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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

The Picayune Has Friends, Indeed

10/10/07

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The Friends of the Times-Picayune fund-raiser last night at the Time-Life Building on Avenue of the Americas was quite a success—and a taste of home, with dee-licious hors d’oeuvres and music by Henry Butler (classic in his purple suit) and Davell Crawford. Mr. John Huey of Time Inc. welcomed everyone and pledged that Time will keep the spotlight on New Orleans and vicinity. (See Aug. 13 cover story below, “A Timely Special Report,” featuring Michael Grunwald’s “The Threatening Storm”) Other underwriters were Environmental Defense, the National Basketball Association, the National Press Foundation, Citi, and Goldman, Sachs. With the colorful neon lights of Radio City Music Hall shining just across the street, Henry Butler played some fine piano as a projector showed slides of the flooded homes of T-P staffers and the office’s temporary relocation in Baton Rouge. (Mark Schleifstein’s home in Lakeview, for example, took in 12 feet of water.)

Organizers Susan Feeney, Bridget O’Brian, Wendi Schneider, and Nan Powers Varoga were all Times-Picayune staffers in the 1980s, and after the storm they committed themselves to organizing financial support for the families of their beloved former colleagues. Representing The Times-Picayune were features editor James O’Byrne, author and Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Mark Schleifstein, and columnist Chris Rose, who signed copies of 1 Dead in Attic (proceeds went to the Friends fund, courtesy of Simon & Schuster). Among those attending the event were New York Times editor Richard Berke, The Wall Street Journal’s Alex Martin (a Bywater native), and other media heavies. A certain discreet “star allure” was lent to the evening by the lovely Karenna Gore Schiff (above), eldest daughter of the former vice president and author of Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America.

Again, we encourage our readers to contribute to the relief effort at Friends of the Times- Picayune. Please also see the list of Relief and Recovery Organizations on our How to Help page.

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