On June 10, 2015, Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO), a local non-profit organization that utilizes volunteer labor to rebuild the homes of low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners, completed the rehabilitation of its 100th home since Katrina. This important milestone marked the culmination of a two-year effort to revitalize and expand RTNO capacity to account for and help alleviate the devastation Katrina caused across New Orleans.
The 100th home that was completed is that of Ms. Evelina Rodriguez, a lovely 81 year-old widow and Broadmoor resident who could not be more deserving of assistance from RTNO. Ms. Rodriguez, a former private duty nurse, raised four neighborhood children as her own at the request of their dying mother, all of whom she is close with to this day. Unfortunately since Katrina, Ms. Rodriguez, like so many other New Orleans residents, has been forced to suffer considerably—both as a result of her diabetes and the contractor fraud, which robbed her of the only assistance she received.
RTNO is one of the Preservation Resource Center’s (PRC) “bricks and mortar” programs that were designed to increase its impact on promoting historic preservation and restoration of historic homes and neighborhoods in New Orleans. Along with Operation Comeback, a program which restores and resells vacant and blighted properties that were proliferating due to population decline, RTNO expanded PRC from advocacy to direct action and provided a concrete, tangible avenue for promoting preservation and revitalizing neighborhoods.
Steeg Law’s Support of PRC
This milestone is especially significant for partner Randy Opotowsky, who has chaired the PRC’s Operation Comeback Property Advisory Committee since the early 2000’s, was President of the PRC when Hurricane Katrina occurred, and currently is on its Board of Directors and Executive Committee as an At-Large member. After Katrina, Mr. Opotowsky sponsored a modular house in partnership with the PRC and Cottage Living Magazine that was constructed in the classic New Orleans style that enabled the PRC to promote the city’s impressive recovery efforts. Along with Steeg Law, he has contributed to the PRC’s recovery programs and provided assistance in the restoration of vacant and blighted properties in several different neighborhoods.
“The PRC works in many ways to create awareness and assist property owners throughout the city,” says Mr. Opotowsky. “I believe that restoration of historic buildings is one of the most important things we can do for our economy here in New Orleans. I encourage everyone to learn more about the Preservation Resource Center, Rebuilding Together New Orleans and Operation Comeback.”
Click here to learn more about the Preservation Resource Center.