Four years later, New Orleans' Little Woods families return to like-new homes

One month, 500 volunteers: 12 homes rebuilt in all but forgotten Little Woods

MEDIA ADVISORY--Editors, Producers: Multiple visual opportunities and interviews. A mult-box for broadcast media will be available. Camera throw for ceremony approximately 25 feet.

LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN, NEW ORLEANS--After waiting four years for repairs to her long-time home in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans --and despairing that they would ever happen-- Gloria Mouton will open the door next week (Wed. May 13) to her like-new house in the still neglected Lake Pontchartrain community of Little Woods.

A "second line" brass band and parade of well-wishers, neighbors, volunteer builders and visiting notables seemed like the right thing to do.

Mouton is one of 12 Little Woods homeowners and families who will be fêted New Orleans style, as they're led in parade to a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of a 12-home rebuild project staged over the past month by more than 500 volunteers from across the United States.

The "Neighborhood: New Orleans" rebuild initiative, spearheaded by humanitarian agency Church World Service, was the first national ecumenical volunteer effort in New Orleans, using revolving teams from 10 different denominations, working side by side.

What:

Neighborhood: New Orleans Little Woods Rebuild 12-Home Project Completion Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Where:

A second line-style parade led by the Trinity brass band will assemble at the park pavilion on Curran Avenue and will lead the procession to the Mouton home at 14041 Curran Avenue, a few blocks away.

When:

Wednesday May 13, 2009
9:45 AM: Participants gather at Pavilion
10:00 AM: Parade begins, moving down Curran Avenue to the Moulton home
10:20 AM: Brief Service and Remarks in front of Mouton Home

Following remarks, homeowner Gloria Mouton will join Church World Service CEO John McCullough for ribbon cutting and transfer of her new house keys.

Who:

Little Woods home rebuild recipients:
Homeowners selected for the project will attend the ceremonies. In addition to Mouton's 14041 Curran Road home, addresses of other houses completed include: 8056 Gus Street, 8058 Gus Street, 7555 MacKenzie Street, 7500 Stonewood Street, 7631 Tricia Court, 7573 Avon Park Boulevard, 7584 Avon Park Boulevard, 7765 Downman Road, 6900 Camberley Drive, 7022 Hayne Boulevard, 7583 Forest Glen Road, 7587 Forest Glen Road, 10411 Castlewood Drive, and 10934 Curran Boulevard.

Attending notables include:

The Rev. John L. McCullough, Executive Director and CEO, global humanitarian agency Church World Service

Ellenor Simmons, Director, Crescent Alliance Recovery Effort, Orleans Parish

Florence A. Coppola, Executive for National Disaster Ministries, Global Sharing Of Resources, Wider Church Ministries, United Church of Christ

Kevin Massey, Director, Lutheran Disaster Response, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Roy Winter, Executive Director, Brethren Disaster Ministries

Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, Executive Director, National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA

Ken George, National Ministries National Coordinator for Intercultural Ministries, Direct Human Services, American Baptist Churches USA

Tom Hazelwood, Assistant General Secretary for Disaster Response in the United States, United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR), General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church 

Why Little Woods:

In the once-colorful summer fishing camp community, now dubbed an historic district, about half of the homes in Little Woods are still unoccupied and unrecovered. "We picked this area because it hasn't received much attention, and flooding from Hurricane Katrina in most cases reached the rooftops," said Bonnie Vollmering, Church World Service Associate Director for Domestic Emergency Response.

By repairing homes across the neighborhood, Vollmering says the agency hopes momentum for recovery will build. The homeowners who've received assistance had exhausted their resources and all other possibilities‹in some cases, more than once.

Background:

CWS was among early responders to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, providing emergency aid and equipment for schools' recovery and assisting in the formation of long-term recovery organizations to help the most vulnerable survivors. Those church agencies participating in the Little Woods rebuild also have been active in the region's recovery since the devastation.

In collaboration with Crescent Alliance Recovery Effort (CARE) and Church World Service, church groups who participated in the project include American Baptist Churches USA, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Church of the Brethren Disaster Ministries, Lutheran Disaster Response, Mennonite Disaster Service, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America Global Mission, the United Church of Christ, and United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


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