A lot of people are looking for ways to help in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and I would like to personally encourage anyone who is motivated to donate their time, energy, and money to do so in whatever way seems most appropriate. Aside from other relief efforts, I would like to personally help the people involved in the underground press and activist communities of New Orleans.
After hearing about the cancellation of the NOLA Bookfair, I contacted Kyle Bravo, one of the organizers about helping to get the Bookfair and Hot Iron Press back on their feet. It is almost certain that their house/studio and all of their equipment presses, type, paper, tools, all of their artwork, and everything else they owned were submerged underwater. In addition, all of the distro stuff artists' books, zines, etc were also all left behind and are most likely destroyed as well. This is a crippling blow to a small independent press and it seems like they will be out of operation for quite some time, if not for good. This is what so many artists are facing in the community.
As a fellow small press, and the organizer for the Boston Zine Fair, I would like to help fundraise for the people who help keep the spirit of activism and art alive. I told Kyle that I am extraordinarily grateful for all the work they've done as a fiercely independent press, distro, and for their amazing efforts to make the NOLA Bookfair what it was. Even if they never end up reestablishing what they had, I would like to offer my thanks in the form of donations for all that they've given the indie/DIY/zine community. Kyle informed me that they will be setting up a fund to help even more of the area's organizations like Iron Rail book collective, the New Orleans Anarchists, Nowe Miasto, the Neighborhood Story Project, New Mouth From the Dirty South, and the Plan B Bike Collective.
In order to contribute to their upcoming fund, I have arranged to have any money sent via paypal to: email@example.com with the subject "nola" to be forwarded to Kyle in a few lump sums. I would like to kick off the effort with $20 of my own money, and Black Ocean will match every $10 of donations with $1 of our own. If you would prefer to send something directly to Kyle, I would encourage you to do so as well.
I know there are a lot of people in need, and I am not suggesting this is the only solution. In addition to whatever else you feel compelled to do to alleviate people's suffering, I would simply like to urge you to take a moment and maybe give back to some people who have given so much to keep the independent spirit alive in publishing, art, and their communities at large. I am grateful for what they've done, and hope that we will see more of them soon in the future.
To learn more about Kyle Bravo and Jenny LeBlanc's work, you can visit the websites:
If you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions please don't hesitate to contact me as well at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time.
Janaka Stucky, Director