And, while some New Orleanians had mixed feelings about continuing the Mardi Gras tradition this year, Johnson believes it’s important to uphold traditions that make residents feel good. And, as he points out, “Not having Mardi Gras is not going to make us rebuild someone’s home any faster.”
Leslie Lomont-Relayson, designer for Cabinets by Design, based here, offers another perspective: “For the diehard New Orleanian, you’re born here, you’re raised here, and you die here, and nothing – not even a hurricane – changes that.”
So Mardi Gras, like life, goes on. She concludes: “[The bottom line is] people love this city too much, and there’s too much money here for people to just abandon it.”
Industry Veteran Provides Much-Needed Relief In the Aftermath of Katrina
NEW ORLEANS, LA – As a 30-plus-year veteran of Mattix Cabinets, Steve Frught had grown accustomed to helping people. Little did he know how much his help would be needed after Hurricane Katrina.
The day after the storm hit, Frught was determined to weather the storm, and initially elected to stay at his home in St. Bernard Parish. But, when the water rose to some six inches, he was forced to leave, using his boat to get to a hurricane-proof building, only to find it locked.
Undeterred, he chose to ride the storm out there, tying his boat to the building. “We saw buildings float by, and an architect’s desk with plans still on it.”
“Then we started hearing screams for help,” he said. Heeding the call, Frught rescued eight people from their flooded homes. The following day, while registering as an evacuee with the Red Cross, he volunteered to help in the relief effort and was deputized by the sheriff.
Working for 16 hours straight, he helped to land supply helicopters, unload supplies and mobilize stranded residents from their homes.
Today, Frught point outs that Katrina has altered his outlook in many ways. In fact, although his own home was a complete loss, he believes that he is quite fortunate.
“I got out of the house with my clothes and my wallet,” he said. “I have insurance and a job to go back to. A lot of people don’t have that.”
In fact, Frught notes that he plans to return to St. Bernard Parish “because it’s a very close-knit community. I want to go back, but don’t plan to for at least two years.”
In the meantime, Frught and his family are living in a mobile home, some 60 miles away. But, he quickly adds: “[In light of what’s happened], it feels like a castle.”