NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Actor Anthony Mackie was not carrying his Captain America shield when he returned to his hometown of New Orleans to help repair hurricane-damaged roofs but for people in his old neighbourhood knowing their tarp-covered roofs were getting repaired was a blockbuster hit.
Mackie is working with GAF, one of the country’s leading roofing manufacturers, to fix roofs for homeowners in New Orleans who sustained damage during last year’s Hurricane Ida.
The project is especially close to Mackie’s heart. The actor who is currently portraying 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 that I’m doing my people a service. I know what people go through in this neighbourhood because I was born in this neighbourhood, I grew up in this neighbourhood,” he said. “It’s important to me to bring back the gifts and blessings I received outside the city.”
GAF, a subsidiary of Standard Industries that makes things like shingles, underlayment and other roofing related products for homes and businesses, has committed to installing 500 roofs throughout the Gulf Region. That includes 150 roofs in the 7th Ward of New Orleans, an area that was hammered by both Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and then Ida that hit on the same day 16 years later. The roofing effort is part of the company’s Community Matters programme started in 2020 that has already repaired or replaced 3,000 roofs.
New Orleans resident Larae Barard said she had just been talking with her mother about her concerns for her roof when she got the call saying her roof would be fixed.
“They said, ‘We want to fix your roof’. I said, ‘Really?! This must be a miracle,” she said.
“After Ida, my roof was in terrible shape. It had a blue tarp on it for now almost a year and a month… So thank goodness I have a new roof.”
GAF is also training people in roofing skills through their GAF Roofing Academy. They teamed with Rebuilding Together New Orleans who is supplying the labour while GAF is supplying the materials and paying the costs. Executive Director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans William Stoudt said the groups were specifically looking to help those who didn’t have the financial or physical wherewithal to repair their roof on their own – homeowners who were often elderly or disabled and were making less than USD35,000 a year.