NEW ORLEANS — Two years ago, Christina Edwards bought what she calls her New Orleans dream house.
“This was obviously a deck. This was kind of a patio area,” Edwards said, pointing to the home. “This is the apartment side that I rent out and then me and the kids live on the other side.”
For this single mom, the duplex home on Napoleon Avenue was a way to support her teenage son and young daughter, until Saturday morning. While picking someone up from the airport her phone rang.
“At 7:15 my son called and said, ‘Mom, the house is on fire,’” Edwards said.
Flames tore through the back of her more than 100-year-old home.
“Horror, just absolute horror. This can’t be happening,” Edwards said. “I just started crying, 'please no, please no.'”
It took firefighters about 30 minutes to put out the flames. Everyone got out safely, including the family’s two dogs. The family cat didn’t make it and most belongings were destroyed.
“The soot was like an inch thick in our bedrooms,” Edwards said. “My daughter lost all her toys.”
The fire was just the beginning of losses.
“What wasn’t water damaged was taken by the looters,” Edwards said.
Edwards says thieves broke in the same night, stealing her TVs. It didn’t stop there, even after Edwards boarded up parts of the home.
“My front door was locked, but they busted through that last night and got more stuff,” Edwards said. “They took all my toiletries.”
A fire investigator was at the home Tuesday working to figure out what happened. Edwards says, thankfully, the home can be saved, but won’t be livable for a while. Insurance will help long term, but basic necessities are needed now.
“Sunday was a really bad day,” Edwards said. “I was having a hard time breathing because I’m thinking, 'how am I going to pay for all of this by myself?'”
With no other family in the city, Edwards knows it’s going to take time before her dream house can once again be a reality.
“Even if it’s not fixed, I want to be home. I want to be home,” she said.
The family is staying in a hotel until they can figure out what to do next. A friend of the family started GoFundMe account to help with recovery.