Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Poetry Lady Gets a House

ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN SEA COAST ECHO 12-6-2006 (see link below for original story)
Lane Shaw will begin again very modestly, in what has become known as the Katrina Cottage, a 12 X 24 little dynamo of a house, that can withstand hurricane force winds. Builders Without Borders of Houston, Tex., are building the home and Lagniappe Church in Bay St. Louis linked them with Lane. Most people would probably say they remember Lane as the "poetry lady," and if her plans go well, she hopes to be known as that once again. Before the storm, Lane was the keeper of a collection of poetry books and a mentor for local poets. The books and the poetry center went with Katrina when she blew through, but Lane survived, barely, in a room with neighbor Darlene Casanova, just one house off the beach in Bay St. Louis. The upstairs room and the stairwell were the only part of the home that stood. Lane had been talking with Darlene about buying the 80 year old home, she said, and when the storm came, Darlene refused to leave. The house, after all, had survived Camille with little more than a scratch. But this wasn't Camille. "The winds that came with the surge were amazing," said Lane. "Roofs were flying by and then we saw a car – it flew through the air just like someone was driving."
Assistant Pastor of Lagniappe Church in Bay St. Louis Curt Moore consults with Lane Shaw about plans for her Katrina Cottage.
While the women struggled up the stairs, the roof came down, breaking Lane's arm. They sat in a shower stall and sang "Jesus Loves Me," Lane said, the only thing that seemed to calm Darlene. When the storm passed, sheriff's deputies rescued the women. Lane found her dog Kai, who had survived on a cedar chest that had floated on top of debris. The women were taken to a shelter at Bay High School. A place, Lane said, not equipped to deal with the elderly or injured. With many wheel chairs and supplies commandeered by other relief efforts, the elderly had to be carried, she said. "But there were many heroes at the shelter, many people who volunteered to help others," Lane said. After six days she was able to help Darlene get to Mobile. Darlene passed away this past summer, Lane said. Lane went to New York to be near her daughter. Now she is home and floating between friends, she said. With most of her money going to medical expenses over the past year, Lane wasn't sure how she would find her way into a home of her own, but in the meantime she discovered a wonderful spirit, she said, at the Lagniappe Church in Bay St. Louis. "We try to present that it is okay that you are not perfect," said assistant pastor Curt Moore. "Everyone is broken." The church has a five-year plan to help in the rebuilding, Moore said, and so far the church has helped put over 100 residents back in homes and helped over 1,000 people with supplies. With two general contractors, a social worker on staff, and the capacity to house about 300 volunteers, the church is serious about the business of recovery. The relationship with Builders Without Borders is a new one, that Moore hopes will help to transition people out of trailers. It also gives people the opportunity to help, even if they can't make the trip to Mississippi. Lane's cottage will be built in a parking lot in Houston and trucked to its final resting place on Sycamore St. The 300 square foot home will be equipped with a stove, microwave, and a refrigerator, two bedrooms, a bath and a kitchenette. The cottages usually range from 200 to 900 sq. ft. it is designed so that it can later be turned into an addition or a mother-in-law cottage, said Moore. The church inherited equipment and supplies from the Morrell Foundation when they left the area, said Moore. After rehabbing the old West Lumber building, the church also became a construction business, hotel and restaurant, of sorts, Moore said. Since then the donations and outpouring of assistance has been amazing, offering a large number of people who have never had the opportunity to offer assistance and volunteer their help the chance to do so. You don’t have to be a church member to receive help, but of course, Moore says, everyone is welcome at services which are held at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday. Information on Builders Without Borders can be found on their website at The group has been involved in relief efforts since it delivered the first truckload of food donated by the citizens, churches, and businesses of Friendswood, Tex. in September 2005.
Link to the original Article

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