Special for the National Trust for Historic Preservation by Alex Lemann
When Audrey Smith first made contact with the National Trust Emergency Assistance Team in the spring of 2006, she had already been working on her house for months. Although she was living in Gretna and her neighborhood was still closed to permanent residents, Mrs. Smith began work on her house only a month after the storm, making the trip to Holy Cross on weekends with her son to clear out waterlogged furniture, gut the house, and do whatever they could to help her get home. After Kevin Mercadel, program officer for the National Trust’s New Orleans Field Office, conducted a site visit for Mrs. Smith in May and helped draw up a scope of work for her house, she quickly took over, hiring a contractor and putting her scanty insurance and FEMA money to work. “We were really impressed by her drive,” Kevin says. “She used our report with the limited funds she had, and she took charge of the project herself.”
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