NEW ORLEANS -- It's a recovery milestone for some New Orleanians who thought they'd never see the day they could come home.
The Housing Authority of New Orleans celebrated the grand opening of the Columbia Parc Senior Center in Gentilly on Wednesday.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City Council President Jackie Clarkson and Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell were on hand for the ribbon cutting.
Local leaders say the developer spared no expense. The luxury apartments are completely energy efficient and even outfitted with solar panels.
Not only that, residents can enjoy amenities like the fitness center, movie theater and private, gated parking.
The $24 million project is now home to 120 New Orleans seniors. Many of those seniors relocated after Hurricane Katrina and say the opening of this new senior living facility gave them the opportunity to finally come back home.
“I just said, God, I want to live there. I want to go home so bad but I can't afford to live here,” said resident Dianne Baquet. “Then this came up out of the blue.”
Resident Sharon Gerdes said she’s going to live there for the rest of her days.
“Because I love it!” she said. “I love my apartment, I love the design. I love the way they have the amenities for all of us.”
The progress doesn't stop here in Gentilly. In fact there are plans to build a new elementary school and a new playground.
The new senior center also provides several amenities for its residents, including health and dental care programs, dining services and educational training.