Lorraine, my mother in law, bought her first house in July, 2005, and stayed in it 3 nights before the levees failed and flooded New Orleans. Her Gentilly house took on about 8 feet of water, and she was stranded at Charity Hospital, where she worked, for 5 days. She stayed in Houston for a bit, then Atlanta, and moved back to our house in late Oct., 2005. Her flood insurance literally kicked in hours before the levees broke, and she received a good payout. She promptly had the house gutted and the roof replaced, then spent a year waiting out the machinations of the Louisiana Road Home Program. She hired Joe, a contractor out of Tennessee, in Feb., 2007, who said her house would be finished by Mother’s Day. He quickly got to work, but a couple months later work just stopped. We could no longer get Joe on the phone. It turned out Joe had spread himself too thin and got hung up in some shell game of using money from one person to pay for another person’s job–or worse. Around the first of the year, Joe’s (former) partner, Robert, contacted us and said he would finish the job for Lorraine. Joe had apparently left many people in the lurch. Robert, however, has made slow, steady progress on the house, and he has assured Lorraine she will not have to pay another penny to complete the renovation. He answers his phone. We’re hopeful she’ll be in by Mother’s Day.

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