Family stories from the Carter Work Project 2008 -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Family stories from the Carter Work Project 2008

Read more stories of recovery in the wake of disaster in the Carter Work Project 2008 Homeowner Profiles booklet and the Family Update.

Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Gulf Coast – host affiliate families

The Juanita Page family
Having survived a hurricane and long-term displacement, Juanita Page was forced to deal with her greatest fear of all: cancer. Page had breast cancer surgery in February and is now going through all the follow-up treatments, which leave her emotionally and physically drained. What she looks forward to most is sleeping in her own bed.

   

The Christine Logan family
Because of her job, Christine Logan barely got out of town before Hurricane Katrina hit. Her daughter and grandson had already left. She caught a last-minute ride with a cousin, throwing just a few things in a bag: She’d only be gone overnight and she had no time to pack.

   

The Sherry Anderson family
Sherry Anderson knew it was going to be a long road to a complete recovery after Hurricane Katrina: “I just looked around and said, ‘We’ve got some work to do.” Her home’s rehabilitation will be completed during this year’s Carter Work Project.

   

The Melissa Jackson family
Melissa Jackson used to work as an emergency room technician at a local hospital. Now disabled, she must visit a hospital at least once a month as a patient. Her two sons have been of great help to her, though, and the entire family is looking forward to their new home with great expectations. Every day they can – with the help of Jackson’s sister – they drive by their Habitat house on School Street in Pascagoula and discuss decorating.

   

The Daisy Garner family
When Will Hall III celebrates his eighth birthday on May 14, his mom, Daisy Garner, will be working on a pretty impressive gift – a new home. Garner’s new home is one of many that will be constructed during this year’s Carter Work Project.

   

The Mary and Carla Bunch Family
Sisters Mary and Carla Bunch have been close all their lives. Along with 20 other family members, they also survived Katrina huddled together in Carla’s tiny home. So deciding that their Habitat houses would be built next door to each other was an easy choice.

   

The Magee Family
The family photos on bookcases, above the television and covering the coffee table in her small apartment are all that Barbara Magee and her two daughters had left of home after Katrina.

   

The Monroe family
Ronda Monroe was on call at the hospital when the storm rolled in, and four of her five children left town to stay with Ronda’s mother. The Monroe family was separated for five days after Hurricane Katrina. Now, the entire family is working together on their new Habitat home. “We are so looking forward to it,” Monroe said. “We get to own something we never owned before.”

Participating affiliate families

Alabama

Mobile: The Carlton family
A struggling waitress and mother of four, Margaret Carlton had almost given up on the ideas of homeownership and self-sufficiency before she applied to be a Habitat partner in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama. “I never thought in my life that I would ever have anything of my own,” she said. “But it’s possible.”

   

Mississippi

 

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Bay St. Louis, Mississippi: The Flores family
Stephanie Flores’ youngest son, Vincent, will turn 16 in May, just in time to help build his family’s new home in the Diamondhead community of Hancock County, Mississippi. But he already seems to grasp the concept of sweat equity: “It teaches you about helping others.”

   

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Waveland, Mississippi: The Fairconnetue family
After Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped her hometown off the map, Roxanne Fairconnetue traveled somewhat aimlessly from one friend’s home to another. Now she’s ready to come home to Waveland, Mississippi, and raise her children in her own home.

   

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The Barnes family
About a year after losing all her worldly possessions to the hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Lynnsey Barnes learned the real meaning of hardship, suffering temporary blindness and paralysis from a tumor on her brain. Going through the long, slow rehabilitation will be a little easier in a new home for her and her son, Cody, in Picayune, Mississippi.

Lucedale: The Phillips family
Earl and Belinda Phillips are making a big move. After living in a mobile home beside Earl’s parents’ house in Lucedale, Mississippi, for nearly 20 years, they’re moving a few hundred feet away—into a new, fully accessible Habitat home being built on the property for them and their teenage son, Blake, who has spina bifida.

   

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Jackson: The Brown family
Debra Boyd Brown’s oldest son, Stacy, learned some valuable skills recently when he helped build a porch on the family’s new Habitat house in Jackson, Mississippi. “Since he wants to be an architect,” Brown said, “building that porch was just a start for him.”

