BlogTourNola was an enriching experience all around. Veronika of Modenus and the generous Sponsors not only organized an amazing Architecture and Design tour, but they also took us to see another side of New Orleans, the side that many of us have forgotten about since news media has moved out of there and on to other stories and tragedies. Yet, the fact remains, that New Orleans is still being rebuilt after almost 8 years.
So we spent the day visiting communities in Gentile and the Lower 9th that were hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. We met few families that day and went inside their homes. It was not easy... Many of us in tears as we heard their stories. These people LOST everything. Everything but HOPE.
We met one gentleman in particular who touched all of our hearts . His Name is Joe Robert.
|Joe Pointing to the Levy|
|Insid Joe's House - Slow Progress|
Nearly eight years later, Joe and Gloria’s house is still uninhabitable. While a new house has been framed out, the building lacks essentials including electrical, drywall, flooring and plumbing. Because Joe is a contractor by trade, he has the skills to work on his house, but he has generously donated much of his free time to volunteering with St. Paul’s Homecoming Center helping to rebuild other people’s houses.
Joe works on his home little by little, but is often derailed by setbacks such as having his house broken into and his tools stolen. Even though Joe was forced to save up until he could replenish his tool supply, he has not lost his faith in humanity.
Fortunately, Joe and Gloria received some good news recently when Storehouse of World Vision selected the couple and their house for a rehab project. A few weeks ago Storehouse joined forces with the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and St. Paul’s Homecoming Center to help rehab kitchens and baths in three houses as a lead-in to NKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) held April 19-21 in New Orleans.
It was such a pleasure to meet Connie Uddo , Executive Director of St. Paul's Homecoming and the many volunteers of the program. "We have each other and that's the greatest resource of all" she says.
They together with WorldVision are helping rebuild these communities with generous Partnerships such as NKBA and KBIS and many more.
Please visit the World Vision website where they have dedicated a page to Joe Robert and his story as well as a link to a fundraiser just for Joe. www.worldvision.org/nolaprojects. Every little helps.