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St. Bernard Project Receives FONO's Hero Award - May 3, 2008

Today, at a construction site for local nonprofit St. Bernard Project, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) presented the organization with a Hero of the Storm award for its efforts to help the residents of St. Bernard parish rebuild and move back to their homes post hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The St. Bernard Project has been chosen as the fourth recipient of the award by Friends of New Orleans (FONO), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that advocates for New Orleans and its surrounding parishes.

The St. Bernard Project was founded in March 2006 by four volunteers committed to the relief effort. Inspired by the spirit and determination of the residents, the volunteers formed the organization to remove barriers that prevented these families from returning home. The organization is dedicated to rebuilding previously gutted houses and uses volunteer labor and donations to purchase building supplies. Currently, the Project is able to rebuild houses in 8-12 weeks for an average supply cost of $10,000-12,000 per house. To date, they have rebuilt 118 homes and, after recognizing a need for counseling, support services and affordable rental housing for seniors and disabled people, are currently developing programs to address these issues.

St. Bernard Project, along with the other Hero of the Storm award recipients, which to date include Tipitina’s Foundation, Fat’s Domino, Women of the Storm and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation will be honored before the national media, key leaders and delegates from across the country at events FONO is planning for the Democrat and Republican national conventions. The events will celebrate New Orleans by offering participants the chance to sample some of Louisiana’s unique music and cuisine, as well as raise awareness about the state of the region three years after the devastating hurricanes. FONO board member and actor John Larroquette will host the events, along with John Breaux, James Carville and Donna Brazile at the Democrat convention in Denver, and Billy Tauzin, Tommy Thompson and Mary Matalin at the Republican event in Minneapolis.

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