LaPlace, La. - Volunteers with Eight Days of Hope are nearly finished with their rebuilding blitz.
Many will head home Saturday with lifelong memories of a place so in need of help after Hurricane Isaac.
"I've met some great people down here and I've just enjoyed getting to know them and serving God," says Tommy Davis, a volunteer from Virginia. "We've had great worship services at night and get out and do good work during the daytime."
Nearly 2,500 volunteers from across the country spent eight days here. They replaced roofs, hung sheet rock and cleaned up more than 200 homes damaged by the storm.
Some of the houses hadn't been touched since the day Isaac filled these neighborhoods with water.
St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom says volunteers have been working in the parish since the storm, but not a group of this size with this kind of impact.
"This has been almost like a steroid shot," she says. "We've had volunteers and we're very grateful that they've been here since August... smaller numbers, nothing like the 2500 that have been here over these eight days."
The work isn't done here. There are still hundreds of homes in need of repair. Some of the volunteers plan to stay a few more days, and others are already planning return trips.
"Leaving tomorrow night is going to be very tough for so many people," says Eight Days of Hope President Steve Tybor. "I've seen so many volunteers weep and just break down and cry because their lives have been changed forever."
Robottom believes this week of work will have a lasting impact on St. John Parish.
Homeowners who waited more than six months for any sign of help now have a reason to hope.
The neighborhoods are a little cleaner, a bit brighter.
Robottom says it's the biggest sign of recovery since Isaac.
"This group at one time, the amount of skilled labor, all of the other things that they brought with them just tended to give all of our residents this great pride, a great hope and the energy and the hope to move forward and continue on with the progress," she says.
A former New Orleans police officer testified Monday at his retrial that he thought he saw a gun in the hand of the man he shot and killed outside a strip mall.more>>
A former New Orleans police officer testified Monday at his retrial that he thought he saw a gun in the hand of the man he shot and killed outside a strip mall in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath - and still believes he was justified to use deadly force.more>>
The Saints want to establish playoff position in the NFC South, redeem themselves from the embarrassment of Monday night's debacle in Seattle and prove that Who Dat fans are the loudest.more>>
The Saints want to establish playoff position in the NFC South, redeem themselves from the embarrassment of Monday night's debacle in Seattle and prove that Who Dat fans are the loudest in the sporting world in an indoor stadium.more>>