Letters: Marshall Field's, Katrina Response

Hosts Michele Norris and Melissa Block read from listener letters. Topics include the Marshall Field's name change, the response of African-American church leaders to Katrina and NPR coverage of President Bush's National Day of Prayer.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

On Thursday, we read from your letters, and we make corrections.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And we need to set this right. In our September 9th story on the response to Hurricane Katrina, we wrongly attributed this statement to FEMA's William Lokey.

Senator DAVID VITTER (Republican, Louisiana): I don't want to alarm everybody that, you know, New Orleans is filling up like a bowl. That's just not happening.

NORRIS: The speaker is actually David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana.

BLOCK: We had a number of letters about yesterday's interview with the head of Federated Stores about the plan to change Chicago's venerated Marshall Field's department stores to Macy's.

NORRIS: Illinois listener Ann Fry was among the disappointed Field's fans.

BLOCK: `Marshall Field's has class,' she writes, `Macy's does not. It's that simple.'

NORRIS: Others don't think it is that simple.

BLOCK: `As I listened to one person describe how he was sending all of his Federated credit cards back and closing his accounts, I began to scream at my radio.'

NORRIS: This is from Michelle Siegel(ph) of Beverly Hills, Michigan.

BLOCK: `In a time when others have been devastated by Katrina, how can anyone spend any energy worrying about a name change? I hope these distressed Field's shoppers can take a few moments to realize how fortunate they are. When Hudson's changed its name to Field's a few years ago, Detroiters somehow survived. They will, too.'

NORRIS: Glen Hodge(ph) of Lawrenceville, Georgia, wrote in about a report on the response to the African-American church leaders to Hurricane Katrina.

BLOCK: `I really enjoyed Barbara Bradley Hagerty's piece,' he writes, `that is until the very end, when she said the debate will be over who speaks for the black church. I thought we were beyond that. Now there seems to be this expectation that someone must speak for the group. Can't the black church be seen as diverse in opinion and viewpoint as any other group rather than some monolith with all the same views? Ask Barbara who speaks for the white church.'

NORRIS: We reported on Friday about the service at Washington National Cathedral on the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance declared by President Bush after Hurricane Katrina. We also spoke with a pastor outside New Orleans about his interaction with people affected by the storm.

BLOCK: `It would have been nice to hear perspectives other than the explicitly Christian,' wrote Douglas Carver of Albuquerque, New Mexico. `We heard a televangelist, our president sounding like a televangelist and a preacher whose community was affected. Were Jews, Hindus, Muslims or people of other faiths not praying and remembering today?'

NORRIS: Mike Flickeger(ph) of Atlanta, Georgia, wanted to hear a little bit more of our whole program apparently.

BLOCK: He wrote in with this anecdote: `I was at our north Georgia mountain house recently and wanted to go out and pick blueberries in the front yard. However, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED was on and I wanted to hear it out there, so I cranked up the stereo in the house to full power and went out to pick. I heard it just fine for a while until suddenly the sound went out. I went in and found I had blown the speakers. Our co-owner, when I reported this to him, commented that "You are the first person in the history of radio to blow out speakers listening to NPR."'

NORRIS: Well, if you suddenly find you've blown your radio speakers, you can always turn to your computer. Go to our Web site, npr.org, and click on the NPR podcast link. You'll be able to get NPR's most e-mailed stories as a downloadable file delivered to your computer or MP3 audio player every week. And while you're there, send us your thoughts. Click on the `Contact us' button.

BLOCK: And please tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name.

NORRIS: This is NPR, National Public Radio.

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