GONZALES, La. – After historic floods hit much of the Southeast Louisiana region, a group based in New Orleans needs help from volunteers to begin the rebuilding process.
Carolyn Theodore watches volunteers gut her flooded home in Gonzales in disbelief. It's the third time they've flooded. They lost their first home in New Orleans East after Katrina, and she said it’s tough to be a victim again.
"I was thinking about Katrina," she said crying. "I was like, ‘I don't want to go through that again’ because we worked so hard to get things together, and in minutes it's gone again."
A team of volunteers organized by NOLA Tree Project is gutting the family home. Vanessa Moss, a Tucson, Arizona lawyer, came to help, finding the work to be a welcome and worthwhile exercise after a tough court case."Wanting to help our friends and neighbors, even if they're friends and neighbors that we don't have yet, but that we're going to get to know," said Moss.
The family said they’re grateful for all the help.
"Everybody in here that took the time out to come here and help us, that don't even know us, that's truly a blessing," said homeowner Dorian Theodore.For NOLA Tree Project, the work is just beginning.
"It's very hard to see it," said Connie Uddo, with NOLA Tree Project. "It emotionally just rips your heart out."The group has got a list of at least twenty homes awaiting gutting, with more requests coming in.
"I need volunteers,” said Uddo. “We're one of the few non-profits from the city that are really boots on the ground here."
The NOLA Tree Project website has spaces for volunteers to sign up through mid-September."People still need help, a lot of people out there need help," Uddo said. "I don't want our New Orleans people to forget this, and forget all that this region did for us after Katrina."
Still, for this family, the people helping are a blessing.""It just shows that people are still good," said a thankful Carolyn Theodore, as she continued to fight back tears.
(© 2016 WWL)