Due to the rapidly changing nature of news and events related to Hurricane Katrina and Houston, here's an open thread post. We will be adding updates as we run across them, and we are encouraging our commenters to add to it in the forum.
We are interested in local venues, attractions and entertainment that are offering free or discounted admission to stranded refugees, and also ways to help Houston-area refugees and relief agencies.
We'll start it off with a link to this KTRK-13 story that lists many entertainment options for displaced residents from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. For example, Thursday's UH game versus Oregon will be free at Reliant Stadium for stranded hurricane victims.
Also, KPRC-2 has more information on two new shelters that have opened.
KEVIN WHITED ADDS: If you own a business or know of other local businesses and/or organizations offering a helping hand to Katrina refugees who have now become members of our community, please feel free to leave that information in the forum or (if you don't want to register), drop us an email: bloggers @ bloghouston.net
We'll update the thread periodically, and perhaps make it sticky at some point. Let's show our hospitality and generosity, Houston.
UPDATE (12:26 p.m.): Judge Eckels and Mayor White are giving a press conference now. They said they are being inundated with people asking how to donate. Judge Eckels said the best way to help is to donate to the Red Cross or the United Way.
A Red Cross official says the Dome is being organized to accommodate the diverse needs of the people arriving. Cots have been ordered; a triage will be set up to assess the medical condition of the refugees; a nursery area will be set up and a mental health area will be set up. He says the Dome is being prepared more as a place for long-term temporary living, as opposed to a shelter.
Mayor White says the Medical Center will play a big role in helping with medical needs, and in helping with the psychological needs of the SuperDome refugees, many of whom have been traumatized.
UPDATE 2: In the forum, Laurence Simon notes an important announcement, for Houston-area residents to help prepare the Astrodome.
ANNE ADDS (9-1-2005): Regular readers know that I live in far North Harris County and up here Spring Tabernacle has opened its doors as a Red Cross Shelter. It is located on FM 2920, between Falvel Rd. and I-45. The fine folks there are seeking volunteers. Also, our local Wal-Mart and Chili's, both located at FM 2920 and Kuykendahl are helping with volunteers, supplies, food and donations.