Katrina draws him back to the Gulf Coast
Larry Avicola got
the call the day after Katrina hit.
He said everyone
(in the family) was alive but they needed help, outside help, because
the area was devastated, Avicola recalled in a recent interview.
Wed drive down the street and people would run out to us yelling, Help us, please help us.
Out of his own pocket
and from private donations, Avicola recently filled two trucks with supplies,
food and building materials. In mid-September, two weeks after Katrina
had hit, Avicola headed east to deliver the goods. Hed seen the
news coverage, and so he braced himself but nothing could prepare
him for viewing the damage firsthand.
down the street and people would run out to us yelling, Help us,
please help us. It would break your heart, he said. I
wish that wed had a crew of 50 or 100 people with us because we
just didnt have the time and manpower to help everyone.
them, Hey, we can donate four hours or so to help you,
he recalled. And pretty much, in most cases, we got more than we
bargained for. In four hours, you can take out the furniture and carpeting,
tear out the soggy drywall and insulation, and help them spray the mold
with bleach. Basically, wed get the drying out process
started for them.
BY EDUARDO PARDO / Photos courtesy of Larry Avicola