In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, political leaders and hundreds
of organizations as well as individuals are stepping in to care for the
victims in Louisiana and Mississippi. More than $11 million has been
donated at the American Red
Cross site on Amazon.com.
The direct hit on New Orleans caused
significant damage at Tulane University and the University of New Orleans.
UNO administration is operating from Baton Rouge, and Tulane
administration is working from Houston. Students are being accommodated at other
universities in the state and throughout the United States. In a letter posted at the
University of New Orleans Web site, Chancellor Tim Ryan states, "The spirit
that made UNO and New Orleans such great places lives within each of us.
That spirit not only has survived, it makes us stronger." Another page
on the UNO site gives contact information for the UNO Recovery Fund.
English Language Program (IELP) at UNO administers the Web site for Louisiana
TESOL, which is temporarily offline since the storm hit. ESL
MiniConference contacted Louisiana TESOL Treasurer and Web
page Administrator Elizabeth Anderson, of IELP, who reported that
intensive English classes are expected to be back in session in
January, and that the LaTESOL Web pages will get back to normal once
UNO officials are able to retrieve servers, which were knocked out by the storm.
Louisiana TESOL is an affiliate of Southeast
Region TESOL, along with Alabama-Mississippi TESOL (AMTESOL), Sunshine State
TESOL (SSTESOL), Kentucky TESOL (KYTESOL), North and South Carolina TESOL (Carolina TESOL), Tennessee TESOL (TNTESOL), Arkansas TESOL (ARKTESOL), and
Georgia TESOL (GATESOL).
of all these affiliates have been looking forward to the upcoming Southeast
Regional TESOL Conference, September 22-23, at Myrtle Beach. But,
according to recent exchanges on the CARTESOL listserv, the North Carolina
contingent faces obstacles in trying to arrive for the event, thanks to a
directive from North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, freezing all state
spending on "non-essential travel" after Hurricane Katrina
incapacitated two major pipelines responsible for supplying 90 percent of the
state's gasoline. According to information on the CARTESOL listserv, the
moratorium was originally set to expire on September 15th, but might be
extended as a more permanent cost-saving measure.
Regional TESOL Conference Committee and dozens of volunteers working behind
the scenes have put their hearts and minds into organizing and planning
this gathering for fellow ESL teachers across more than half a dozen
states, including keynotes by Dave Sperling and James Asher, and many
other important sessions. Hundreds of ESL professionals have already
registered for the conference and made hotel and travel reservations.
situation brings to mind the days leading up to the 2001 New York State
TESOL Conference, scheduled to be held just five weeks following the
attacks of September 11th. I worked on the program book and name badges
that year, and remember the tough discussions held on the NYSTESOL board
and conference committee, and Conference Chair Jee Wha Kim's
determination to carry on with the event. As it turned out, that October meeting in
Rye, New York, was exactly what the 600 participants needed, as we
shared ideas and bolstered each other's spirits in the somber aftermath of
the World Trade Center attacks.
I strongly encourage colleagues in
the southeast, from Florida to North Carolina and further west, to stick
with their original plans for getting together at Myrtle Beach later
this month. Some of the topics and issues naturally will shift to
accommodate a necessary and important focus on post-Katrina rebuilding. Maybe
there could even be a good-will offering at the Southeast Regional
TESOL Conference, to support the work of the Louisiana and Mississippi
affiliates, raising awareness to the needs of immigrant and international
scholar victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The ESL MiniConference salutes
the southeast affiliates, and sends our hopes that this year's gathering
in Myrtle Beach will be successful and rewarding in ways that the
participants otherwise never might have imagined.
Article by Robb Scott
2005 ESL MiniConference Online