After Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana I decided I couldn’t go back to New Orleans to the Essence Festival to party without giving something back to that community. Having been to the city in 1999 and 2001 for the festival many of the images I saw in the aftermath of Katrina left me feeling devastated personally as I recognized so many of the impacted areas.
In 2012, I decided I was finally mentally ready to return to New Orleans for the Essence Festival and started looking for a rebuilding project to work on during my trip. As a house captain and member of the board of directors of Rebuilding Together of Washington DC from 2001 through 2013, I worked on several housing rehabilitation projects in the DC area and had an idea of what type of project could make the most impact in New Orleans. I found St. Bernard Project, reached out to their staff and was assigned a project. As the date got closer my friend Conrad decided to join me on the trip and work with me on the rebuilding project.
St. Bernard Project - New Orleans
Post Hurricane Katrina Home Rebuilding Project in New Orleans, LA - 5 Bedroom 3 Bath Home
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6663.jpg]270All Clean and ready for flowing and base moulding
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6665.jpg]270Conrad cleaning
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6666.jpg]240Another Hot Day!
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6667.jpg]220Prepping Floors for Finishing
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6668.jpg]210Prepping Floors for Finishing
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6669.jpg]200Prepping Floors for Finishing
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6670.jpg]190St. Benard Project House in the Oak Park Neighborhood
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6736.jpg]230Conrad Caulking
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6738.jpg]210Caulking althought I don't like heights!
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6741.jpg]200Scaffolding Break
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6743.jpg]210Heat and Humidity of New Orleans
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6746.jpg]200My Carpentry Work
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_img_6747.jpg]200My Carpentry Work
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_finishedhousefront.jpg]140Finished House - Front
[img src=http://www.projectschick.com/wp-content/flagallery/st-bernards-project-new-orleans/thumbs/thumbs_finishedhouseback.jpg]140Finished House - Back
Our project was a 5 bedroom/3 bath house that had been completely demolished except for a small portion of the back and the slab and rebuilt from the ground up. It was located in the Oak Park neighborhood, east of City Park. We did a lot of carpentry work including installing and sealing moulding around doorways and on the ceilings. The living room had a high vaulted ceiling which provided my first opportunity to working on scaffolding and a stark reminder that – despite the fact that I ski and ride chair lifts – I don’t like heights!!! lol
During this project we had the opportunity to work with nail guns, table saws, hammers, caulk guns and all that great stuff and don all appropriate safety equipment including dust masks, safety glasses, etc. There was also a lot of cleaning to do including scraping floors to get them ready for flooring installation.
As the house was still under construction and the electrical service hadn’t been transferred to the house yet we worked in the wonderful heat and humidity of New Orleans in July! We spent a few days working on the project and got it a lot closer to being able to sold for the cost of repairs – which would be much lower than the going market rate and helping a family move one step closer to rebuilding their lives in a brand new, well constructed home.
I was very happy to have had the opportunity to help someone recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and hope to be able to pitch in again the next time I return as New Orleans and many parts of Louisiana still need our help.
If you would like to assist St. Bernard Project through the donation of your time and skills, tools or monetarily please visit their website to learn more about their efforts and how you can help St. Bernard Project