New Orleans, La. – The generator outside Karen Giamballuca's house was running strong while women inside sanded off drywall. They're part of the project supported by Capital One Bank and the United Way of Greater New Orleans to help families return home.
Giamballuca says her home was so damaged that she thought it would be demolished. But her boss told her about the St. Bernard Project, and she discovered she qualified for help.
"When I went down there I cried two blocks before I got to my house, just seeing a truckload of people there, you know, that I didn't even know working on it."
Iris Ford knows what it feels like to look at a home flooded with water and then covered in oil. Her home a few miles away in Violet was doused by both. But she says a friend arranged a contractor to fix the damage while she stayed in Texas, and now she's home. She says it was an easy decision to join the Women's Rebuild project.
"I've always volunteered while I was with Capital One but it was usually walks for health, cancer research or what have you. But when I saw this house for St. Bernard Parish I was like, I have to do something for another, you know, one of my neighbors."
Diane Doherty of Bloomfield, New Jersey, heard about the project at her Church of the Visitation. Although she hates flying, the recruiting presentation was persuasive enough for her to make the trip.
"The enthusiasm and just the overwhelming just feeling of love and giving and joy that everybody had who had been there before, and the way they talked about what a wonderful experience it was."
Fifteen homes are included in this phase. Volunteers are working in shifts to finish up what's needed for families to return home. To date, the St. Bernard Project has rebuilt more than 300 homes.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming