Hurricane Ida Update

September 27, 2021  •  6 minute read

Dear friends,

Thank you to everyone who reached out to us after Hurricane Ida, which made landfall on August 29, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. NPN staff continue to tend to the needs of our families, our neighbors, and our communities, and we ask that you be patient with us as we balance these many priorities.

One of the incredible strengths of New Orleans and our surrounding communities is the culture of mutual aid, rooted particularly in communities of color. From large-scale organizing to neighbor-to-neighbor support, mutual aid efforts provide direct services in times of need, especially when formal systems fail. Local mutual aid groups have been essential throughout the pandemic, and they responded to Hurricane Ida even before the storm made landfall; weeks later, they continue to provide critical services in the Bayou & River Parishes that were devastated by Ida, home to many Indigenous communities, fishing communities, Cajun communities, and culture-bearers of South Louisiana.

NPN’s Local Program arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in response to the community’s enormous need for stabilization, recovery, and renewal. These last few weeks have reaffirmed what it is to be in and of New Orleans and why NPN’s local work stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our national work. As a national organization, we believe being reflective of and responsive to our local community is essential to our commitment to social justice, and we strive to live out our values within this local landscape with humility and generosity.

In the 16 years since Katrina, our work in emergency preparedness and response has expanded regionally and nationally, led by NPN’s Director of Local Programs Stephanie Atkins. Through partnerships with the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER), Performing Arts Readiness, and other allies, NPN works to ensure that artists and arts organizations have the tools and resources to thrive, not just survive, after an emergency. But the last 18 months have redefined “emergency” as a chronic state, rather than a temporary one, and we ask ourselves, “What does it mean to practice justice work in a constant state of disruption?” All national work is ultimately local work based in communities, and we continue to align with the principles of mutual aid wherein those closest to the crises are the architects of the solutions and affirm that the emergencies of the pandemic and natural disasters are systemic failures. We encourage you to connect to on-the-ground efforts supporting the community in the wake of Ida, and we have compiled resources that have mobilized to assist Louisiana’s artists and culture bearers below.

As we transition from triage work to transformative, sustained systems change, we know the answers lie in our collective wellbeing and working to build a more just and healthy future through connection, communalism, urgency, and joy.

From New Orleans with love,

Caitlin and all of us at NPN

Learn more about Ida and its impacts

“A Storm Like No Other”: Monique Verdin on Democracy Now!
Creation Fund artist, citizen of the United Houma Nation, and organizer for grassroots collaborative Another Gulf is Possible Monique Verdin was interviewed on Democracy Now! the morning after Hurricane Ida made landfall. She highlights the impact of the storm on the bayou communities to the west of New Orleans, home to many of Louisiana’s tribal communities, and addresses the compounding factors of land loss in South Louisiana and the pandemic, which have amplified the storm’s impact. Another Gulf’s Just Ida Recovery mutual aid resource page is available here.

Hurricane Ida Artist Resources

Antenna to reopen Creative Response Relief Fund
On October 1, Antenna will reactivate the Creative Response Collaborative Relief Fund supporting artists, performers, writers, culture bearers, filmmakers, and related creators impacted by Hurricane Ida. Working in collaboration with NPN Partners Junebug Productions and Ashé Cultural Arts Center, as well as other local and national organizations, the Creative Response Collaborative Relief Fund provided direct support to 805 artists and creators during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Antenna has also released a list of post-Ida resources and organizations providing support to the region.

MaCCNO Low-Barrier Ida Relief Grants
The Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans (MaCCNO) has opened applications for their Ida mini-relief grant for cultural workers/practitioners in Orleans Parish. These low-barrier grants in the amount of $250, give priority to those 70+ and individuals who have had difficulty accessing other forms of financial aid, but any cultural worker/practitioner who works or practices in Orleans Parish can apply. Apply or learn more.

Eternal Seeds “We Got Us” Emergency Fund
The Eternal Seeds “We Got Us” emergency fund is providing one-time nonrestrictive grants to BIPOC artists and culture bearers ages 18+ based in New Orleans and surrounding areas impacted by Hurricane Ida.

Musicares Hurricane Ida relief gift cards
MusiCares is providing $500 gift cards for necessities like food, gas, and prescription medications for music community members who have been impacted by the storm. Additional needs will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Although MusiCares assistance is typically only available to professionals with at least five years of work in the music industry, exceptions will be made based on need. Apply by October 10!

