St. Martin Family Says Neighborhood Recovery Slow

Members of a Jackson County family say the neighborhood where they've spent most of their lives isn't recovering well from Katrina. George Canette lost his St. Martin home and so did his sister. One is moving forward and one is not.

Volunteers are building George Canette a new house on Race Track Road in St. Martin. The 85-year-old says without that generosity, his property would still be as empty as most others in neighborhood.

"Lot of houses," remembered Canette. "Everywhere you looked, they had a house. Everything is gone now."

Canette's sister Marie Reinhart has been down this road before.

"Second time I lost my home. Lost it in Camille, too."

Reinhart says after Camille her husband rebuilt the house with the help of an SBA loan. Now her husband is deceased and she's hoping for an homeowner's grant. Reinhart lives in a FEMA trailer around the corner from where her brother's house is under construction. It's just a few feet from the slab that was once her house. She says a volunteer group has offered help, but she must first find the money to pay for the materials.

Reinhart said, "I just don't have the money to rebuild. I'm disabled and I just get so much a month."

Reinhart and Canette say nearly two years after Katrina, there isn't much building going on. The family estimates 90 percent on the homes destroyed on and around the St. Martin side of Race Track Road haven't been rebuilt.

"There was one home after another, all over, all these streets," said Reinhart. "And now to look at it, you'd think there was nobody hardly living here."

"Some of them claim the insurance is going to be too high," said Canette. "Some of them say they don't want to put up with this anymore, you know, another hurricane like that."

The volunteers helping build George Canette's house are from Connecticut. They say they are working through Lemoyne Boulevard Baptist Church in Jackson County.