UWSELA awarded $450K from Entergy to kick off New Orleans East Tornado Recovery Plan

NEW ORLEANS – Entergy New Orleans announced today a $450,000 gift to United Way of Southeast Louisiana to kick off the New Orleans East Tornado Recovery Plan for assisting families impacted by the Feb. 7 tornado. Community partners – SBP, Greater New Orleans Foundation, Rebuilding Together – joined Entergy and UWSELA to launch the community-wide fundraising effort at the site of a volunteer build for the Dorsey family, whose home was destroyed in the February storm.

Michael Williamson, UWSELA President and CEO, recognized the Dorsey family as one of many who were impacted and are still awaiting assistance more than six months after the storm’s destruction.

“Entergy’s gift and our partners’ collective efforts demonstrate the impact we can have when we choose to live United,” said Williamson. “Together, we are surrounding New Orleans East’s critical need for continued recovery efforts and building a stronger, better community for all.”

Partners established the need for a collaborative, long-term recovery plan to create a larger pool of resources to supplement the estimated $18 million cost for the community’s recovery. Goals for the initiative include: zero contractor fraud; assist homeowners in expediting settlement of FEMA and insurance claims; affordable temporary housing and all homeowners back in two years.

“Many of these same families also lost homes during Katrina, just like so many New Orleanians -- including many of our own employees at Entergy,” said Charles Rice, Entergy New Orleans President and CEO. “We are proud, through contributions and volunteer service, to do everything in our power to help these families get back home as quickly as possible. It is my pleasure to announce that we are launching this recovery plan with a $450,000 contribution to United Way of Southeast Louisiana to help our friends and neighbors in New Orleans East rebuild their homes and recover their lives.”

In conjunction with the announcement, the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” initiative kicked off with a volunteer build for the Dorsey family. Staff members from Entergy, SBP and HandsOn New Orleans raised pre-built wall panels to construct the new residence.

SBP identified 889 homes – including the Dorsey’s – affected by the February tornado, with 245 properties sustaining major damage.

"SBP's mission is to shrink time between disaster and recovery,” said Zack Rosenburg, SBP co-founder and CEO. “One of the ways we seek to accomplish this is through the innovative use of panelized construction, which will enable us to frame the Dorsey's home in just one day's time. A prompt, efficient and predictable recovery in New Orleans East would not be possible however, without the support of such great local partners gathered here today.”

William Stoudt, Director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans, credited the community and business partners for bringing much-needed attention to the need for on-going recovery efforts in the east.

“Rebuilding Together New Orleans is proud to work alongside such amazing partners to provide New Orleanians in need with critical home repairs after such a devastating event,” said Stoudt. “Entergy, United Way, and others are answering the calls for help when no one else did."

“Collectively, we have the power to bring these families home, but it's going to take a concerted effort between businesses, individuals, nonprofits and government to a make it happen,” added Rice. “I'd like to take this opportunity to challenge everyone to join us in doing their part because, what impacts one of us, impacts all of us.”

View the photo gallery here.


About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For more than 90 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.


About SBP
SBP's mission is to shrink time between disaster and recovery. Since its founding in 2006 in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, SBP has rebuilt homes for more than 1,300 families with the help of 180,000 volunteers in New Orleans; Joplin, MO; Staten Island, NY; Rockaway, NY; Monmouth and Ocean Counties, NJ; San Marcos, TX; Columbia, SC; White Sulphur Springs, WV and Baton Rouge, LA.

SBP’s model is enhanced by AmeriCorps, which provides 180 members annually to manage worksites and clients, and train the organization’s volunteers nationally. Through its Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lab (DRRL), SBP works to share lessons learned, prevent common barriers to recovery and help communities utilize SBP’s standardized, repeatable and proven-effective model.

SBP shrinks time between disaster and recovery via five interventions:

  1. Rebuild homes quickly after disasters by mobilizing private sector innovations and assigning a single point of contact to make the home rebuilding process faster and more predictable.
  2. Share rebuilding innovations with other rebuilding organizations to allow for efficient, predictable recovery on a national scale.
  3. Prepare home and business owners prior to and following disaster with specific steps to mitigate risk and improve resilience.
  4. Advise policy makers immediately after a disaster so they can deploy federal dollars sooner, and in a way that empowers an efficient recovery.
  5. Advocate for the reform of disaster recovery strategies in the U.S. to improve the predictability and speed of recovery.

To learn more, visit www.SBPUSA.org and like/follow on Facebook & Twitter @SBPUSA

Rebuilding Together New Orleans:
Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO), a local affiliate of Rebuilding Together, Inc. has restored and revitalized more than 1,500 homes over the past 29 years in the New Orleans area. Utilizing volunteer labor, Rebuilding Together New Orleans allows low-income families in communities across the city to live in comfort, safety, and dignity.  Rebuilding Together New Orleans is a program of the Preservation Resource Center, an organization devoted to promoting the preservation, restoration, and revitalization of New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods.

  • Our Vision - A safe and healthy home for every person.
  • Our Mission - Bringing volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners.

For more information, visit www.RTNO.org, or follow @RT_NewOrleans on Facebook or Twitter.