Kenner mayor visits mile-square city. Thanks Hoboken residents for generosity after Hurricane Katrina disaster

Kenner mayor visits mile-square city

Thanks Hoboken residents for generosity after Hurricane Katrina disaster

11/20/2005  HR

Kenner, Louisiana Mayor Phil Capitano and representatives from his city were in Hoboken last week to express their appreciation for the residents' charitable donations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Shortly after the hurricane hit in August, the Hoboken City Council voted to "adopt" Kenner, a town of about of 70,000, which is about 15 miles west of New Orleans.

Residents donated baby food, baby wipes, diapers, flashlights, batteries, and a multitude of other supplies. Enough items were collected to fill an 18-wheel tractor trailer.

Last month, Mayor David Roberts and Councilman Michael Russo were part of a large group that embarked on a 30-hour, 1,300-mile journey to Kenner.

Also along on the trip were Eugene Flinn, the owner of Amanda's restaurant and the Elysian Café; George Vallone Sr., a local developer, who drove the truck bearing the donations, and a number of Hoboken Police Department officers who stayed in Louisiana an extra week to aid law enforcement officials there.

While there, the officials met with local community leaders and schoolchildren, and were given a police escorted tour of some of the most damaged parts of New Orleans.

Capitano said Thursday that his city will always be grateful for the generosity of Hoboken's residents.

"When you have gone through a disastrous situation where 70 percent of our city was under water and 100 percent of our homes were severely damaged, you really appreciate it when someone says 'Hey, can I help,' " Capitano said. "Your help came at a time when we were truly needy. I will never be able to give enough heartfelt thanks for what you gave our city."

Capitano also handed out certificates of appreciation to several of the individuals who were most responsible for adopting Kenner. Those that were specifically mentioned included the Hoboken veterans who donated $1,000 for the veterans in Kenner, and the local Boy Scout Troop, which collected money at the recent Arts and Music Festival.

Capitano also specifically thanked Hoboken resident Sara Stojkovic, who originated the idea to adopt Kenner and was very active in collecting donations, and Councilman Christopher Campos, who sponsored the City Council resolution to adopt Kenner.

During his visit, Capitano toured Hoboken, making trips to the Hoboken Historical Museum, All Saints Episcopal Day School (which donated art to Kenner), and the Macy's Float Studio, where workers were putting the final touches on this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade floats.

The group also toured Ground Zero in Manhattan.

Roberts said that he will never forget his trip to Kenner.

"What they had to endure was so terrible, yet they received in such a distinguished way," Roberts said. "I will never forget your hospitality," Roberts told Capitano.

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