Video: New homes for big Katrina family

NBC News
By Ron Allen Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/13/2005 7:18:21 PM ET 2005-10-13T23:18:21

Mary Mays never dared dream a day like this would happen.

Forty-four of Mary's relatives, and some of their neighbors from New Orleans, moved into their own homes.

As we first reported on Sept. 22 , since fleeing hurricane Katrina, they all had been living together in Mary's five-bedroom house. They shared chores, ate in shifts and slept end-to-end on the floor.

"I'm just truly amazed at how things have come together, really, in a short month," says Mays.

During that month, a lot of people heard the family's story, including Therese and John Finnegan, who are realtors from California. They helped Mary's family find eight homes, all in the same neighborhood. And they're paying the rent for one year.

"The truth is we're being selfish," says John Finnegan. "We're getting more out of this than they are."

"We wanted to find families that wanted to stay together and we wanted to keep them together," says Therese.

So they loaded up donated furniture that was stored in Mary's garage and caravaned through the neighborhood to their new homes.

But that's not quite the end of the story. They survived the hurricane, moved into new homes, but this family has even more to celebrate.

Mary's nephew, Lionel Thomas, Sr., and his fiancée, Peaches, decided this was the perfect time to get married. And last week Mary's nephew Edward and wife Shakoka celebrated the birth of their son.

"It's a dream come true," says Lionel. "You know, you get a disaster and you wonder where you're going to go, but there's sunshine, you know, there's hope. There's always hope."

It's all a gift from a couple to a family that believes it's their faith guiding them through the storm.

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