New Orleans' Gentilly Neighborhood

1 decade 6 months 1 week ago March 22, 2006 Mar 22, 2006 Wednesday, March 22 2006 Wednesday, March 22, 2006 10:47:14 AM CST in News

People are starting to return to the area where the task force rescued people who were stranded on boats. Now, others are feeding the rebuilding process.

"In a community that six months ago was under water, muddy water, and it was coming fast," said James Bradley, Katrina survivor.

"We had some friends that were here and we were helping them," explained volunteer Pamela Anthony. "We got out a grill and started cooking in their backyard, and they invited some friends, some friends invited some workers, and we've never stopped doing it."

Pamela and Darrell Anthony spend their weekends a long way from home.

Pamela said, "When they come and they found out we're from Atlanta, they're like, 'Why are you here?' And I'm like, 'Where else should we be?'"

The Anthonys bring a taste of home for people who lost everything in the killer hurricane.

"I had to stop," said Katrina survivor Diana Rush. "And it was excellent. You can't beat it. That's the best thing, it's like coming home."

Rush called New Orleans home for 34 years, before Katrina flooded her out.

"We had various scares, and we'd leave town and come back and it'd be all right," she remembered. "And we just assumed this would be the same thing. And it just wasn't, wasn't the same way."

When Missouri Task Force One came through her neighborhood, it marked doors to show no one was inside. Now, some people are back, and it's time for them to pick up the pieces.

"If I'm here, I can take a few things and do it this way, take a few things and move it out that way," added Rush. "As long as I'm on site, I'm okay."

But, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been slow getting her back home.

"I think I was in a hotel like four months, and waiting for a trailer the whole time," Rush recalled. "I got the trailer in late January. Late January to late February, that's how long I had to wait to get the lights on."

Many other New Orleans residents still wait for power, or just a trailer, including Rush's children and grandchildren.

"I want this side of the house done before they come home," she said. "You know, they deserve that. So it could be, maybe next August."

In the meantime, Rush has a request.

"For those of you who don't know, and have never been here, you need to come and see it," she recommended. "You need to find out exactly what's happening."

And while you're here, have some barbecue.

"I know you'll see me standing over there with some kind of rib or chicken in my mouth," Rush added, "while I'm standing there talking to somebody."

Maybe you'll even decide to stay a while.

"We'd love to purchase the corner," said Anthony. "And we'd love to set up a for-profit side, and a non-profit side. And we want to feed the homeless people first, and we want to feed them different probably than most organizations do. We want to feed them the same thing that we eat, and we want top-of-the-line food. And we'd love to erect the building right here."

And while Katrina's victims wait for FEMA to cook up some help, the Anthonys have outfitted a trailer as a mobile kitchen, named "On the Corner."

At 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, on "Return to Ruin," KOMU will tell you about one mid-Missourian who is replanting her roots in New Orleans.

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