In 2005, levee breaches from Hurricane Katrina rendered virtually all the homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward uninhabitable. In the wake of that devastating storm, a nonprofit organization, lowernine.org, was formed to assist in the long-term recovery of the Lower Ninth Ward. “It is our mission and our goal to allow every one of those displaced homeowners to return home to their community,” said Laura Paul, executive director for lowernine.org.
Clay Pruitt, Regional Sales Representative for Atlas Roofing Corporation, recalled how he learned about lowernine.org and became set on involving Atlas Roofing with the group. “The director of lowernine.org, Laura Paul, and I share a mutual acquaintance, Paul LaGrange, who hosts a local radio show called Paul's Home Improvement Show,” said Pruitt. “I often listen to his program and Laura was his guest for a show on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. She talked about lowernine.org’s continuing efforts to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward.” Hearing Paul describe the dedication of her organization to rebuild the homes damaged by Katrina struck a chord with Pruitt.
Putting A Plan In Place
“Here in Louisiana, like many places in the country, we lean on each other when times are tough,” said Pruitt. “In the decade that followed Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents have worked very hard to return to their homes and rebuild the neighborhoods.” Louisiana, and the city of New Orleans, has always been an important market for Atlas Roofing and Pruitt believed helping with the recovery effort would be a good way for the company to give back to the community. “So I reached out to Laura, we arranged to meet and then I presented some assistance possibilities to the executives of Atlas Roofing Corporation.”
Pruitt, together with Atlas Roofing executives, met to consider possible ways for Atlas Roofing to assist in Lowernine’s rebuilding efforts. “We outlined an initial scope of work between Atlas Roofing and lowernine.org that began with a donation of roofing materials,” he said. “This seemed to be the most practical way for Atlas to lend a helping hand.”
Atlas Roofing delivered products to lowernine.org for use on this restoration project, with plans to donate products for one more at a later date. “Atlas Pinnacle® Pristine shingles and Atlas Pro-Cut® Hip and Ridge, both featuring Scotchgard™ Protector, were donated,” said Pruitt. “In addition, Atlas Pro-Cut® Starter Strip and Atlas Gorilla Guard® underlayment were also given to build a truly solid roof for this house.”
The Top For The Top
The roofing materials Atlas donated to lowernine.org are among the best products the company manufactures. Pinnacle® Pristine is a high performance architectural shingle. It was developed to protect roofs in the algae "danger zone." Roof algae spores are most prevalent in places where there is significant humidity, such as New Orleans. Pinnacle® Pristine shingles are manufactured with Scotchgard™ Protector that helps a roof maintain its aesthetic appearance and is guaranteed to resist the black streaks caused by algae.
Atlas Pro-Cut® Hip & Ridge shingles also feature Scotchgard™ Protector and provide superb protection by capping the external angles of a roof to give the restored homes in New Orleans a terrific, finished look. They provide peak performance in hip and ridge protection and are pre-cut for a more consistent job every time. Atlas Pro-Cut® Shingle Starter Strips protect a roof’s edge and provide the hold-down features needed to provide high wind resistance at the critical roof areas of the eaves and rakes.
Atlas also donated Gorilla Guard® roofing underlayment, the unseen component of a roof system that adds an extra layer of defense and durability on every roofing installation job. Atlas put its innovative product knowledge and industry expertise to work to create this line of engineered roof underlayment. Gorilla Guard® was designed to outperform traditional felt roof underlayment by adding a specially developed formulation of additives to the glass fibers.
What Happens Next?
“Our arrangement at this time is to provide roofing materials for another house to be installed later this year,” said Pruitt. “We will then monitor the organization’s progress and continue to help when we can.” Paul stated, “We cannot express fully enough how much we appreciate the support given by Atlas Roofing.”
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has set 2025 as the closeout year for Katrina-related assistance projects. According to Paul, conservative estimates have the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward taking another decade.
“Donations of materials, such as those by Atlas Roofing, are one of the main ways that we are able to do our work affordably and effectively,” she said. “The efforts of lowernine.org to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward are ongoing and donor support will allow us to continue this important work.” Visit their website here to learn more about how to help lowernine.org.