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Monday, May 02, 2011

GOOD MONDAYS: Rebuilding After Disaster

On Thursday, I'll board a flight and head to New Orleans for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The Jazz Fest has become a bit of a family tradition and this will be our fourth year attending, as well as my sixth trip to the city.

I fell in love with New Orleans in an unconventional way. Before Hurricane Katrina I had never visited the area and didn't really have any interest in doing so. But when Katrina hit, I felt a connection to New Orleans that I couldn't quite explain. I was in a senior in high school at the time and ended up writing a story about families who were taken from their rooftops straight to recovery centers nearby my home in Michigan. When the story was finished, I began planning my first trip to help with rebuilding. Later, I wrote an article for my college paper about my second rebuilding trip (photo below: I definitely did not choose to match my hard hat with my shirt) and the impact it had on me, and why I continued to return to help the city.

I haven't participated in any rebuilding activities for a few years, but continue to support the city and look forward to my annual trip on an almost daily basis. In fact, the beautiful community I discovered and continue to admire in New Orleans inspired the Fleur de Lis tattoo that adorns my right wrist.

So what does this have to do with books? Well, right as I was about to create this week's GOOD MONDAYS post, I stumbled up "Rebuilding After Disaster: The Biloxi Model Home Program". The book is the story behind The Biloxi Model Home Project, an initiative of Architecture For Humanity.

The goal of the program is to provide design services and financial assistance for the construction of homes that for families in Biloxi, Mississippi whose houses were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Families are paired with a team of professional designers who work with them one-on-one to design a new home for their property that is not only affordable but is also sustainable and meets the area's new building requirements.

What an absolutely wonderful project. So many people seemed to forget that New Orleans wasn't the only city devastated by the hurricanes. Although I personally worked with Habitat for Humanity, I think it is such a great idea to have the designers working with families to build homes that work for them. So often I think we align "green" homes with lots of dollar signs, but these homes are sustainable and affordable.

To learn more about Architecture for Humanity, CLICK HERE, or to jump right ahead to purchasing the book (do it) CLICK HERE.

(images mine or Architecture for Humanity)


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