Massive rebuilding effort to help Isaac victims in St. John - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Massive rebuilding effort to help Isaac victims in St. John Parish

Updated:
Homes damaged during Hurricane Isaac in LaPlace Homes damaged during Hurricane Isaac in LaPlace

LaPlace, La. - Dorothy Davis waded out of her mother's home as Hurricane Isaac pummeled St. John Parish.

"When the wind and the water blew our front door open, the water came to my bust level, standing up," she says. "In here, in this house, what's left of it."

More than six months after the storm, Davis's 88-year old mother hasn't returned home.  She says delays with the insurance company have prevented them from rebuilding.

"She should be sitting in her den like she was, in her recliner, watching 'Let's Make a Deal' and 'Wheel of Fortune' because those are her favorite TV shows," says Davis, "not coming up here and looking at what was and right now is a shell of a house."

Davis's home and 250 more around St. John Parish are part of the Eight Days of Hope campaign.  Nearly 2,500 volunteers will meet in LaPlace Saturday to hang sheet rock, repair roofs and restore a community waiting so long for assistance.

"It's awesome when you have people from New Jersey who are licensed union electricians, coming to LaPlace, and you have painters from Minnesota and you have drywall people from Kansas," says Eight Days of Hope President Steve Tybor. "We've got volunteers from Germany and France and Canada."

Tybor started the organization after Hurricane Katrina.  Since 2005, volunteers have repaired more than 1,300 homes around the country damaged by disasters.

The group will spend a week working in St. John Parish.  The volunteers will have a list of projects that every house needs. Some homes haven't been touched since the storm.

Tybor says people often forget about the slow recovery process once the storm stops making headlines.  "I was surprised last night driving through neighborhoods and seeing blue tarps, seeing debris on the side of the road," he says, "seeing homes that are not even lived in today."

No one has worked on Davis's home since volunteers gutted it days after Isaac.  Dorothy Davis finally feels optimistic.

"This has been the first glimmer of real hope that we've had to where we're progressing as far as getting some help in here," she says.

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