‘Captain America’ repairs hurricane-stricken roofs in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Actor Anthony Mackie was not wearing his Captain America shield when he returned to his hometown of New Orleans to help repair hurricane-damaged roofs, but for the residents of his old neighborhood, knowing that their tarp-covered roofs were fixed was a blockbuster success.
Mackie is working with GAF, one of the nation’s leading roofing manufacturers, to repair roofs for homeowners in New Orleans that were damaged in last year’s Hurricane Ida. The project is particularly close to Mackie’s heart. The actor who currently plays Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe grew up in New Orleans working at his family’s roofing business.
“It gives me a sense of pride to serve my people. I know what people are going through in this neighborhood because I was born in this neighborhood, I grew up in this neighborhood,” he said. “It’s important to me to bring back the gifts and blessings I’ve received outside of town.”
GAF, a subsidiary of Standard Industries that makes products such as shingles, underlayments and other roofing-related products for homes and businesses, has committed to installing 500 roofs across the Gulf region. . This includes 150 rooftops in New Orleans’ 7th Ward, an area that was battered both by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and then by Ida which struck on the same day 16 years later. The roofing effort is part of the company’s Community Matters program launched in 2020 which has already repaired or replaced 3,000 roofs.
New Orleans resident Larae Barard said she had just spoken with her mother about her concerns about her roof when she got the call that her roof would be fixed.
“They said, ‘We want to fix your roof.’ I said, ‘Really?! It must be a miracle,” she said. “After Ida, my roof was in a terrible state. It had a blue tarp on it for almost a year and a month now… So thank God I have a new roof.
GAF also trains people in roofing skills through its GAF Roofing Academy. They teamed up with Rebuilding Together New Orleans who provide the labor while GAF provides the materials and pays the costs. William Stoudt, executive director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans, said the groups were specifically looking to help those who didn’t have the financial or physical means to fix their roofs themselves – homeowners who were often elderly or disabled and earned less. $35,000 per year.
“Who are the people who will struggle the most to come back? We are talking about low income homeowners. We are talking about elderly people, people with disabilities, maybe veterans or single women heads of families. We’re talking about people making New Orleans what it is,” Stoudt said.
The company and Mackie were recently in New Orleans removing blue tarps from homes damaged by Ida and replacing the tarps with new roofs.
Mackie, whose family owns Mackie One Construction, grew up in the roofing business before embarking on an acting career that included the hits “We Are Marshall” and “The Hurt Locker.” In recent years, he’s appeared in numerous Avengers films as Sam Wilson – aka Falcon – and reprized the role of Captain America.
Mackie jokingly remembers the time he fell off a roof while working at his family’s construction company. A thick layer of mud cushioned his fall. That memory didn’t stop him this time from getting back on the roof and helping pull down the tarps and remove the old shingles. Mackie said the resources GAF dedicates to the project help people who otherwise couldn’t afford to have their homes repaired.
“There are so many houses in this neighborhood and in this city that are still covered. When you land in New Orleans, it’s become a sea of blue tarps. The one hundred and fifty houses that GAF is building in the 7th arrondissement breaks down a lot of obstacles for people who won’t have the means to do so. The 500 houses that they have committed to doing, that breaks down a lot of barriers for people,” he said.
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