David Pichon: “Right now I'm an operator." (Photo by Tom Sawyer for ENR)

A resident of the devastated St. Bernard Parish, Pichon had evacuated with his wife and two children to Philadelphia, Miss., and was transporting another relative to Texas when he got the call to come in to work.

"I was in Houston when I got called up Saturday after the storm, and I drove through the night to get here," Pichon said. "Whatever I can do, I'll do it."

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  • Although his home is "totally washed out" and his wife and children remain in Mississippi, Pichon spends every day working long hours and commuting between the jobsite in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. "I am staying in a bunkhouse at the office with eight other men," said Pichon, of the temporary living quarters behind the company's satellite office off of Airline Highway.

    In spite of it all, Pichon considers it a blessing to have work, especially during such times. "If you just sat around and thought about it, it would drive you crazy."

    t's been four years since David Pichon moved up the ranks from a heavy equipment operator to his position as foreman in the heavy construction department of New Orleans-based Boh Bros. Construction Co. But the man hasn't forgotten how to work a bulldozer. "Right now I'm an operator because we got to get this done," Pichon said last week, sitting atop one of the pieces of machinery called into service to construct a temporary road to access a breach in the levee at the London Ave. Canal. "If we don't jump on this now, we'll never correct the situation," he said.