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Quickly built house draws attention in storm-ravaged area

The Associated Press , www.hattiesburgamerican.com - September 4, 2006

A new house in the flood-devastated Lakeview area of New Orleans is drawing interest in the area not just because of how it looks but because of how it was built.

It iseal to post-Katrina buyers who don?t want to take on the months-long effort involved in the traditional approach to rebuilding.

Weekend visitors to the house on New Orleans? West End Boulevard wanted to know things like what appliances come with the house and how long it takes for a home like it to be built, as well as cost and square footage.

Some were in the market for a new house while others came out of curiosity. Most marveled that the house looked as though it was built the old-fashioned way, rather than pre-made in a Austin, Texas, factory.

Tom Gordy, president of New Era, said several thousand visited the house over the weekend, more than he expected.

?It?s been phenomenal,? Gordy said Sunday.

Among the visitors Sunday were Pat and Lloyd Aucoin, of the badly flooded Mid-City neighborhood. They watched workers put the house together each day and ?wondered what it would look like at finish,? Lloyd said.

The couple lived in the Lakeview area for 25 years before moving to Mid-City. Their house had water and roof damage during Hurricane Katrina and is undergoing renovations.

The couple said that they want to return to Lakeview and came to see what a modular house looked like inside. They said they never considered such a home, but this one convinced them it might be the way to go for them and other New Orleanians anxious to get back home.

St. Bernard resident Patty Tufaro, whose house was destroyed during Katrina, said she came to look at the house not only for herself but for family members who also lost their homes. She said she wants a house that can withstand winds.

?We?re trying to do a comparison,? she said. ?We?re seeing what they have to offer.?

She said some of the pre-fabricated houses that were built in St. Bernard before the storm fell apart during Katrina.

Tufaro she likes the modular homes being built by another company because they can withstand 250 mph winds, but the Florida company isn?t building in this area.

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