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NABJ Reaches Out to Help Restore Home

By Shaquille Brewster
NABJ Monitor

NABJ board members were in the Gentilly area of New Orleans on Wednesday lending a helping hand to one family still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

For Angie Watts, it’s the beginning of a dream fulfilled after volunteers finished restoring her home, which will be fully furnished.

“I feel like after all those years waiting for my house to be finished, it’s coming to the end,” Watts said.

Her family narrowly escaped the floods and lost nearly all of their possessions.

“It was just like, ‘Relax, we are all going to die together,’ ” she recalled.

Although Hurricane Katrina forced Watts and her family out, she alleges that corrupt contractors were the real force that kept her family out, adding she lost nearly $80,000.

Helping her rebuild were the St. Bernard Rebuilding Program and NABJ Rebuilds, a community service initiative dedicated to refurbishing the homes of these families displaced after Hurricane Katrina.

“They are the ones who really came and rescued me,” Watts said.

Watts and her family were stuck on the roof for almost two days before being rescued. Although the house now stands about six feet taller, there’s still more work that needs to be done as well as many other families in need around the city.

She said if those families keep holding on, someone will eventually come to their rescue, too.

This Saturday, convention volunteers will dedicate the restored home.

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