Feed the Second Line
Feed the Second Line is providing jobs for musicians and culture bearers to bring supplies to neighbors down the bayou, as well as providing groceries, roof repair, and tarping to local culture bearers.

Funky Uncle relief
Funky Uncle is providing support directly to New Orleans musicians and artists. Apply for relief through their website.

Louisiana Performers Fund
The Louisiana Performers Fund is a grassroots effort to aid performers affected by Hurricane Ida, distributing funds to cover evacuation costs, lost wages, moving costs, home damages, and medical costs. Apply here or learn more.

CERF+ Emergency Grants and Resources for Craft Artists
CERF+ offers emergency relief grants to materials-based craft and folk/traditional artists who have incurred significant medical expenses related to treatment and recovery from COVID-19 and/or experienced a recent, career threatening emergency, such as an illness, accident, fire, or natural disaster.

Bayou Regional Arts Council resource list
The Bayou Regional Arts Council—which serves Terrebonne, Lafourche, Assumption, St. James, St. John and St. Charles Parishes—has compiled a list of resources for those impacted by the effects of Hurricane Ida on both a regional and statewide scope.

Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants
The Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants program provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 for recent, unexpected medical, dental, and mental health emergencies experienced by artists in need who are practicing in the disciplines of visual arts, film/video/electronic/digital arts, or choreography. This program is supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). The current cycle is open now through October 4 for emergencies occurring January 1, 2021 and later.

The F*ck Ida Show
The F*ck Ida Show, a rapid-response virtual cabaret marathon to benefit performers impacted by Hurricane Ida hosted by NPN-supported artist Evan Spigelman/Mx. Asa Metric, took place on Monday, September 20. The show will be released online—stay tuned on their Instagram account for updates. All proceeds go to Louisiana performers who have lost income due to Hurricane Ida.

No Dream Deferred
We are grateful to NPN–fiscally sponsored project No Dream Deferred NOLA for their rapid-response mutual aid fund that supported 20 individuals in the New Orleans arts community just days after Hurricane Ida.

Arts Council New Orleans relief fund
Arts Council New Orleans has established a fund to provide financial relief to artists and culture bearers based in Orleans, Jefferson, and Plaquemines Parishes. They are currently accepting donations and the grant application will be opened and announced at a later date.

Foundation for Louisiana
Foundation for Louisiana, a Black-led, social justice philanthropy founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, has created a relief fund prioritizing Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ–led projects. Their short term strategy is to center the coastal parishes (LaFourche, Plaquemines, Terrebonne), river parishes (St. John the Baptist, St. James, St. Charles, Ascension), and the greater New Orleans area. So far, they have granted $40,000 to local, Black-led organizations who have been providing direct aid to south Louisianans in need.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts emergency grants
The Foundation for Contemporary Arts’s emergency grants provide urgent funding for visual and performing artists who:

  • Have sudden, unanticipated opportunities to present their work to the public when there is insufficient time to seek other sources of funding
  • Incur unexpected or unbudgeted expenses for projects close to completion with committed exhibition or performance dates

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Resources for cultural institutions

BCBSLA Community Crisis & Disaster Response Grants
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation Community Crisis & Disaster Response grants help nonprofits and other community partners address immediate community needs after a disaster or crisis. The funds may be used for specific programs or as general operating support to continue supporting vulnerable communities after a disaster. As of Sept. 2, 2021, the Blue Cross Foundation has allocated funding under this grant program to respond to the impacts of Hurricanes Ida, Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, other recent natural disasters, and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the state of Louisiana.

NCAPER’s Arts Field Guide to Federal Disaster Relief
The National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response has released An Arts Field Guide to Federal Disaster Relief, for Arts Organizations and Businesses, Artists and Cultural Workers, which demystifies federal disaster relief for the arts and culture sector by helping artists and arts organizations see what is available, understand clearly what is not available, and decide if pursuing federal aid is a good use of time.

Disaster Impact Reports
The Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF) and its member organizations are gathering reports of damage to arts and cultural organizations following Ida, and Nicholas, and the California wildfires. According to HENTF Coordinator Lori Foley, “None of us, alone, can make much of a difference. But together, we can all help protect our threatened arts and cultural heritage as the Atlantic hurricane season shows no sign of abatement and the California wildfires continue to rage. We can’t provide assistance to cultural institutions and arts organizations if we don’t know who to reach out to.” If you experienced, or know of, damage to organizations or artists in LA, MS, AL, NY, NJ, PA, MD, DE, and CA, please share any reports of damage with HENTF.