South Central Conference Disaster Ministry - New Orleans

March 14, 2008

Hurricane Katrina Response in New Orleans

March 2008



Preparing an interior

door for installation


The work of Rebuilding

in New Orleans continues

at a steady pace. In

2008 there is a shift in the

work done through this ministry.

One shift is moving

from primarily working on

UCC church member homes

to people in the community

needing assistance.

It has taken quite a

while but the Long Term

Recovery Organizations

(LTRO) are working. Typically

after a disaster an



LTRO is set up in a community

made up of organizations

who have a

desire to help the affected

population recover. In

most instances once an

LTRO is formed it becomes

its own 501c3 entity

and will exist from that

point on in the event of another

disaster in the future.

In southeast Louisiana

there are nine LTRO’s,

one for each affected parish.

The United Church

of Christ has given funds to

four of the nine LTRO’s to

assist in hurricane recovery.

This office works with all

four of those on some level

but primarily with the LTRO

serving Orleans Parish.

How it works:

If a family is in need

of assistance, they are con-


nected with a case worker.

That person will determine

the unmet needs of the client,

making sure the needs

of the client are legitimate.

For a rebuild case, agencies

like ours do an estimate of

materials needed to return

the family’s home to pre-

Katrina living conditions.

Once all the information is

gathered it is presented at a

Roundtable. If this office

accepts a case, we become

the project manager of the

case overseeing all the work

of rebuilding until completion.

We provide volunteer

and contracted labor to complete

the reconstruction.

Cases are funded primarily

through Red Cross, Salvation

Army and the United

Way. (See LTRO p.2)






Using a wet saw to cut

ceramic tile flooring..

South Central Conference Disaster Ministry Office is located at:
Little Farms UCC, 135 Sauve Rd.
River Ridge, LA 70123.  Phone: 504-258-7306. 
Rev. Alan Coe, Minister for Disaster Recovery


1-8 makes our job easier.

If one person out of eight in a

group has home construction

skills and is able to lead a crew

on a project, it makes the work

week go by so much better.

The task of rebuilding homes

takes certain skills. To have


some people in each group

with those skills adds a great

deal to the ministry. Each

house has its unique challenges

in the rebuilding

process. Tim, our construction

supervisor has a plan of

work for each house. On

any given week we have

seven or eight active projects.

To more effectively

manage the weeks, having

that skilled person(s) in your

group allows the work to

flow more smoothly while

you are here.



De-nailing old boards to be

used in reconstruction


If I …..


If I had a crowbar

I’d smash out some drywall

I’d muck out some tub tile.

And make it all new.

I’d shovel out sadness,

I’d clean up the bad dreams

I’d do it with love between

my brothers and my sisters,

ALLL, all over this world….

If I had some dry wall,

I’d measure it just right,

And carefully cut it and screw

it up tight.

I’d make it a new dream, for a

home and a family. I’d fix it

up with love between my

brothers and my sisters,

ALLL, all over this world.

When I see a vision, of beautiful

new tile, I know I’ll need

shovels and hand chisels too.

I’ll rip out the losses and lay

down new tile board. I’ll

build it with love between my

brothers and my sisters,

ALLL, all over this world…..

We’ll we’ve got a crowbar,

and we’ve got the dry wall,

and we’ve got the vision—it’s

in me —it’s in you!

We’re using our feelings and

also our talents. We’re Christians

in love with all our

brothers and sisters.


LTRO continued

Those three agencies received millions of dollars in

donations for Hurricane Katrina. The Red Cross

and Salvation Army may each fund up to $20,000

per household. The United Way, $10,000. When a

case is presented, the three agencies determine who

is going to fund what portion of the work. Each

agency has its own restrictions on what and how

things are funded. In the case of the United Way

and Red Cross, we as an agency would receive

funds directly from them for a project. The Salvation

Army pays subcontractors directly and for the

materials such as paint, insulation, sheetrock, the

SCC Disaster Office receives a voucher to Home

Depot or Lowe’s for $10,000.

As an example, one project we accepted recently

and will start soon, has received $20,000 funding

from the Red Cross and $10,000 from Salvation

Army. The owner has $10,000 to contribute. Our

office did a material estimate of the project and

received estimates from a local plumber, electrician

and HVAC person. Once our office receives all the

funding, from the agencies, work will commence.

As this is written, we are waiting to receive a

$17,000 check from Red Cross.

Unlike church members, our office knows less

about the homeowner going into the project, just

that there is a need. Once work begins so does the

relationship with the homeowner.

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