Mundelein volunteer to help Katrina victims

Published: 10/29/2007 12:06 AM

More than two years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, a Mundelein resident is headed to Louisiana to help rebuild homes there.

Dana Potts will work in St. Bernard Parish with a San Francisco nonprofit group called One Brick from Nov. 5-9.

One Brick volunteers from elsewhere in the Chicago area, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are participating in the effort, too.

Potts, who's an event coordinator with One Brick, was inspired to join the effort by a friend, Laura Olivares of Mundelein, who worked in the parish earlier this year with the group.

"She said it was an awesome trip and (I) had to go," said Potts, 32, a local marketing manager for Sprint.

A coastal area southeast of New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish was ravaged by the storm and resulting flooding. Every residential and commercial building in the parish was damaged and rendered uninhabitable, according to One Brick's Web site,

Many neighborhoods, including upscale areas, remain deserted. Olivares, who went there in July with One Brick, recalled seeing bicycles and other personal belongings still on the ground where residents abandoned them as they fled the storm two years ago.

"I was amazed at how devastated it still was," she said. "(It was) like a ghost town."

Olivares said Potts can expect to work six- to eight-hour days, repairing damaged homes or building new ones.

Potts is looking forward to the experience the camaraderie it brings.

"Everyone says they're long days, but they're not long days when you're working with a great group of people," he said.

As for Olivares, she's not making this trip but hopes to return to St. Bernard Parish with One Brick.

"I'm definitely going again," she said.