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The St. Bernard Project

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by Jessica Sullivan

The St. Bernard Project

A Note to our Boomer-Living Viewers:

The horrific images of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation on the Gulf Coast will be forever etched in our minds, of houses submerged with their rooftops barely visible and rescue boats reaching out to survivors or retrieving bodies from the water.

One of the hardest hit areas in New Orleans was St. Bernard where 100% of the homes and businesses were flooded and rendered uninhabitable. Just a few days later, one of the worst residential oil spills in U.S. history occurred when one of the local oil company’s holding tanks floated off its foundation and cracked, covering a large section of the flooded community with oil.

As the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, St. Bernard Project is asking for our help. To date, the St. Bernard Project has rebuilt the homes of 392 families but the recovery in the New Orleans area is not complete until the plea is answered for every family.

Boomer-Living applauds the heroic efforts of Liz McCartney, Zack Rosenberg and everyone involved with the St. Bernard Project. We encourage our viewers to help make a difference in the lives of those still waiting for housing, where every volunteer effort or donation brings someone closer to home.

Thank you.


Sande Grantz, pictured here with her son, lost her home and her family business in the storm. In 2008, her husband was working on their house when he suffered a heart attack and died. Since then, Sande has been struggling to find a way to rebuild her home and currently lives in a FEMA trailer. “Please don’t forget us.”

That was the plea Liz and Zack heard more than 5 years ago when they first came to St. Bernard. Despite all that has changed in our world in the last six years, sadly, for 10,000 families still struggling to rebuild the homes they own, the plea remains the same today.

In 27 days, six years will have passed since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and left the New Orleans area decimated and flooded, and left its citizens wondering if they would ever be able to come home. With contractor fraud and insufficient government support, too many families are still waiting. Indeed, even as SBP’s capacity has grown, our waiting list currently has 130 families on it. Put simply, today these families still wonder if they will be forgotten.

Thanks to doers, givers and solvers like each of you, the 392 families whose homes we have rebuilt know that they are not forgotten. But the recovery in the New Orleans area is not complete until the plea has been answered for every family.

Today we ask you to make sure these families know they are not forgotten. Please donate or raise funds to help us reach families still waiting.

We need your help to answer the plea for residents like Sande Grantz, who after raising four children and working for 20 years in the family furniture business, lost her home and business in the storm. In 2008, Sande lost her husband of 40 years, when, after a long day working on their home, he suffered from a heart attack and died. Sande has run out of funds to finish her home, and like 200 other families in the New Orleans area, she lives in a FEMA trailer while she struggles to rebuild her home.
To commemorate the 6th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we ask that you help us answer the plea in any of the following ways:

  1. Make a donation. Your donation buys needed building supplies, leverages our AmeriCorps members and funds vital mental health services. Put simply, your funds help families like Sande’s – who have done things the right way – return to their homes and lives. Click here to donate now.
  2. Host a house party fundraiser. Check out our fundraising page for ideas, or contact Kate.Schuman@stbernardproject.org to get started.
  3. Send letters or emails to friends, family and colleagues encouraging them to contribute. Set a goal: $50 from 10 friends, $25 from 20 friends or even $10 from 50 friends adds up quickly. Email Kate.Schuman@stbernardproject.org for a sample letter and check out firstgiving.com to set up a personalized online fundraising page to make your asks online and track your efforts.
  4. Ask a restaurant or retailer in your area to dedicate a portion of proceeds to SBP around the anniversary. Email Kate.schuman@stbernardproject.org for tips.


Thank you for all you’ve already done to help New Orleans area families still struggling to return home. We look forward to your continued support and partnership as we work to ensure that no family in New Orleans is forgotten.

Best wishes,
Zack, Liz and the SBP team

St. Bernard Project (SBP) is an award-winning rebuilding, nonprofit organization whose mission is to remove physical, mental and emotional barriers for vulnerable families, senior citizens and disabled residents who are struggling to recover from the devastation and trauma caused by Hurricane Katrina and the Oil Spill. With its innovative, vertically integrated construction system, SBP is poised to serve as a model for disaster rebuilding and affordable housing. With clients throughout the Greater New Orleans area, SBP reaches the communities most in need.




Tags: hurricane katrina st bernard project recovery charity donation

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