Louisiana's Multifamily Family

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

We always knew that HUD's Multifamily Office in Louisiana was one body with two arms: one in New Orleans and one in Shreveport. We also realized that the hands and fingers on those two arms walked through the production and management of the near 400 multifamily sites in Louisiana, without much interaction. And then Katrina reared her ugly swash, washing away the homes and leaving breaking hearts amid the New Orleans arm.

[Photo: New Orleans and Shreveport Multifamily staff]
Ann Kizzier (back row, third from left) is the Multifamily Director in the New Orleans office. Tony Hernandez (back row, second from left) is Supervisory Project Manager in Shreveport

The Shreveport arm also froze, shocked at sites the media presented and fearful for the future of our most treasured city. When the thaw finally came, we jumped into the frenzy of helping all those who landed in our path. We welcomed our neighbors and praised them for their courage, all the while frustrated with the lack of housing resources that we faced to make them feel comfortable and at home.

And then we heard part of our New Orleans family would join us here: a welcomed message to prove our willingness to serve and our ability to fill some of the gap left from the storm. They arrived in pieces: Art Wells, the environmental engineer and production's chief showed up first and Miller Guice, the appraiser, followed closely on Art's heels. We were impressed with their professionalism and mesmerized by their stories of risk, loss, and abandonment. And we were stunned at the pictures Miller produced of familiar places in the lost city.

Ann Kizzier, our multifamily director, who forever will be known to us as fearless, followed them. Left with a shell of a house, she nonetheless focuses on those who lost more. Tyrone Harris, the construction analyst, joined in and the team immediately got to work, surveying the properties in the Shreveport area and interfacing with folks not usually seen in person. Clara Stansberry, production's assistant, was the last to come. And she quickly won our hearts with her soft voice and her pleasant mannerisms.

Our new family feels somehow more complete. We show them our city with pride and tell our city about them with even more pride. We learn quickly that HUD is lucky to have them. And we know that this time together has been a gift to the Shreveport arm. We cannot really feel their pain, but we know that when one of our arms is injured, the other arm will take over. The injuries to the New Orleans arm will heal and they will soon all be gone. But we in Shreveport want them to know that when they leave, our arm will be stronger for the time we shared.

Content Archived: September 09, 2009