   

Meridian: The Dellsperger-Backus family
After losing everything they owned to Hurricane Katrina, Tiffany Dellsperger and Tony Backus and their two young children are starting over in Meridian, Mississippi. Their Habitat house is being built right next-door to her father’s, another evacuee from Chalmette, Louisiana.

   

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Hattiesburg: Latasha Hill and sons
For his seventh birthday, Darryl McDougal Jr. got the surprise of a lifetime: a brand-new house. The Habitat house was built in a 48-hour blitz by a crew of exceptionally skilled volunteers from First Baptist Church in Hattiesburg.

   

Louisiana

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The Watts family
Madeline Watts, a native of New Orleans, lost her apartment and her job when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. “There was no reason for me to go back,” she said. Now working as an admissions technician at a drug treatment facility, Watts and her extended family have started their lives over in Baton Rouge.

   

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New Orleans: The Anderson family
Vanessa Anderson and her family were among the thousands of displaced New Orleanians who sought refuge at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina washed away all their worldly possessions. Now, the family lives in a tiny shotgun house in a nearly deserted neighborhood as they wait for construction to begin on their new house, near the colorful rows of homes in Musicians’ Village.

   

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New Orleans: The Martin family
Chaquidra Martin and her bubbly 3-year-old daughter, Laila, share a love of reading: Mom likes the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, while little Laila favors Dr. Seuss. After this year’s Carter Project, they will also share a new home of their own in their native New Orleans.

   

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New Orleans: The Gray family
Takiva Gray and her two children, Allen and Jakia, were forced to leave everything behind when they evacuated from the Carrollton community of New Orleans as Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast. “The goal was always for us to get back to New Orleans and start our lives again,” Gray said.

   

Slidell: The Talamo family
In Slidell, Louisiana, Anthony and Jessica Talamo were anxious to take their children--7-year-old Nick, 5-year-old Margo and baby Sonni-Anne--to a Habitat construction site to meet some of the volunteer builders they had worked beside. At the site, volunteers swarmed the family, giving Nick and Margo guided tours of the house and taking turns holding their infant sister. “Each group of volunteers I meet is more amazing than the one before,” Jessica said.

   

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Thibodaux, Louisiana: The Trahan family
Diane Trahan’s big, boisterous family will move into a house in Thibodaux, Louisiana, that has a particularly inspirational story behind it – a story of great personal grief and transcendent generosity.

   

St. Tammany West: The Miller family
Alicia Miller was already making some important life changes before Hurricane Katrina struck and left them essentially homeless. Miller and her son, Joseph, had to rely on the generosity of friends “here, there and everywhere,” she said, until things started falling into place in Louisiana’s St. Tammany Parish West. “It turns out that storm was the best thing that could have happened to us.”

   

St. Tammany West: The Stewart family
After a tumultuous couple of years spent living far from their Louisiana home, 10-year-old Kennedy Stewart understandably has questions for her mother, Kimberley: ‘When we move into that house, that’s ours, right? We won’t have to move again?’

   

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Lake Charles: The Goodwin family
Jamie Goodwin and her three young sons will be moving next door to a familiar face after this year’s Carter Work Project: Her father, Thomas Goodwin, provided a vacant lot adjacent to his house in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where her Habitat house is being built. “It means a lot to be moving there,” she said.

   

Texas

Beaumont: The Prudhomme family
Gloria Prudhomme, a restaurant cashier, was forced to take matters into her own hands when her landlord in Beaumont, Texas, ignored her pleas to repair the lock on the front door of her run-down house: She nailed a 2-by-4 across the door. “We can’t get out,” she said, “but at least nobody can get in.”

   

Houston: The Warren family
Stephanie and Paris Warren Sr. face an all-too-common problem in Houston: Even before the 2005 hurricanes devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast, the southern Texas housing market was out of reach for many working people. With three jobs between them, the Warrens had been unable to find decent, affordable housing for themselves and their five children—until now.