NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Some New Orleans East families received keys to their brand new homes Saturday. It took 600 volunteers just 10 days to build 10 houses thanks to a massive Habitat for Humanity Build-a-Thon.
Bryan Johnson didn't think it could be done. "I'm like 10 days, nah they won't be finished," he said.
He was wrong. Hundreds of Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCorps volunteers flooded America Street in New Orleans East, to build Johnson's home and nine others, in less than two weeks.
"It's been a hard week but it's been a good week," volunteer Thaddeus Woods said.
Woods flew in from Los Angeles for the build-a-thon. It's a nod to the upcoming 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Woods explains, "It's a great way to build comradery, and a great way to up lift people's spirits and set a good example I think."
"This is really the most beautiful symbol of the good things that came out of Katrina," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
A dedication ceremony Saturday celebrated the work of the volunteers and the bright spot in a dark journey for the families who lost their homes during the storm.
Johnson and the nine other families helped out during the process, laying the groundwork for a fresh start.
The chef made lots of new friends in the process. "They're telling me how much it meant for them to come out here and help me do this and they want to see this house finished and I appreciate it," Johnson said.
Next up for the single father of two, decorating, as he works to make his house, built with love, into a home.
Since 2005, the New Orleans area Habitat for Humanity has built over 440 new homes.