Billionaire builds community for evacuees

Sept. 30, 2005 at 12:53 PM

PALM BEACH, Fla., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The little town of Simmesport, La., is not exactly the Big Easy, but it will be home sweet home, at least temporarily, for some New Orleans evacuees.

Simmesport, on the banks of the Atchafayala River in central Louisiana, is where Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach built a community of manufactured homes for evacuees he brought to Palm Beach County in Florida after Hurricane Katrina.

For some, this will be the first leg on the journey back home, the Palm Beach Post said. Some may stay on. Stronach has offered the homes in Simmesport for up to five years.

Displaced New Orleans resident Angela Mason, who will be going to Simmesport to live, says of Stronach, "We were picked up by an angel."

For Stronach, who made his money in auto parts and racetracks, Simmesport will be an experiment in communal living.

He envisions a peaceful community of friends and families raising Black Angus cattle and organic vegetables along the river bank.

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