While Katrina has gone on and New Orleans managed to dodge the 200mph Armageddon wind bullet, it's still in a world of hurt. Other areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Gulf Coast were hit hard, and they're quickly already moving on into relief and clean-up phase as the waters recede. Volunteers and money and supplies will be sorely needed everywhere, and greatly appreciated.
The waters are NOT going down in New Orleans. At least two of the levees on Lake Pontchartrain have breached, and water in the city continues to rise. Some of the lowest spots are twenty feet deep. The city pumps are working, but as they send their output back into the lake that doesn't help much. There is surface flooding in all the parts that are actually below sea level, which is about 80% of the city. Both airports are under water. Rescue efforts are ongoing. The death toll will likely be in the hundreds. Much of the city will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps even months.
Juliette of Baldilocks Blog has a list of relief agencies that are on the job, courtesy of SignOnSanDiego. Cash is the biggest immediate need. As usual, if you want to be sure your donations go to a legitimate and focused effort, the American Red Cross is tops.
The call for volunteers with needed skills will also go out soon. Do not head to the area on your own to volunteer--go only with relief agency credentials. But even if you have zero or minimal experience you can also help by volunteering in your community, to fill in locally for those with training and experience who are going to the affected area. Check with your local community services agencies, and your local Red Cross.
UPDATE: The New Orleans Times-Picayune continues to publish! Electronic only, but their ongoing coverage is here.
UPDATE: The Superdome refugees are going to be moved to the Houston Astrodome.