‘Captain America’ repairs hurricane-stricken roofs in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — Actor Anthony Mackie wasn’t wearing 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 neighborhood who knew their tarpaulin-covered roofs were being repaired, a blockbuster.

Mackie has partnered with GAF, one of the nation’s leading roofing manufacturers, to repair roofs for New Orleans homeowners who suffered damage during last year’s Hurricane Ida. The project is very close to Mackie’s heart. The actor who currently plays Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe grew up in New Orleans and worked at his family’s roofing company.

“It makes me feel proud to be doing my people a favor. I know what people go through in this neighborhood because I was born in this neighborhood, I grew up in this neighborhood,” he said. “It’s important to me to bring back the gifts and blessings I’ve received outside of the city. “

GAF, a subsidiary of Standard Industries that makes things like shingles, subfloors and other roof-related products for homes and businesses, has committed to installing 500 roofs across the Gulf region. That includes 150 rooftops in New Orleans’ 7th borough, an area ravaged by both Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Ida, which struck 16 years later on the same day. The roofing is part of the company’s Community Matters program that started in 2020 and has already repaired or replaced 3,000 roofs.

Larae Barard, a New Orleans resident, said she had just spoken to her mother about her concerns about her roof when she got the call that her roof would be repaired.

“They said, ‘We want to fix your roof.’ I said, ‘Really?! This must be a miracle,” she said. “After Ida, my roof was in a sorry state. It had a blue tarp for almost a year and a month now… So thank God I have a new roof.”

GAF also trains people in roofing skills through their GAF Roofing Academy. They partnered with Rebuilding Together New Orleans, who provide the labor while GAF provides the materials and pays the cost. William Stoudt, executive director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans, said the groups were looking specifically for people who didn’t have the financial or physical resources to repair their roof themselves — homeowners who were often elderly or disabled earning less than $35,000 a year. year.

“Who are the people who will struggle most to come back? We are talking about low-income homeowners. We’re talking about the elderly, the disabled, maybe veterans or a single female householder. We’re talking about people who make New Orleans who it is,” Stoudt said.

The company and Mackie were recently in New Orleans to remove blue tarps from homes damaged by Ida and replace the tarps with new roofs.

Mackie, whose family owns Mackie One Construction, grew up in the roofing industry before embarking on an acting career that included hits like “We Are Marshall” and “The Hurt Locker.” In recent years, he has appeared in numerous Avengers films as Sam Wilson – aka Falcon – and takes on the role of Captain America.

Mackie jokingly recalls the time he fell off a roof while working in his family’s construction company. A thick layer of mud cushioned his fall. That memory didn’t stop him this time from getting back on the roof and helping with the tarpaulin removal and old shingle removal. Mackie said the funds GAF is devoting to the project will help people who otherwise could not afford to have their homes repaired.

“There are so many houses in this neighborhood and town that are still tarred. When you fly to New Orleans, it has become a sea of ​​blue sails. The one hundred and fifty houses that GAF is doing in the 7th district breaks many barriers for people who cannot afford it. The 500 houses that they are committed to doing, which remove a lot of barriers for people,” he said.