Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008

This Old Hurricane

By David Luhrssen
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The perennial PBS series "This Old House" is a must-see for many homeowners. Until now, social engagement has not been its core mission. Starting 7 p.m., Jan. 24 on MPTV-10 and running for multiple weeks, "This Old House" movies to the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, a section of town that remains in ruins after the levy broke during Hurricane Katrina.

With federal, state and local governments seemingly paralyzed by the catastrophe, much of the rebuilding is being done by Habitat for Humanity and other charitable organizations as well as local people who are rolling up their sleeves and pitching it. "This Old House" will show how the still standing "shotgun singles," the Crescent City's distinctive long frame houses, are being repaired and even added onto.

One of the most interesting projects documented by "This Old House" is Musicians Village, a district of a hundred or so new homes built under the supervision of Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. Their intention is not just to house displaced musicians but to make home ownership possible for them.

This being "This Old House," much time will be spent on showing how to restore hardwood floors and repair old windows - tips that can be applied in places where hurricanes will never reach.

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