of members, most especially past AOH national
director Judge Jim McKay, who lives with his family in New

McGinley said that the McKay family had moved to a more
northerly location in Louisiana and were likely safe but
that their home in the city was close to where there had
been breaks in the city's levee system.

"They are safe but their home is probably inundated,"
McGinley said.

He added that by this weekend the Hibernian national board
would be putting together an aid plan and would begin
working to assess the needs of members in the stricken

"We raised a lot of money for the tsunami victims, but this
is personal," McGinley said.

"There's so much Irish history in New Orleans. We're having
our national convention there in 2008," he said.

Meanwhile, the Irish Embassy in Washington and the
consulate in Chicago, which has primary diplomatic
responsibility for New Orleans, are on standby in case any
Irish nationals in the affected areas need assistance.

No calls had been received at the Chicago consulate by

"But we are aware of a small number of Irish citizens in
the affected areas," said Consul General Charles Sheehan.

Sheehan said that the consulate was attempting to contact a
handful of people, slightly under a dozen. They were
moistly religious or J1 students, he said.

"We are heavily dependent on people back in Ireland letting
us know that there are individuals they want to contact,"
Sheehan said.

Sheehan said he was acutely aware that there was a great
many people in New Orleans and along the Gulf coast who
were of Irish descent.

The coastal area, he said, was historically one of the most
Irish parts of the South.

New Orleans is, indeed, one of the most Irish in the United

Census returns in 1850 revealed that one in five of the
city's population had been born in Ireland and during the
19th century New Orleans maintained its standing as the
second largest port of entry for Irish immigrants after New

The "Irish Channel" in the city's "second municipality" was
where many of the new arrivals initially concentrated and
was the location for the construction of St. Patrick's
Church on Camp Street.

The church dates to 1833 and is a national historical


Efforts To Contact Missing Irish In New Orleans Continue

03/09/2005 - 10:56:45

An unconfirmed number of Irish people are still missing in
New Orleans.

The Department of Foreign Affairs had been concerned about
ten individuals who could not be contacted after Hurricane
Katrina devastated the Louisiana city.

A spokesperson today said "one or two" are still
unaccounted for. Communications in the area have completely
broken down since the hurricane struck five days ago and
contacting the region has been proven difficult.

Aid has finally arrived in New Orleans. Military convoys
have brought food, water and medicine to thousands of
survivors who are still trapped there.

Surrounding hospitals are swamped with patients as they are
lifted from the stricken regions. One local senator is
estimating the death-toll could rise to 10,000.


Concern For Irish Caught In Hurricane Disaster Zone

02/09/2005 - 15:25:32

There are worries over the location of some Irish citizens
caught up in the disaster stricken US city New Orleans, a
Government minister said today.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern admitted there was
concern over the locations of some Irish people.

"We are hopeful that all of our people will be accounted
for, we have some worries about one or two which is
continuing," Mr Ahern said, amid reports law and order had
completely broken down in the city.

"By and large we have had some contact with our people and
what we have tried to do is reassure the parents at home
and to try and get our people to assist them out there.

"But the communications are very bad."

The Foreign Affairs Department has been contacted by around
40 families seeking information about relatives travelling
in the area and officials are still working to establish
the locations of around 10 Irish citizens.

Four days after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc in the
region, there are thousands of people desperate to get out
of the swamped city.

There have been reports of rapes, beatings and car-
jackings. Evacuation attempts were disrupted by gunfire and
armed looters are loose on the streets.

Jim Lally, whose son Conor was caught up in the chaotic
attempts to evacuate New Orleans, said he had been holed up
with thousands of others in horrendous conditions in the
city's Superdome theatre.

"There have seen sights which were indescribable to be
honest," Mr Lally said.

He added: "There have been rapes, there has been gang
warfare in the Superdome because they have all the
different street gangs in there.

"It is full of people off the street, people of the night,
homeless people and alcoholics so on like that, drug
addicts who are not getting their drugs and they are not
getting their alcohol. You can only just think of what they
could be getting up to you know."

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has announced the
arrival of 300 soldiers who recently returned from Iraq and
warned that they would "shoot and kill".

Mr Ahern said the Foreign Affairs Department has been in
contact with embassy officials in the US on an hourly basis
since the disaster struck.

"Three children of neighbours of mine were actually in the
Superdome from the minute it happened and they have only
just got out of it in recent times but thankfully, they are
now accounted for even though they were in very bad
circumstances in the Superdome," Mr Ahern told RTE Radio.

"They got a text out to the father of one of the children
the night before last just basically saying they were ok
but the situation in the Superdome was deplorable."

Mr Lally said his son and friends were evacuated to a hotel
from the Superdome by the army last night along with other
international people.

The concerned father said: "There was about 50 to 60 people
taken to this hotel. Not the sort of hotel that you and I
would probably want to book in to but never-the-less better
than the Superdome."

The 20-year-old Queen's University student was on a holiday
in New Orleans with friends after spending the summer
working on a J1 visa in Myrtle Beach in the US.

Mr Lally said his son was hoping to be taken by bus to
either Baton Rouge or Houston, where Irish consulate staff
and Irish organisations were waiting to help them.

After two phone calls from his son, Mr Lally said there was
a certain amount of relief.

He added: "We won't be relieved until we can actually
physically see him I suppose but there is a certain amount
of relief."

"We have got tremendous help I have to say from the Dept of
Foreign Affairs," Mr Lally said.

Mr Ahern said the Irish consulate in the US had set up an
office in Houston to aid those evacuated in the region.


Hurricane Katrina: Ulster Soccer Girls In Katrina Horror

By Linda McKee
03 September 2005

FIVE top female soccer players from Northern Ireland fled
to safety from Hurricane Katrina after they were trapped
for days without electricity in the United States.

All five of the female players attend the University of
Southern Mississippi and form the backbone of the
establishment's soccer team.

As Hurricane Katrina sped up the Gulf of Mexico towards the
southern US coast, the players prepared for the worst by
stocking up on food and water in Hattiesburg where they
live, which is around 50 miles from battered New Orleans.

But after the storm struck a huge area of the Gulf coast
and inland, supplies and electricity became scarce and on
Tuesday head coach Gail Macklin, from Glengormley, gathered
her crew and ferried them out of the danger zone, heading
north-west towards Jackson, Mississippi.

Gareth Turner, father of Kimberley Turner from
Ballyhackamore, said he spoke to his daughter on Sunday
just before she headed out to get food and water.

She took shelter in a friend's apartment in the town of
Hattiesburg on the day the hurricane hit.

He said: "She said she was petrified. They went through one
of the hurricanes last year but it was not as bad as this

"She said she never wants to go through that again, the
wind and the rain and things falling. It's all trees around
her, the power cables, all the wind and noise. The lights
went out, the power went off, so that scared her -- being
so far from her family too. Luckily her apartment wasn't

The players were moved out of the area after several days
of struggling to cope with temperatures of 90 degrees
outside and shortages of food, water and power, Mr Turner

"They just couldn't bear the heat. There was no fresh water
and no food - it was pretty rough for a couple of days."

Mr Turner said the family had no news of Kimberley until
Wednesday midnight because little information was coming
out of the area.

"We just never left the TV or the phone for two or three
days. We knew they got badly hit and there was not a word
about them, which was more frustrating," Mr Turner said.

"It's just now starting to hit us how serious it was," Mr
Turner added.

The family were due to visit Kimberley next week, but have
postponed their plans.

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