Law Fraternity Travels to New Orleans to Aid Katrina Victims

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Law Fraternity travels to the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, LA to help an elderly homeowner recover from Hurricane Katrina. For many elderly uninsured homeowners, volunteer groups are the only means for them to recover personal belongings. More than seven months after Katrina, much of the Ninth Ward remains in ruins.

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Service to the Student, the Profession and the Community.

On Saturday April 1, 2006, the NYC Alumni Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International ("PAD") and Operation Helping Hands of New Orleans teamed up to clean and gut a home located in the Ninth Ward, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. More than 40 volunteers generously devoted their time, money and labor to give back to a community still very much in need. The event, called the PAD FlyAway, is usually organized as a fun weekend trip to locations such as New York City, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico or St. Kitts. However, this year, attorney Stephen J. Savva, the Justice (President) of the NYC Alumni Chapter, and other PAD leaders decided that bringing a group of volunteers to New Orleans was more


Partnering with Catholic Charities USA, who runs Operation Helping Hands in New Orleans, the PAD FlyAway Group was assigned to clear debris, recover personal belongings and gut a two-family home located at 1316-18 Reynes Street. The FlyAway team was comprised of more than 40 attorneys and students traveling from California, Florida, New York, New Jersey and within Louisiana.

The FlyAway team witnessed first-hand the complete devastation that

continues to exist in the lower Ninth Ward. Written in orange spray paint on a home across the street were the words "1 DOG DEAD" and "FL1" -- indicating that a one person was found alive and one pet was found dead at the home. On the front lawn of 1316-18 Reynes Street, was an overturned SUV apparently left behind by the receding flood waters from the breached levees.

The conditions discovered inside 1316-18 Reynes Street were nothing short of heart-wrenching. Armed with masks and gloves, the FlyAway team removed tons of debris, clothing, furniture and appliances one piece at a time with respect and care. The FlyAway team carefully sifted through the debris to recover personal belongings such as jewelry, photographs, statues and a handful of other personal items. Although the vast majority of the items found in 1316-18 Reynes Street were unsalvageable, the foundation of the home appeared sound.

After completing work, the FlyAway group was informed that the home was owned by Mrs. Rose Migliore, an elderly woman afflicted with Polio with no insurance. Unfortunately, too many residents on Reynes Street had no insurance. Although many months have passed since Katrina passed over the Ninth Ward, Reynes Street remains mostly vacant, with no running water or electricity and little evidence of any construction. The only noticeable traffic is a Red Cross truck occasionally passing by to provide food and water to volunteers and

homeowners working in the area.

Upon returning to the Le Pavilion Hotel, members of the team had an

opportunity to speak with Mrs. Migliore on the telephone. Mrs. Migliore was most gracious and appreciative of the fact that someone cared enough to travel to New Orleans to help her. She told the group of volunteers that her home had been built by her husband and brother-in-law several decades ago. The group reported to Mrs. Migliore that they found some of her personal belongings and that the fine workmanship of her husband and brother-in-law was evident once the home had been cleared of its contents. After hearing the joy in Mrs. Migliore's voice, it became clear to all involved in the FlyAway program that New Orleans was the perfect location for the 2006 PAD FlyAway.

On Sunday April 2, 2006, Mr. Savva and fellow PAD Alumnus Carmen McCormick, Esq., met briefly with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin at the Le Pavilion Hotel to provide him with information about 2006 FlyAway. Mr. Savva requested that the Mayor's office send a letter of encouragement that could be shared with Mrs. Migliore and the rest of the FlyAway team. Mayor Nagin was most gracious in telling Mr. Savva and Ms. McCormick that he would take care of it and accomodate their request.

For many uninsured homeowners in New Orleans and other cities dealing with natural disasters, programs administered by PAD's NYC Alumni Chapter, Catholic Charities, the Red Cross and other national relief organizations are the only means for residents to recover their personal belongings and begin rebuilding. For those who have not personally witnessed the conditions created by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, they continue to be far more extensive than what is generally known or reported. Scores of cars remain overturned, miles of homes exist as piles of debris and food continues to decay in water-logged refrigerators scattered throughout the area.

