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Major fundraiser for Operation Southern/Northern Comfort is this weekend

The walls inside Reisie Murchison’s new home in Arabi, La., are filled with the signatures of Operation Southern Comfort volunteers who built the structure.

The walls inside Reisie Murchison’s new home in Arabi, La., are filled with the signatures of Operation Southern Comfort volunteers who built the structure.

— The sixth annual Crawfish Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4, in Clinton Square downtown. Subheaded “A taste of Louisiana with a touch of New York,” the event will include traditional New Orleans cuisine like crawfish, beignets and jambalaya, as well as local favorites like salt potatoes, clams and hot dogs. There will also be live music, raffles, games, crafts, auctions and more.

“This is our major fundraiser,” Andrzejewsi said. “It pays for the materials we use in building and fixing homes. All of our labor, including the administration, is volunteer and free.”

For more information, visit crawfishfestcny.org.

Reisie Murchison didn’t think she’d be able to attend the festival due to a shortage of funds. Murchison has had a hard life. She’s survived several heart attacks and multiple strokes. She still suffers from seizures and can’t work or drive long distances. Her daughter, Danielle, 13, has numerous mental and physical disabilities.

But by far the worst thing to happen to Murchison and her family was Hurricane Katrina.

“During Hurricane Katrina, we evacuated Friday to Clinton, Miss. While we were there, we saw everything on the news — the houses, the water, etc.,” she said. “When we left, we had nothing but the clothes on our backs and whatever we could fit in my little vehicle. We didn’t come back for two months, because they weren’t letting us in. My oldest daughter finally escorted us in, and when we got home, we found that everything was gone. We lost everything.”

While attempting to rebuild her house, Murchison and her family — daughter Danielle, her parents, her two grandchildren and her godchild, who has special needs — had the option of staying in a FEMA trailer an hour and a half from her home or in a community tent with 20 strangers and no place for the kids to sleep. Instead, she rented an apartment in St. Bernard Parish. Little by little, she was starting to fix the place up on her own when OSC showed up and helped her finish.

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