Paul Slattery has been in the New Orleans area since shortly after Hurricane Katrina. He volunteered for several months with Habitat for Humanity, and helped clear out the homes that were covered in mud and debris. He's been here ever since.
But giving was nothing new to the 56-year-old Massachusetts native. He came from a family with five girls and two boys, and his parents were generous by nature. Earlier in life he lived what he describes as a party lifestyle, and later went through a painful divorce. He credits meditation with turning his life back to a positive path.
In this conversation recorded March 28 with StoryCorps staffer Sara Culver, Slattery talks about what he found in the post-Katrina landscape, and how he manages to keep some warm memories of that dismal time.
ALSO: In this extended conversation, talking with StoryCorps's Sara Culver, Paul Slattery speaks of his decision to donate bone marrow to someone he discovered was only 11 months old, and then describes the remarkable circumstances that led to a match for a kidney donation.
StoryCorps New Orleans interviews were recorded by StoryCorps, a national project to record and collect stories of everyday people. This excerpt was selected and produced by WWNO producer Eileen Fleming, with support from the WWNO Productions Fund and from Villere & Co., managing the investments of New Orleans' families for almost 100 years. Listen again at wwno.org or at nola.com.