I could roll out some old quote from Alexis de'Tocqueville about how Americans are courteous, generous and caring, but why bother. What is happening in New Orleans should transcend any appeal to your nationalistic sentiments or your sense of American duty. I'll simply provide you with this article from the NY Times.
As people run short of food, shelter and clothing, lawlessness prevails. If a city stands as the paramount achievement of mankind, flaunting the power of civilized ambition to secure for mankind peace, prosperity and plenty, the destruction of a city and its people by any means is the height of barbarism. To lay all blame on the power of nature is allowing ourselves too much freedom from responsibility. The prevailing lawless and want leaves me wondering which is more depraved: the man looting his ravaged city as people starve around him, or the man that stands idly by permitting it to happen. The barbarous man who pillages, or the barbarous man who refuses to protect or provide out of his own gluttonous laziness.
Reading this from the comfort of your home or office, I encourage you to scroll down to Daingerous' post. Civilization is bound by the weak sinews of law, charity and responsibility. The first was dashed by the storm, but the latter lie squarely with you. In the name of common humanity, the name of justice and peace, the name of the ruined City of New Orleans, give because it is right.