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Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins and Lance Moore of the New Orleans Saints hosted a private dinner at Eiffel Society in September to announce to family, friends and teammates how they plan to give back this holiday season.

With the help of the Epworth Project, lowernine.org, Project Homecoming, IrvingMorris and United Way of Southeast Louisiana, they will rebuild four families’ homes, with the goal of completing the projects in time for the holidays.

“Because of their caring and generosity, four more families that have been displaced for over eight years will return to their homes in time to celebrate the holidays,” said Michael Williamson, president and ceo, United Way of Southeast Louisiana. “What an amazing gift, to give a family their home back. These guys really are Saints, on and off the field.”


 

Darren Sharper helps rebuildThere are hundreds of families in Southeast Louisiana that are still displaced from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and now Isaac – doubled or tripled up in family homes, or living in gutted or partially complete homes, trailers or apartments they cannot afford.




Rose and Rochelle have been trying to rebuild their family home for the past seven and a half years. Seventy-three year old Rose and her five siblings were raised in the home that her father built in the Lower Ninth Ward on Benton Street. Rose then raised her own six children in the home, including her daughter, Rochelle. Rochelle's son worked on the home until three and half years ago, when he suddenly passed away - leaving his two children in her care. The rebuilding of the home was then undertaken by Rose's husband. Sadly, he died a year later, leaving no clear records of what had been done or was left to do by the contractors, how much he had paid them or whether any Road Home funds had been obtained. The contractors never contacted the family about finishing the work they started and had been paid to complete. The women were forced to put the rebuilding on hold as they gathered funds to continue. Since then, Rochelle and Rose have undertaken the care of her 17 year old niece in addition to Rochelle's two grandchildren. The five of them currently switch off living with two of Rochelle's sisters to whom she pays a bit of rent to help cover expenses. She also is able to save a some money each month to put towards the home and her siblings occasionally contribute to the fund. Thanks to Roman Harper, the women are able to return to their neighborhood and to raise the fifth generation of the family in the home their family built.


Robert, 80 years old, and Addie, 65 years old, were displaced after Hurricane Katrina. They have been in a variety of places over the past 7 years. They’ve lived with Robert's brother, his daughter, and his step-daughter. They lived in the little garage area behind the house. They continue moving, trying to find a place that feels like home. Robert bought the house on Gallier in 1967. It has been his home ever since. After the storm, Robert paid a contractor to complete the work on his home. While some work was done, it was done incorrectly. The contractor never finished the work and took off with the money. He has been searching for a way to complete his house ever since. Robert and Addie's home can be fixed with volunteer labor. Volunteers have been working on the home with money supplied by Northshore Disaster Recovery Inc for the past several months. Major plumbing issues have been fixed. Walls have been painted and tile, laminate, doors, and trim have been installed. Kitchen cabinets, bath vanities, countertops, and sinks still need to be installed. The soffit and facia need to be repaired. Door knobs need to be installed. Thanks to Lance Moore, volunteers will be able to finish these items and get this family back in their home.


Mr. Edgar, 88-years-old, has lived in his home in the Lower 9th Ward dating back to when he purchased his home in 1959. He served as a United States Merchant Marine with the U.S. Navy for 23 years, retiring in 1985. Although he served for over 20 years, Edgar only receives $280 a month in benefits and relies on those funds plus social security to support himself. Since Katrina, he has rebuilt his home, but was not able to do so completely in order to make the entire home livable. A contractor stole some of his money following Hurricane Katrina, but at least Edgar had enough work done so that he and his grandson, Juilen, are able to live in part of the home. Because of Edgar's age, he has some physical limitations and must take medication for his eyesight. He has glaucoma in one eye and is losing vision in the other. Julien, who works at the Hotel Monteleone, decided to live with his grandfather in order to help care for him. Sadly, when Hurricane Isaac passed through in August 2012, the roof collapsed in Julien's room due to lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina and sub par work performed by the contractor. Julien is still trying to save money to continue the project and is living with a friend in New Orleans East while his room is under construction. Sadly, the project has come to a standstill due to lack of funds and the roof and exterior still require attention.


Before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Wayne and Monica Ferrier were content living in the home they worked so hard to purchase 9 years previous with their daughter and granddaughters. Wayne was the first to return to the city as part of the emergency response team. Wayne was managing the city's juvenile detention facilities, which meant relocating the youth to a facility in northern Louisiana, then back again
once the city reopened. Having worked before the storm at an automobile dealership, Monica had no job to return to. Monica stayed in Houston to care for her hospitalized aunt and the children. In 2009, after her aunt passed away, she returned home and reunited with her husband. Wayne says had it not been for his wife's spirit and perseverance to return home, he would have been too discouraged to continue trying. Losing over $60,000 of their funds to contractor fraud, with no work to show for it, the Ferrier's were left with nothing to rebuild. Starting back at square one, Wayne and Monica have been stretching every dollar in order to rebuild the house they worked so hard to buy. Currently renting, they feel as if they are still evacuees. Only once they move back into their home will they finally feel that the “Katrina nightmare” has been put to rest. Their granddaughter, who was just four years old when Katrina hit, suffered emotional trauma in the years following the storm. She experienced extreme anxiety when it rained and feared every drop meant another hurricane was coming. Since moving back to New Orleans, she has flourished in both school and extracurricular activities. Even with rebuilding assistance, the Ferrier's are still short of the funds necessary to complete the repairs on their home. Wayne says they will not truly be home until they are back in their community, in their house, with their neighbors and loved ones.


 

 

Our Saints are also encouraging their fans to help bring families the gift of “Hope for the Holidays” by asking them to make donations for the project.

Please help today.