Many of the large shade trees are gone. Wind and flying debris has damaged many of the permanent and semi-permanent structures including the lodge and the fort.
As time goes by and the waters recede, rebuilding will begin. Many precious things will need to be replaced. In our community it is even harder, since you can't go down to K-mart and buy a 15th century-style hand-painted scroll or a appliquéd banner of your personal arms. Many possessions will not be covered by insurance policies and couldn't be replaced if they were. For these reasons Yahoo groups SCA- Starting Over, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scastartingover and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCA-BackToNormal have been established.
SCA corporate has put on hiatus all memberships in the areas that do not have mail service. "We don't want members in the affected areas having their memberships count down during a time in which no publications will be delivered." Wrote Gabrielle Underwood, Director, SCA, Inc. After re-establishing a valid mail service address, each membership hiatus will end.
Mistress Gwennddolynn ni hAilleachain, Seneschal of the Kingdom of Meridies spoke for many when she posted, "I cannot convey how touched and grateful we are here in Meridies for the outpouring of help and concern--we are truly blessed to have such good friends in the SCA. You guys are, hands-down, what we are all striving to be---noble"
Science Fiction Fans
Science fiction authors and frequent convention speakers Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon have reached out to the fantasy, scifi, and role-playing games fans hit by Katrina by opening their home in Oklahoma. See http://www.gryphonking.com for more information.
Louisiana Renaissance Festival
The managers of the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, which is, located about 25 miles northwest of New Orleans, evacuated the faire site taking with them all of their computers and equipment before Katrina hit then waited for several anxious days to learn whether or not the faire survived. Some of their cast members lost homes, vehicles, and friends. Rick Hight, co-owner and general manager of LARF finally got to survey the damage. He said the only visible damage was to a backdrop on one stage and scattered debris. "The LA Ren Festival will open on schedule!"
Hight wrote in his e-newsletter, "Many of our volunteer cast are having problems due to Katrina. I know of at least five of our cast members that have houses in New Orleans and/or Slidell that have suffered major damage. The people that evacuated have to figure out how to pay for where they are staying and how to buy food. Several of them are out of work for the duration and some of them are trying to figure out how to survive without their last paycheck, which is 'in the mail' for the duration." Chad LaComb, President of the Renaissance Living History Center at the LA Ren Festival, expressed concern for the bulk of the cast members who reside in New Orleans and Southern Mississippi. The RLHC is a non-profit organization that puts on the School Days at the LA Ren Festival that has stepped up to provide aid to their community by establishing a relief fund. "The fund is intended to help these people replace some of the things that they lost, like clothing, toiletries, temporary housing expenses etc. and provide general assistance until insurance funds become available. With the cost of hotel rooms, food, etc., we know that most of our friends and family, whose jobs were also destroyed by the hurricane are going to quickly exhaust any available savings and we want to be able to provide, at least on a temporary, whatever financial assistance that we can until their disaster insurance kicks in." You can make donations at http://www.larf.org.
The fair dodged the bullet but they have had to reduce the number of School Days to just Dec 6th and 7th, since many of the schools that they serve have been dramatically affected. A teacher's workshop ws planned for September 10th and 11th has been postponed to the end of October since the site is now filled with evacuees.
Hight is also concerned with festival related mail delivery, "It looks like it will be another few weeks before the mail service will be available. I have been unable to get merchant packets sent out via the mail." Since it appears that mail service will not be restored quickly, he plans to hold the packets including the contracts at the gate for merchants. Phone service has been difficult since the phone lines in Louisiana have been overloaded. Hight set up several additional phone numbers that are routed to the festival office via the internet. "I am hoping to get a chance to talk to every merchant some time in the next couple of weeks so that I can let them know about how we will process folks when they arrive."
Here are the numbers for those calling from within Louisiana.
- 985-429-9992 (Hammond LA)