Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina takes out the Superdome

After getting mauled by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans' Superdome, the last refuge for more than 20,000 residents, now needs to be evacuated because of the unchecked flooding in the city (see "Governor: Everyone must leave New Orleans."). Check out this aerial view of the Superdome roof damage courtesy The Seattle Times and Getty Images.

While officials with the NFL and the New Orleans Saints fret about whether or not the damage will affect the teams' regular season home-opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 18, I can't help but think about the thousands of high school and college fields that may have been ruined by the hurricane. There's no way to quantify the value of safe and playable athletic fields to kids, parents, schools and communities. For one thing, kids who are playing in organized sports are not getting in trouble.

Right now, the federal and state emergency authorities are battling to take care of the people who are stranded in the emergency. So there's not much the rest of us can do except pray for the safety of the emergency workers and the residents.

But perhaps those of us who have dodged the natural disaster bullet this time can take thought now for what we might be able to offer after the emergency is over.

Do you belong to a state or regional landscaping or sports turf association that might organize a volunteer work day to help restore athletic fields? Can your company donate products or services to such an effort? If you hear of a project like this in the coming months, be sure and contact us so we can give it coverage in our e-mail newsletters, LM Week in Review and Athletic Turf News.

—Lynne Brakeman

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