As the 2006 hurricane season rapidly approaches, we must all remember that this is a national tragedy that can and probably will happen again. Until and unless we prevent natural disasters, which does not appear likely, the road to recovery continues to be just one home at a time.

PAD's NYC Alumni Chapter is proud to have traveled to New Orleans in

furtherance of the Phi Alpha Delta's mission of "Service to the Student, the Profession and the Community." The New York City Alumni Chapter hopes to return to New Orleans with a new group of volunteers in the near future.

The complete list of volunteers and sponsors that made the 2006 PAD FlyAway possible are: Corbin Adams; Christopher Bordenave; Jessica Boyd; Marilyn Callwood; Brittney Clark; James Erwin; Shari Erwin; Aliciamarie Falcetta; Leon Feingold; Cassie Ford ; Giselle Gaviria; Erica Gibson; Channing Guidry; Arnold Hirsch; Marguerite Holmes; Chelsea Howard; Angela Howard; Kristi Kligerman; Janise Lampley; Iriane Lee; Annice Littlejohn; Nova Southeastern University; Samantha Maitland; Carmen McCormick; Erin McKenna; Tiffany Morris; JohnPaul Ogbuokiri; Dru Pardo; Randall Poerschke; Daria Pratcher; Quality Built; Kimberly Rescola; Trevor Rescola; Kasey Robinson; Monique Sawyer; Stephen J. Savva; Amanda Sidari; Emerald Skipper; Rodney Sparrow; Bryan Stephany; Dawn Sullivan; Sharee Tucker; and Nicole Washington.

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PAD FlyAway Team in Front of HomePAD FlyAway Team in Front of HomePart of the PAD FlyAway Group wearing Hard Hats Donated by Quality Built. Attorney & PAD NYC Alumni Chapter Jusitce Stephen Savva pictured 2nd row, second from left in white t-shirt. Debris Removed From HouseDebris Removed From HouseOnce a home to Mrs. Miglore, almost all of its contents are now debris that must be disposed of. Only a handful of items were salvaged.Home Resting on Upside Down TruckHome Resting on Upside Down TruckThe force of Katrina's wind and the flooding caused this house to come to rest on an overturned truck.Lakeside Waterfront Homeowner With A Sense of HumorLakeside Waterfront Homeowner With A Sense of HumorThis photo contains a home where the owner has spraypainted a "For Sale" sign indicating "Slight Water Damage."Rebuilding the LeveesRebuilding the LeveesSubstantial work still remains to rebuild levees near the Lower Ninth Ward. With the 2006 huricane season just a few months away, much work remains to be done.FlyAway Team Removing Debris & Items From HomeFlyAway Team Removing Debris & Items From HomePictured are the appliances, flooring and other items that were removed from the home at 1316-18 Reynes Street.View of Mitsubishi SUV on Front Lawn of 1316 Reynes St.View of Mitsubishi SUV on Front Lawn of 1316 Reynes St.Pictured is the front of 1316 Reynes Street as the FlyAway Group continues to remove debris and gut the home. Also pictured is a refridgerator that was full of spoiled food and flood water.View of the Cleared Areas in Home and Wood Foundatio FloorsView of the Cleared Areas in Home and Wood Foundatio FloorsPictured is the home after all debris, warped floorboards and other items were removed. Note the condition of the floors build decades ago by the homeowners husband and brother-in-law who used square head nails.FlyAway Team Working Together to Help New OrleansFlyAway Team Working Together to Help New OrleansThe clearing and removal of debris and other items in the house was all done by hand by the FlyAway team. The men and women working on this project shared this work equally.Search & Rescue Markings on HomesSearch & Rescue Markings on HomesWhile many homeowners were saved on Reynes Street, family pets were not and were later found inside the homes. Unfortunately, in this home a dog was found dead.