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Empowerment and Community: Women Build 2019

Person flexing their bicep.

Three-hundred and fifty women worked 12 days to build a home. For the third year in a row, this home was built by women volunteers who had helped raise the money to build it. They worked alongside Michelle White, a mother of two who works as a massage therapist and nail technician. Her home, painted in the colors of graceful ballerina and Himalayan sky, reminds her of growing up in New Mexico. She came out to work almost every day of the build, never shying away from the hardest jobs–from trusses to roofing to breaking up concrete, she was there.

The first day of the build saw local organizations like the Lower Ninth Ward Homeowners Association and New Orleans Redevelopment Authority join City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen and Women Build volunteers and sponsors on site for the wall raising ceremony. Joining Michelle, they put the first wall in place and kicked off the start of construction.

The second day saw three-time team leader Riley Kennedy and her fellow Women of Woodward raising the trusses of the home. Some of the hardest work to do on each house, raising trusses requires team work and coordination both on the roof and inside the house. The women on the second day of the build finished the trusses in a single day!

On day three, the rains hit the build by lunch time, forcing us to delay for the day. The women of Krewe du Pontalba and United Rentals managed to complete a lot of work before the storm hit, though, and United Rentals provided lunch!

Volunteers made up for lost time, finishing the roof, installing windows, and preparing the interior for drywall. The end of the first week saw the house nearly completely dried in.

Before the build, many teams joined NOAHH for Hard Hat Bedazzling Parties or held their own. The start of week two saw some of the most creative designs joining us on site.

This year’s build brought new friends like the Design Build Chicks from Landis Construction and Trapolin Peer Architects.

And old friends like the NOLA Home Makers and the Well Builts.

Women from all backgrounds joined the build, learning new skills on site and working together to empower each other.

Despite record heat and hard work ahead of them, the teams kept to the tight build schedule and saw the home finished in only 12 days.

They persevered through the mud, heat, and detail work.

And by the end, Fidelity Bank’s Women With P.O.W.E.R. Tools and the Lady Swingers (Hammers, That Is) made sure the house looked amazing.

And Gulf Coast Bank’s Sweaty Betties made sure it was spotless for the dedication, where NOAHH was joined by team leaders, volunteers, city officials and local organizations, staff, and friends to celebrate Michelle’s accomplishment.

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