August 29th marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest and most costly natural disasters ever to hit the United States. Half a decade later, help is still needed in New Orleans (not to mention on the Gulf Coast as a whole, after the disastrous oil spill). Click on the gallery below to find out how stars like Brad Pitt, Faith Hill and Sandra Bullock are answering the call, and find out how you can help after the jump.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
1. Keep the music alive: U2 band member The Edge co-founded Music Rising in 2005 to rescue and protect the Gulf Region’s prized musical heritage; the organization has replaced many musical instruments lost or destroyed in the deluge. Be on the lookout this December, when memorabilia signed by rock star royalty will be auctioned off for the cause, or donate now. Your donation could help get a Gulf Coast musical heritage curriculum instituted at Tulane University.
2. Get some new tunes: A new benefit album, Dear New Orleans, with songs from OK Go and My Morning Jacket, dropped on August 24th and can be downloaded on iTunes now.
3. Roll up your sleeves: Visit the HandsOn Network to find out how you can volunteer your time to help with reconstruction.
4. Be proactive; donate now: In the midst of hurricane season, a donation to one of the storm-prone area’s disaster recovery charities could mean the difference between life and death. The Survivor Foundation, started by Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland in the wake of Katrina, helps such areas prepare and react to natural disaster.
5. Buy a tee, build a home: Purchase merchandise from Make It Right (we love the vintage look of the T-shirts) to help Pitt and his organization rebuild the 9th ward.
6. Help build a school: The Louisiana branch of the Children’s Defense Fund has been an integral part of helping displaced children and counts Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner as supporters. To help out Louisiana specifically, make out a check to Children’s Defense Fund-Louisiana and mail it to 1452 N. Broad St., New Orleans, La. 70119 to the attention of Mary Joseph.
7. Send a tweet: A great free way to keep the spotlight on the rebuild is to speak up via your social networks and contact your local government representatives. As a Louisiana Disaster Recover Foundation representative suggested to us, “Be an advocate.”