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November 29, 2006 Press Release

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Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe

P.O. Box 416

Montegut, LA 70377



November 29, 2006

Contact:  Chairman Charles Verdin at (985) 856-5336

Pointe-au-Chien Cultural Preservation Office (985) 594-5757

Louisiana Coastal Tribes Coalition (225) 485-8765

Due to collaborative efforts between the Mennonite Disaster Service, the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe, the Louisiana Coastal Tribes Coalition and many other partners, a new home for Pointe-au-Chien tribal members Forest and Ann Billiot will be dedicated on Thursday, November 30, 2006.  The Dedication Ceremony and Open House will occur at 1 P.M. at 3911 Oak Point Road in Pointe-au-Chien.  Representatives from the Louisiana Office of Indian Affairs and partners from across the United States who assisted in the project will be in attendance. 


The 2005 Hurricane Season impacted many homes in this small Native American community located in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes.  At the request of Steve Cheramie Risingsun, Mennonite volunteers came to Pointe-au-Chien to help rebuild after Hurricane Rita caused wind damage to homes.  While assisting in the recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina, some Mennonite volunteers experienced Hurricane Rita's nine-foot storm surge that flooded many of the homes.  Due to the need for assistance in recovery and rebuilding, the Mennonite Disaster Service coordinated and facilitated an ongoing project to respond to this need. 


The Mennonite Disaster Service coordinated the effort to build homes in the tribal communities.  Working with the Mennonite Disaster Service, tribal leaders identified dilapidated and unsafe homes caused by repetitive flooding and hurricane winds and homes that require elevation or repairs. 


Shelter for Life International, through its partners, arranged for the building of the home.  Flad & Associates, an architectural and engineering firm based in Madison, Wisconsin designed the home.  The house was built off-site by Berean Baptist Church in Mansfield, Ohio.  Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers assembled the house in Pointe-au-Chien.  The Terrebonne Readiness and Assistance Coalition, Grace Lutheran Church and Catholic Social Services also partnered with Shelter for Life in this project.  The house is built to withstand 155 mph winds and is elevated fourteen feet above the ground to prevent future flooding and wind damage.  


Funds for the home's pilings and foundation were donated by the National Congress of American Indians, France-Louisiane, the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe, the Louisiana Coastal Tribes Coalition, and Catholic Social Services. 


The Louisiana Coastal Tribes Coalition was formed to assist in rebuilding and recovery efforts.  The completion of the Billiot home marks the first home built in the Community since the storm. This home could not have been made possible without the assistance of all the partners in the effort.  The Coalition hopes to raise funds to help build at least fifteen additional homes and to repair homes for tribal members.  The Coalition has found support from the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee to continue these efforts, but more assistance is needed.  Funds to assist in this effort can be mailed to Louisiana Coastal Tribes Coalition at 114 Retreat Drive, Bourg, LA  70343.