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New Orleans-area couple wonder about returning


Published: Wed, September 7, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.


The Saulinos heard from Louisiana neighbors that their house was in ruins.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Michael Saulino was drawn to New Orleans during his service with the Marine Corps. He loves the city and its people, but he doesn't know whether he and his family will ever return.
Saulino, his wife, Marie, and two grandchildren fled the New Orleans area Aug. 27. They stayed in hotels in a couple of locations in Texas, then headed for Ohio. They arrived Saturday and are staying with Michael's parents, Ray and Helen Saulino on Glenwood Avenue.
Michael and Marie have three grown children and still have not heard from one daughter, Paris Ann, who was in the Gretna area on the south side of Lake Pontchartrain. The other two children, including the parents of the grandchildren they brought with them, are somewhere in Texas.
They learned Tuesday from a neighbor that their home on the West Bank of the Mississippi River is in ruins.
"We don't have a house anymore," Saulino said. "We had five years left on the mortgage. We got flooded out. The neighbors said it's the worst damage they've seen in the area."
Looking for work here
Saulino owned a plumbing, heating and air-conditioning business in New Orleans and has worked in that field for 25 years. Now, he is seeking similar work in the Mahoning Valley and had a job interview Tuesday.
They packed some clothes before they fled, but living in an area where the temperature is often above 100 degrees, they do not have clothing for cooler weather. He said they received assistance from the Red Cross for clothing and for shoes for their grandchildren.
"I don't know if we will be able to go back and salvage anything," he said. "If we can go back to get anything, I wouldn't even know how to start.
"To go back and see that house now, after all the work we put into it -- to see that they might just have to knock it down -- that is way beyond anything I want to deal with," he said.
Saulino said the family was threatened many times before by hurricanes over the years, but were always able to return.
Saulino said that authorities handled the whole situation badly and that no one person is to blame.


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