Haywood Community College


Contacts: Debra M. Davis, Diana S. Conard

185 Freedlander Drive

Clyde, NC 28721

828-627-4521 Fax: 828-627-4513

Date: 9-8-05

For immediate release.

Displaced New Orleans Couple Volunteers at HCC Hurricane Relief Drive

By Debra M. Davis

Daniela and Andy Duffy consider themselves very fortunate. The home they love is in New Orleans. Even though they have no idea what condition their house is in or how their two cats have fared in this past week of mayhem and chaos, they realize they are two of the lucky people. The Duffys left New Orleans on Sunday before Katrina hit the coast. They went to Houston and felt like they would probably return to the city on Tuesday. And on Monday, after Katrina passed through, it still looked like they would be back home soon. Then the levy broke and a bad situation got worse. The Duffys realized that they were not going to be allowed to go home for quite some time. Daniela grew up in North Carolina while Andy was born and grew up in New Orleans. He has two brothers and two sisters who lost their homes in the city due to the hurricane damage..

"We can't get any information about what is going on in the city- just what we see on television. Most of our friends left the city when we did. We heard that there was a bar open in the French Quarter and we tried to call it, but didn't get an answer," he said. The Duffys lived in Esplande Ridge which is about 10 blocks from the French Quarter.

Daniela works for Loyola University as a graphic arts professor and Andy is a public interest attorney. Daniela said that the college canceled classes for this semester with the hopes that it can open in January for spring semester. She is being paid for now, but worries whether students will return mid-year. There will be a lot of adjustment because so many of the classes I teach need to be taught sequentially," she said.

The Duffys are currently staying with Daniela's parents in Maggie Valley. Danela is also seven months pregnant with the couple's first child. "I met my new doctor yesterday. It is hard to change to a new doctor this close to the end of my pregnancy, but everyone has been so helpful," she said. The child is a girl, Delilah Jane. She will be born in Haywood County.

The Duffys are anxious to return to New Orleans and help rebuild the city they love and call home. In the mean time they are finding other ways to help out. As volunteers for the American Red Cross, the couple spent Thursday morning and afternoon helping with Haywood Community Colleges' hurricane relief drive.

The college collected over $3,700 during the day and when the student clubs make their donations the total should top $4,000. They also collected a large truckload of goods which will be distributed by MANNA Food Bank. Rick Fender, coordinator of the event, said that the response was overwhelming. " So many people volunteered to day. I want to thank everyone who helped make this drive a success," he said.

Photo Attached: (Photo by Debra M. Davis)

At HCC, Daniela and Andy Duffy accepted donations for the American Red Cross.