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Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
Email: mrodriguez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mrodriguezwwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Along the fog-drenched streets of Venetian Isles, the wait is nearly over.

'I came back pretty quick,' said Virginia Boquet, who lives in the community. 'I wanted our neighborhood to come back that quickly as well -- and most of us did.'

What did not, though, once sat on Alba Road: the former site of the Venetian Isles fire station. Hurricane Katrina destroyed it more than seven years ago.

'It's still a reminder that it's taking so long to get ourselves rebuilt,' Boquet said.

With an official groundbreaking on Wednesday, the remaining slab is about to give way to a new $3.6 million fire station.

'It was hard on the men and women who work out here,' said Superintendent Charles Parent of the New Orleans Fire Department. 'Now, we're going to give them a place where they can have better conditions, more livable conditions and still respond and help the people in this neighborhood.'

The new fire station will be storm-proofed and elevated. The electrical system will be encased in concrete, with an elevated generator. It is designed to withstand hurricanes and high-water events, since the community lies outside the levee protection zone.

'Everyone in the city of New Orleans deserves protection and it's our philosophy -- not only do they protect the people of Lake Catherine and Venetian Isles, but they also come inward to the city,' Parent said.

The fire station will be the first new one built since 2005. Though it was a long-time coming, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said it is a sign of the rebuilding, which is picking up in the city.

'It's been two years since I've been here and in the last two years, we have made incredible progress,' Landrieu said. 'We have the 100 committed project list -- all of those projects are on schedule, on budget.'

Construction on the Venetian Isles fire station is set to wrap up in the fall. Officials say the city's next new fire station will be built in the Lower Ninth Ward.

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