Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Refugee Report #3- What Lasciate Did and What You Can Do

It was a first for us both. An in-person blogger meeting. Lasciate came bearing a folder packed with vital information on applying for FEMA assistance. I began perusing it today and it addresses so many of my questions and has so much of importance in it, that I cannot thank him enough! He also treated us to dinner at a restaurtant with *real food* instead of the Disney crap we've been forced to eat as captive serfs in the Magic Kingdom.

The real magic is the dissappearing act my money is experiencing on a daily basis. Who knew it could go so fast on what seems like nothing. The room isn’t terribly expensive. My total cost per night with the AAA discount is $68. And in Disney’s overwhelming gesture of generosity, they will give us refugees the “resident’s discount,” which drops the cost to $65 per night for us. Whooohoooo! We get to save $3 per night. So generous of them. Bastards. Anyway, the room is the smallest expense, but it does add up. However, it’s the food that’s killing us. All we can afford is the wretched fast food, and this is the home of the $6 hot dog. Because we’re captive, we end up spending $100 per day on food. We are so thankful to Lasciate for also taking us to Walmart for some non-perishables to keep in the room. This helps keep us from doing the Disney Dining drain for at least one meal per day.

OK- Here are some things that would be helpful to me right now:

1. I have the limited usage AOL that I keep for circumstances when I need to log on for e-mail in travel situations where unlimited broadband is unavailable. I’m already well over my allotted usage and, given the uncertainty ahead, can’t afford to incur the mounting per-minute charges. So, if anyone has or knows anyone with an unlimited AOL account that would be willing to add me on as a user, it would be a huge help. It wouldn’t cost them anything to do it, but it would help me a lot. I have to dial up from here (with a hotel charge) and am thankful I have AOL on my laptop, but I would be so appreciative to avoid the hefty per-minute charges on my plan. I won't be able to change to an unlimited plan until September 9th.

2. Omitted because it was just too embarrassing. I was wishful-thinking out loud, folks. Sorry.

3. Finally, I’d love it if people would contact the higher-ups at Disney and tell them to cut us a break! Let the people who have suffered severe loss and who have no place to go, stay for free in any resort where there is room. Be nice and compassionate and comp our stays, give us free meal plans and park tickets. Don’t charge us for phone calls or internet access. Every dollar we spend today is one less we have available for the hardships to come. I couldn’t really afford this as a vacation. My family –mom and siblings and their kids -wanted to come here as a family earlier this year and I had to decline because of the cost. But I relented despite the cost on this occasion because I thought it would be better for my kids psychologically, as I explained in an earlier post. I did this, despite the fact that it would cost 2/3 of what I would earn from UNO this semester. (Which I will not earn now.)

So find out who is in charge here at Disney World and contact them. I’ve met other New Orleanians who came here just like me- to get away from the storm – and who have nowhere to go now and need time to figure things out. If you can get them to act, let them know who we are. If you don’t know already, my last name is Palumbo and we’re staying in the cheapo Disney Pop Century Resort. If you can’t get Disney, contact the Orlando news channels. I think it’s absolutely disgraceful for Disney to show so little compassion. I was actually reduced to tears at the concierge desk when they told me all they’d do was give us that whopping $3 discount. They are raking in the tourist dollars by the truckload and this is all they’ll do for us? OK. Fine. We’ll finish our stay and check out, bereft of thousands of dollars and then we’ll set up a tent city outside the gate while we figure out what to do next and wait for FEMA to get to our application out of the 2 million or so they will have to process. I may have some options, but who knows what the others have? This is Disney’s chance to show that they have a heart that pumps something other than cash through their corporate veins. Please go forth and make some noise.

4. My last post was more about my feeling and I will have to reconstruct it at some point. Needless to say, being here makes things much easier, but it's hard to get away from all the questions about what comes next. I can ponder this in luxury compared to the poor souls in New Orleans. I don't know what you can do for them other than pray, if you believe in it, but if there is anything else that makes itself evident, please, please do it. These people are suffering so terribly and my heart aches for them. It's an incredibly difficult situation.

Thanks again for all your love and support.


Blogger LisaPal said...

If anyone had the AOL access, please e-mail the log-in and password to the address on my blogger profile or to lisa at audiblevision dot com. Thanks again.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Lasciate said...

It was my pleasure, Lisa. And for the record, you really do have couple of awesome kids.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Lasciate said...

Additional info:

Local 6 is probably the most likely network to say/do something:

Also, the major paper here is the Orlando Sentinel.

Walt Disney seems to have all their email addy's as forms, so you can't CC: it to other people like I wanted to. Nevertheless, you can still contact them and mention any other emails you sent out.

Finally, this is probably a good article to point to:

2:57 PM  
Blogger compelled1 said...

Hi Lisa.

My mother and step-father (just them living there) have an enormous house in southern Illinois that you are more than welcome to stay at for as long or as little as you want. It is a 9 hour drive from New Orleans, straight up I-55, and I bet that they might be willing to help with transportation if needed. My family is kind, and would be more than happy to help. There are two chihuahuas and two cats, and the chihuahuas are annoying. Chester is a very small town, and everyone does tend to get into everyone else's business, but it wasn't all that bad a place to grow up. Now that I have given an honest description of the offer, just say the word, and it's done.

4:21 PM  
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