Local business owner offers FQ apartments to Florida families

Local business owner offers FQ apartments to Florida families

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - When Floridians began evacuating to escape Irma, Phylis Luscy's heart was breaking. She wanted to do something to help.

"We started noticing a ton of people coming in from Miami," she said.

Luscy owns a restaurant in New Orleans East, as well as a candy shop and three apartments in the French Quarter.

She said at first, an elderly couple came in to her candy shop and said they were from Florida and didn't have a place to stay.

"So I called the couple and said, 'Did ya'll find somewhere?' and they said no. They said they were just going to get in their car and drive and I said, 'Look, I have an apartment. Y'all are welcome to stay there as long as y'all need,' and they started crying," Luscy said.

From there, Luscy said she wanted to do more. She began reaching out to hotels.

"I said if y'all have anyone who can't get a room or y'all overbooked, I have two units that are going to sit vacant tonight," she said.

"We came from Tampa. The area where we live is the first place to get flooded, so Friday morning we just packed our stuff and decided to leave," said Gerta Durrance.

Gerta and Steve Durrance left Tampa with their two small children and headed to a hotel in Slidell.

When they finally arrived, they received disappointing news.

"Once we arrived there, there was no rooms. They told us that the hotel was overbooked, and there was a mistake with the computer. But they told us there was a lady who called us and she's offering her apartment," Durrance said.

"I met them at a gas station and followed them back down there," Luscy said.

Luscy did the same for another family, as well. Besides giving them an apartment for free in the French Quarter, she also cooked for the families.

"It was very nice of this person that we did not know. She took us in and she helped us. We are very grateful for people like this, that they still exist," Durrance said.

Luscy said she felt compelled simply because of her own experience during Katrina.

"I had the money in my pocket. That was it. There was so many people. When we were out eating, that would pay for our dinner. It was crazy, so every time I have an opportunity to do anything to help anybody, it's like karma. I will always pay it forward just because it's the right thing to do," Luscy said.

The Durrance family said their home was not damaged, and they plan to head back on Wednesday.

This was their first time to New Orleans, and they say they've fallen in love with the city.

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