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Hairstylist forced from home by Laura offers free cuts to evacuees in New Orleans hotel

"It just makes you feel normal, makes you forget about everything going on back at home for a little while."

NEW ORLEANS — A Hurricane Laura evacuee staying in New Orleans is dedicating her time to empowering other evacuees through hair cuts. 

She's staying at the Residence Inn Marriott Downtown where a hallway has turned into a salon.

Cathy Durio pulled up a few tables, chairs and a bunch of donated hair tools. 

"Everything was given to me. I came here with nothing," Durio said. 

She's offering free cuts and color to Hurricane Laura evacuees staying in New Orleans.

"There's no way I could charge anybody at this time, with what everybody's going through," she said. 

She knows the struggles they face as an evacuee from Lake Charles herself. 

Back home, she cuts hair at a salon in Sulphur.

"I've been doing hair for 40 something years," Durio said. 

She thought of this idea a few days ago.

"One morning I was shampooing my hair, taking a shower and I fixed my hair and I felt pretty. You know how you do your hair and you feel pretty? I know I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to offer my services to give back to my community," Durio said. 

Durio evacuated without any hair supplies, so she posted in the "Imagine Mutual Aid: COVID + Hurricane Season (New Orleans)" Facebook group. Salons and locals overwhelmed her with donations.

"Brushes, combs, everything you need in the beauty business," she said. 

It makes these tough days just a little easier for evacuees like Julie Folsom.

"It just makes you feel normal, makes you forget about everything going on back at home for a little while," Folsom said. 

Durio welcomes any evacuees needing a cut to call the Residence Inn Marriott Downtown to get in touch. She said the hotel has been supportive of her mission. 

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