Witnessing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi, many Gothamist readers have asked what they can do to help. The most important thing for many of the Gulf Coast's residents right now is basic services: clean water, food, and medicine, all of which costs money.

If you choose to make a donation to help with the relief efforts, Gothamist urges you to give to the American Red Cross. (Donation form here.)

Just as we advised following last year's tsunami, be wary of unsolicited e-mails or phone calls asking for donations. Do your homework and only donate to known, reputable organizations. As with any tragedy, there are always those seeking to profit from the misfortune of others.

MSNBC.com has a more complete list of agencies offering emergency relief.