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Video: Louisiana family receives keys to new home

TODAY
updated 10/5/2005 10:09:48 AM ET 2005-10-05T14:09:48

Last week, thousands of volunteers worked tirelessly around the clock on Rockefeller Plaza building homes for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It's all come down to this moment, when the fruits of their labor finally pay off. In Slidell, La., the first house has reached its final destination for a very special family.

The story of Paulette Lindsey is one of quiet strength and determination — a symbol of this community, united while helping each other rebuild for the future.

Last year, she applied for a home from Habitat for Humanity, but Hurricane Katrina had made her need all the more urgent. Amid the modest and battered trailer called home for 20 years are memories of a life that's seen hardship and joy.

"The worst is over," she says. "You know we been spared. We're still living."

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Paulette's older sister, Marion, opened her small apartment to them after Katrina. Paulette, a single mother, and her children, Tiron and Tonishia, had a place to temporarily call home, though they sleep on the floor.

"We promised our mama before she died that we were going to look after each other," says Marion.

The school where Paulette worked as a custodian was closed because of hurricane damage. But another opened its doors, so she can still provide for her young children, who are struggling to understand what they've seen in the last month.

"They didn't really know what would happen, so that safety, that comfort zone wasn't there," says Paulette. "Every parent wants to do the best and give their children the best that they can give. and it made me feel like I failed them not being able to do it."

Still, Paulette Lindsey is a woman with great hope for a better future.

"I feel that I'm just a simple person that has been shown more love than I could ever have imagined," says Paulette. "I just feel blessed and honored to know that there is still love in this world."

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