Left: Zack Rosenburg, co-founder of St. Bernard Project
Right: Liz McCartney, co-founder of St. Bernard Project, with Caitlin and Lindsey
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina totally eradicated St. Bernard Parish, a county adjacent to New Orleans Lower 9th Ward. The eye of Katrina passed over the county that day, pushing a 25-foot storm surge into the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. The parish levees failed, and 100% of the homes were flooded and left uninhabitable. Within fifteen minutes, a vibrant, hard-working population of 65,000 residents suddenly found themselves displaced when 6-20 feet of floodwater nundated their homes and businesses and stayed for two weeks.
Two people made their way from Washington D.C. to St. Bernard Parish in the spring of 2006. Their intent was to lend their hands to the rebuilding efforts in the region. They were shocked to discover there was no aid for the families who yearned to return home. No one was there to help the thousands displaced by the storm.
He was a criminal defense attorney. She was a teacher. Both gave up their jobs, moved to St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, and founded a non-profit organization called St. Bernard Project to rebuild homes. Their names are Zack Rosenburg and Liz McCartney. As of July 2008, over 140 homes have been rebuilt by St. Bernard Project.
There is still more work to do - thousands of homes still need to be rebuilt. Because St. Bernard Project uses volunteer labor, they can rebuild a home for $12,000-$15,000.