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Private initiative outperforms FEMA.

Lily Duke is a resident of Algiers, a neighborhood of New Orleans across the Mississippi from the best-known parts of the city. She evacuated just before Hurricane Katrina struck, and then she was prevented from returning home after the storm. To get back home, she signed up as an aid worker with the Church of Christ and was allowed to drive into her neighborhood with a truckload of food.

Duke set up a distribution center in the parking lot of Mardi Gras World, a popular tourist attraction where floats for the city's annual parade are built. While Lily was busily giving away food and other items to storm victims, more supplies kept arriving from local churches and food banks, and the operation grew larger! Lily then opened branch distribution centers in the ravaged Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish.

Duke was not spared by the hurricane, which ripped off the roof of her apartment. Since then, she has been living in a tent and has volunteered all of her services, not taking off a day since Katrina flooded her city.

Local relief workers were eager to commend Duke for her initiative and generous hard work.

Staff Sgt. George DeBono of the Colorado National Guard told the Associated Press about Ms. Duke, "Thank God there are people like her around here." And local firefighter Mark Bassett said that Lily had outperformed the other relief agencies to the extent that some of them should be embarrassed. "She went out there and got it done," he said.
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Title Annotation:Federal Emergency Management Agency
Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U6MS
Date:Dec 12, 2005
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