A lighthearted respite:

NYPost, September 21, 2005 -- PAGE SIX's cartoon on Monday, which depicted Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Or leans Mayor Ray Nagin as greasepaint-wearing buffoons, was no laughing matter to Queens clown Judy Beber. The fuming funny gal who performs as "Sassafras the Clown" claims the drawing, which also appeared in the Orange County Register, has made a mockery of clowns the world over. "It portrayed us as bumbling idi ots," Beber says. "I am just so disgusted with how we're portrayed as stupid or silly." Beber points out clowns across the country are heading to New Or leans to entertain children stranded in shelters under the banner of Red Nose Relief. Given that fear of clowns is a common phobia among children and adults alike, Red Nose Relief's Web site has posted some handy tips for "Hurricane Katrina clowning." Among the suggestions: "Fear of clowns can be multiplied in a shelter environment. Full makeup and costume should be avoided. Wearing just a red nose and clown shoes will be enough to identify you as a caring clown."