HOME AGAIN! And Again and Again and Again

In all, HOME AGAIN! has completed renovating or is working on the homes of more than 20 families who would not have been able to return without this assistance. Here are a few of their stories.

Peter Brink (left) and Richard Moe (center) offer homeowner Robert Smith a check to help refurbish his home.

Credit: Mary Fitzgerald

HOME AGAIN! is bringing more families back to the 5200 block of Dauphine Street in Holy Cross, where flood waters reached midway up the walls and mold crept toward the ceiling. In addition to the family home of Mildred Bennett, HOME AGAIN!, with the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans's (PRC) Rebuilding Together New Orleans, has totally renovated both sides of 5222-24 Dauphine, where Mrs. Bennett's son Robert Smith, a retired longshoreman, and his wife live in one half and their daughter and grandchildren in the other of the double shotgun. The Hearst Corporation generously helped sponsor the project, and senior writers and editors for some of Hearst's most popular magazines finished painting the double house a cheerful yellow. A Historic Building Recovery grant administered by the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation also provided funding for the renovation. National Trust President Richard Moe and Vice President Peter Brink were there the day that the Trust first handed over a check to Robert Smith to pay for the electrical work and again a year later when the Smiths moved back home.

HOME AGAIN! recently completed the total renovation of a bungalow at 5209 Dauphine St. where New Orleans Police Deputy Superintendant Lawrence Weathersby was raised and his mother, a substitute teacher, will live again. Weathersby was just about to help his dad repair and paint the house when Katrina struck. HOME AGAIN! contracted PRC's Rebuilding Together New Orleans to rehab the house, which had to be gutted and remediated for mold before the work could even start. Superintendant Weathersby has an affection for Dauphine Street that goes back to childhood. He remembers when Mrs. Bennett sold pickles to the neighbor children from her side porch and there were movie theatres, churches, corner stores and vegetable gardens throughout the neighborhood.

David McGraw, a cook at Galatoire's Restaurant, is restoring his mother's home and his own place next door (5212 and 5214 Dauphine). Volunteers from around the country spent many days gutting the two houses in preparation for the rebuild. The first HOME AGAIN! grant went toward new electrical wiring. The asbestos siding was removed to reveal the original weatherboards. McGraw's disabled niece will live in a section of the two-story house.


5208-10 Dauphine Street before rehabilitation (left). Homeowner Dorothy Mays stands inside after completing repairs (right).

Credit: Alex Lemann

The double camelback at 5208-10 Dauphine is owned by Dorothy Mays, who lived there from 1967 until 1972. During Katrina, part of the roof was ripped off by high winds and the house was flooded with  three or four feet of water. Mays says that doing the repairs has been well worth it. "These old houses have character. You just can't find that anymore." While the interior of the house is all but finished, a layer of green asbestos tiles was just removed from the exterior, revealing original drop siding underneath. Mays already has renters lined up for when the house is finished. "People out of town are just dying to come back to this neighborhood."

725 Lizardi Street before and after.

Credit: Alex Lemann and Walter Gallas

Around the corner on Lizardi Street, two more neighbors and relatives are almost ready to move back in thanks to HOME AGAIN! Cynthia Rice, age 61, lived at 725 Lizardi all her life before Katrina. She was the caretaker for a number of family members who also lived on the street. She will soon be back in her totally rehabilitated home on the street she loves. Her brother-in-law, Calvin Young, lives at 825 Lizardi St. He is a former Navy man who served in World War II, then worked as a boat repairman. His wife of 50 years, Bernadine, passed away in 2000, and he has one son and five grandchildren who all love his seafood gumbo.




The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.