To the Pastor or Congregational Leaders / Neighborhood Association Leaders,


My name is Rick Weil, and I’m a Sociology Professor at LSU in Baton Rouge.  I’d like to offer your church or neighborhood association a survey of your members – their needs, and how you can help them return and rebuild.  The survey is conducted by the LSU Survey Lab.


I developed the survey for my own Jewish community; and the New Orleans & Baton Rouge Jewish Federations are doing it with our members.


There is no charge, because the development is finished, and the survey is on the web, ready to use.


It will cost you very little effort, because at a minimum, you only need to post an announcement in a newsletter or an email and ask your members to take the survey on the LSU Survey Lab website.


I’ll produce a report of the results for you that will help you in your recovery efforts.


We follow the strictest measures of privacy and confidentiality at LSU.  I certainly wanted to help and not harm my own community, and we’ll do the same for you.


I am offering this survey for two reasons.  First, I did it for my own community and want to make it available to others.  I chair my congregation’s hurricane relief committee – perhaps for similar reasons as you: I didn’t want to just stand by and not do something.  Secondly, I’m a professor, and we do research.  This is important research.


We’ve been offering the survey to other membership organizations, beginning with faith-based.  So far, a number of denominations and churches are doing it, as are neighborhood associations, service providers, and other nonprofits, in the multi-parish Greater New Orleans area.  Also, WWOZ will do it with displaced N.O. musicians.   


You can see more information about the survey on this web page,, under the title, “Reconstituting Community”.  You’ll see the questionnaire, a Q&A page for participants, sample announcements for your members, ideas for easy distribution, & other things.  (Another way to find this web page is to go to, and click on the link to “Post-Katrina” at the top of the page.)


I’d be very happy to have your church or neighborhood association participate; and I’ll be happy to work with you in using the results.  To me, it’s great to be able to put my research into the hands of people who can actually use it to help their members!


Please contact me with any questions, and I’ll be happy to tell you more. 


Best, Rick Weil


Frederick Weil
Department of Sociology
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803