New Orleans, New Talavan Update

BY: SUN STAFF

New Talavan Building

Sep 1, USA (SUN) News from the New Orleans and New Talavan yatra is slowly becoming available, from various sources. Thanks to their satellite Internet connection, the devotees at New Talavan have been able to provide regular updates on the wellbeing of the devotees there. At this time, news of the New Orleans devotees is coming primarily through GBC members.

From New Talavan, we hear the following:

    "Thank you for all your concern and help. We are overwhelmed and cannot always answer your emails. But that doesn't mean we don't care; we just have a lot of pressing concerns right now to manage our community. Tomorrow Ramakeli Prabhu is going to Jackson to arrange for supplies for the devotees. We are getting some help from Food For Life also. So by Krsna's grace everything is working out.

    Everyone on the farm is safe and unhurt. Please don't worry. We just heard that Mohanasini and Mahendranath are OK, and the boat is safe. They are in Memphis. So by Krsna's mercy, everything is turning out well for the devotees. For many others the news is not so good. "

    People who are not here cannot properly appreciate the scale of this disaster. It is the biggest in the US since the 1906 SF earthquake-maybe bigger. The final death toll may be 50,000 or more. The Gulf Coast community is completely shattered. People in Picayune are having gunfights over water and gasoline. Heavily armed gangs are looting everything in sight in New Orleans, and FEMA has halted evacuations until the National Guard can restore order-they don't want to jeopardize their men.

The latest pictures and video of the New Talavana farm can be found on their website at:
http://www.newtalavana.org/albums/hurricane/index.htm

http://www.newtalavana.org/hurricane2.wmv
(Video file may take some time to load)

New Talavan Temple Building Hit by Katrina

Not surprisingly, there is little word from the New Orleans temple devotees, who are positioned amidst some of the worst flooding damage in the city. The following reports indicate the severity of the situation there:

    From Bir Krishna:

    On Monday evening (after the hurricane passed) the New Orleans devotees reported that there was no wind damage at the New Orleans temple and residential building although all the trees in the area were down. There was no electricity or phone service. The devotees were all safe and the Deities were being served nicely.

    However the next day two of the levees in the city broke and the city began to fill up with water. Most of the city of New Orleans is below sea level and at this time 80 percent of the city is under water. We have not heard from the devotees in New Orleans since the break in the levees. We are praying for their safety. The Mayor has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the entire city. It is most likely that the water has risen to at least 10 feet around the temple which means that the temple room and kitchen are under water and sustaining extensive damage.


    From Badrinarayan dasa:

    Hare Krishna. I have spoken with Bir Krishna Maharaja, the GBC for our temple in New Orleans, and he reports that the situation is deteriorating in the city. The devotees are still safe but now it looks like the city will be flooded and without services for weeks or longer. Given that they cannot hold out that long, the devotees need to be evacuated now. They are already under great hardship and have sent out the message to the devotee community to please send out this signal.

    New Orleans Temple before the Hurricane

    We need you to please call the governor of Louisiana’s office at 866-366-1121 and let them know that there are people at 2936 Esplanade that want and need to be evacuated. You may well get an answering machine. Go ahead and let them know that there is a church / temple with about 25 people in need of evacuation urgently. It will only take a few minutes and will help get the devotees out of there as soon as possible. On behalf of the New Orleans prabhus, thank you.

Contact has now been made with the authorities on behalf of both the New Orleans temple devotees and the New Talavan community. Both the Red Cross and FEMA officials have been advised in detail of the circumstances at New Talavan. The New Orleans search and rescue staff have been given the address and details about the residents of the Esplanade Avenue temple, and we can only hope immediate action will be taken to locate and evacuate the devotees and Deities.



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