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Southwest gets behind New Orleans

Southwest Airlines has made a cash donation of $20,000 to two New Orleans relief funds. “Southwest Airlines has been serving New Orleans for 27 years,” said Gary
Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Airlines.  “We are part of this
community, and we will continue to be a partner in the rebuilding of New
Orleans tourism.”
  The New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund was founded by
the Brennan family of the Commander’s Palace Family of Restaurants and
benefits professionals in the hospitality industry who are without jobs
following Hurricane Katrina.
  “This very generous donation will go a long way toward helping individuals
and families in the hospitality industry here in New Orleans,” said Ti Martin,
Chief Executive Officer of Commander’s Palace family of Restaurants.  “We
can’t wait to give the money to those who need it.”
  The Friends of the Times-Picayune Relief Fund provides direct support for
the employees of the New Orleans Times-Picayune who never missed a day of
publishing after Hurricane Katrina.  Southwest Airlines made the donation in
honor of the newspaper’s service and in an effort to support the paper’s
unwavering commitment to covering the challenges the city faces as it
continues to rebuild.
  Since Hurricane Katrina, Southwest Airlines has partnered with numerous
organizations to provide travel, raise funds, and bring awareness to the needs
of the New Orleans community.  The airline has supported Friends of the
Frontline, benefiting the police and firefighters of surrounding parishes;
partnered with the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to transport nearly 100
musical instruments to the city of New Orleans to replace local school
children’s instruments lost in Hurricane Katrina; provided complimentary
roundtrip airfare for holiday travel to students displaced by Hurricane
Katrina who enrolled at Maryland’s Morgan State University due to school
closures in the Gulf Region following the hurricane; partnered with Hibernia
Bank to rebuild the Birthplace of Jazz through “ReJazz New Orleans”—a non-
profit web-based campaign launched in mid-September to help restore the Big
Easy; donated to the Louisiana Technology Council benefiting small technology
companies; and sponsored the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, benefiting
area musicians.
  In the weeks immediately following Katrina, Southwest Airlines dedicated
an aircraft to the relief efforts, evacuating hundreds of New Orleans citizens
from the city and flying in relief workers from FEMA, the Red Cross, and other
assistance organizations.  Southwest worked with the Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) in an organized effort to transport security workers into
and out of New Orleans to keep the airport operational.  To date, Southwest
Airlines has donated 1,200 roundtrip tickets for the New Orleans police and
fire first-responders, 1,400 one-way tickets for evacuee transportation, and
63 roundtrip and 19 one-way tickets for relief worker transportation, totaling
more than $2 million in donated travel.  As of Sept. 30, Southwest Airlines
Employees had donated $39,960 to the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund,
and the airline matched the donation dollar-for-dollar.
  Southwest Airlines also established a “flight bank” in which Southwest
Airlines Customers could donate their Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program
electronic Awards to those displaced by Hurricane Katrina and in need of
transportation to reunite with family or relocate.  The donated Awards also
were used to assist those involved in the relief efforts.
  Southwest Airlines assisted its Employees through medical benefits,
temporary salary continuation, and housing allowances.  Additionally,
Southwest Airlines has provided more than 200 Employees with emergency
financial aid through Employee donations to the Southwest Airlines Employee
Catastrophic Assistance Charity.