The story, images and video below tell the story of Gloria and Joe Robert. Joe is a volunteer at St. Paul’s Homecoming Center as well as a storm victim. Funds raised during our Twitter chat on Thursday May 9 from 4-5pm EST are dedicated exclusively to Joe and the St Paul’s Homecoming Center.Please read their story below and join us on Thursday for the chat or add this link to your blog or website.
Modenus pledges a $200 donation.
With want to thank our BlogTour sponsors: The NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association), KBIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) and Silestone USA who are active supporters of rebuilding efforts in New Orleans and elsewhere around the country and who have played an active role in introducing us to the people that are making a difference.
BlogTour NOLA was our most multi-faceted tour yet. We covered everything from the French Quarter, the Food, the Garden District, the Food, the Design Scene, the Food….you get the idea. But this tour was different.
BlogTour reaches an online audience of well over 1 million people worldwide and with this much visibility we decided we wanted to explore and share the current state of rebuilding efforts in NOLA with our audiences as well.
We spent one day touring the hard hit neighborhoods of Gentilly and the 9th Ward and, to keep things realistic, my personal feeling was that recent media stats announcing an 80% completion rate of NOLA’s reconstruction is about right. A lot of work has indeed been done but a lot still remains as well.
Rebuilding after major storm damage, no matter which part of the country, is never easy as minefields of red tape, corruption and media hype can distort and delay valid efforts and bring doubt to those who simply want to reach out and help.We were privileged to be able to meet with representatives of two initiatives: World Vision in their partnership with St. Paul’s Homecoming Center in Gentilly and the Make It Right foundation in the 9th Ward. Both initiatives support not only rebuilding efforts in New Orleans but in disaster stricken areas around the country and both deserve great respect for the tenacity with which they fight every day to raise funds and locate building materials, recruit volunteers and construction professionals and set to constructing one home after another.
Our Twitter chat on Thursday will allow our team to share their overall impressions of the tour, the architecture, the beauty, the culture..yes, the food and this special day with moments where none of us could speak. We were touched, humbled and inspired by the people who realized that “The cavalry wasn’t going to come and it was up to us to help one another”.
Joe and Gloria Robert of New Orleans were newlywedslooking forward to a bright future together when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005.
Residing in their new house for just one month before Katrina slammed the city, the couple lost everything when the levee behind their house was destroyed – one of 53 levees in the city breached by the storm surge – and canal water swallowed the home. The Roberts evacuated the city, staying with various friends and relatives. When the flood waters receded weeks later, Joe and Gloria moved into a pop-up camper in their driveway for a while, but they’ve also been staying with Joe’s daughter from a previous marriage.
Nearly eight years later, Joe and Gloria’s house is still uninhabitable. While a new house has been framed out, the building lacks essentials including electrical, drywall, flooring and plumbing. Because Joe is a contractor by trade, he has the skills to work on his house, but he has generously donated much of his free time to volunteering with St. Paul’s Homecoming Center helping to rebuild other people’s houses.
Joe works on his home little by little, but is often derailed by setbacks such as having his house broken into and his tools stolen. Even though Joe was forced to save up until he could replenish his tool supply, he has not lost his faith in humanity.
Fortunately, Joe and Gloria received some good news recently when Storehouse of World Vision selected the couple and their house for a rehab project. A few weeks ago Storehouse joined forces with the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and St. Paul’s Homecoming Center to help rehab kitchens and baths in three houses as a lead-in to NKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) held April 19-21 in New Orleans.
While Storehouse and NKBA partners have donated materials, appliances and labor for a new kitchen and bath in the Robert’s house, the rest of the unfinished home still needs lots of TLC.
If you want to help, please click the link below to help Joe and St. Paul’s in New Orleans.