Early July, with Dennis building in the Gulf, I drove west from Pensacola en route to the Big Easy. Still beautiful, Mobile rose across the bay, far grander than I remembered. Mississippi seemed like a new world, revived by the wealth of gaming and entertainment.

Then came New Orleans. We ate in the French Quarter. We heard jazz while walking down Bourbon Street. It had been 18 years, but the place danced far more magically than memories could paint. We would be back.

And then August brought Katrina.

New Orleans and the Gulf Coast will be back, and performers and stage hands will help lead the way. Right now it's benefit concerts. Soon, along with rebuilding oil rigs, sea ports, railroads, highways, offices, shops and homes, it will be time for clubs, auditoria, and arenas. Right now Gulf Coast stagehands and performers reach out for help. Soon they will shine their spotlight on the radiance of human spirit.

Our industry did its part after 9/11. Our industry will do its part after Katrina. As companies and individuals, we give generously to the relief organizations. Across the country we are the ones who transform arenas and convention centers into hospitals and small cities. We staff the fundraisers.

Soon we will clean and rebuild the theatres, universities, casinos, and all those assembly places where fellow citizens come for rest and inspiration. True to our spirit we will not leave those who suffered to rebuild alone. Help will come from Hollywood, Vegas, Chicago, Orlando, and Broadway. Help will come from the giant rental houses, from the mom & pop shops. The system integrators, installers, and designers will help. The riggers will be there, right beside the consultants and equipment manufacturers. The entertainment industry is already helping the recovery. Time comes, we'll help our own.

Then we'll be welcome to visit the inspiration of Mobile Bay. We'll bathe in the sunrise over Biloxi. We can walk down Bourbon Street, after a Superdome concert, during conference week at the Convention Center. We'll be proud to come back because we helped our brothers and sisters survive, plant new roots and grow along the Gulf Coast.

We'll all be back.
Jack Gallagher
Product Sales Manager,
Strong Entertainment Lighting

To donate, check out these Katrina relief charities:

The IATSE “Hurricane Katrina Fund”: www.iatse-intl.org.
Mail: Walsh/DiTolla/Spivak Foundation, c/o I.A.T.S.E., 1430 Broadway, 20th Floor, New York, NY, 10018

The Preservation Hall Musicians Fund: www.preservationhall.com/2.0/donate.php. Mail: New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund, PO Box 9081, Miramar Beach, FL 32550

SETC Theatrical Equipment Drive: www.setc.org/resources/katrina.asp. Phone: 336-272-3645

Help the USO at www.uso.org. Mail: USO World Headquarters, Department WS, PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20090-6860