STAGECOACH - A couple who already care for elderly people in their licensed assisted-care home have offered to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Jacqui LaVoie on Sept. 1 posted a notice on craigslist.com, stating that a trailer on five fenced acres with a corral was available for Katrina victims who have animals. She has received two inquiries, but no takers so far.
"I just got laid off recently," said the home-health nurse. "I figured we don't have a whole lot of money but we have some space."
LaVoie said the television coverage of the disaster moved her to reach out.
"What really pulled at my heartstrings was the commentary on TV, and there was a guy that had 12 miniature horses and he already lost three and he was begging the Miniature Horse Association to get the rest," she said.
LaVoie said the property wasn't anything fancy, just a fifth-wheel parked on the five acres.
"You have to walk around my husband's automotive parts," she added.
Her husband, Gene, runs the small assisted-living home, providing care to the clients. Now, since she was laid off, she said, she's been helping.
Dogs and horses are OK, LaVoie said, adding she understands how hard it must have been for hurricane victims to leave their animals.
"I really feel for these people with animals," she said. "I wouldn't want to leave my animals either. I'd be right there with them."
The LaVoies say they would be willing to drive closer to the disaster area to pick up evacuees if they received some assistance with gasoline costs.
In one of her three postings on craigslist.org, LaVoie reminds potential temporary residents that the ski resorts will be hiring soon.
LaVoie said her property was available for evacuees to stay in the LaVoies' trailer or bring other travel trailers or any can be donated.
"As long as the county doesn't care, jeez, we've got five acres," she said. "If someone is relocating to the Northwest and just going through here, they can stay here."
LaVoie said any additional trailers would have to be self-contained, and dumping elsewhere would have to be arranged.
"I don't know how much our septic can take," she said.
LaVoie, a native of Virginia who has been in Stagecoach for seven years, said she spent time in New Orleans twice, once on her honeymoon and again on Thanksgiving 14 years ago. She said she loved the French Quarter and wants to see the historic city rebuilt.
"I'm right there with Harry Connick Jr.," she said. "Rebuild the thing, because I plan on going again."
n Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.
Victims of Hurricane Katrina or those wishing to help victims, can contact Jacqui or Gene LaVoie at