Oprah comforts a Katrina survivor.

In September 2005, Oprah reported live from the Gulf Coast just days after Hurricane Katrina blew to shore. In New Orleans and Mississippi, she saw the devastation and desperate conditions facing those lucky enough to survive the storm. And right then, she made a promise.

Oprah pledged to never forget the displaced families of Hurricane Katrina, and during the The Oprah Winfrey Show's 20th season premiere, Oprah committed $10 million of her own money to build homes and help rebuild lives. She also launched the Oprah's Angel Network Katrina Homes Registry so viewers could help "make a house a home" with furniture, picture frames and other items that were lost in Katrina's wake.

To date, donations to the Oprah Angel Network Katrina registry total more than $11 million. Homes were built in four states—Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama—before the one year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Katrina survivors get the big news from Oprah.

These families thought they had gathered to interview for a Habitat for Humanity® home, but little did they know, Oprah was backstage with a big announcement.

"I want you to look around at all the people that are here, because you might have come in with people who were strangers, but I want you to know that as of today, you will all become neighbors," Oprah said. "Every family here is getting a new Habitat home—nobody deserves it more than everybody in this room."

For the first time, Habitat for Humanity® is allowing Oprah's Angel Network to not only build houses, but also furnish them. As an added bonus, Nate Berkus will be decorating all 50 homes!
Oprah and Houston mayor, Bill White, welcome a new resident of Angel Lane.

Oprah has named the street where the families will live "Angel Lane."

"Starting with just a plot of land, but a mountain of hope, these families are starting to build a better future already together," Oprah said. "It is my prayer that you will always be protected and embraced by the angels here on Angel Lane."

Along with Houston's mayor, Bill White, Oprah passed out toolboxes so the families could begin building their new community from the ground up. As a down payment, the families pledged to work with Habitat for Humanity volunteers for 300 hours on the construction of their new homes.
Oprah and the kids of Angel Lane

Oprah's Angel Lane wouldn't be possible without Habitat for Humanity and the dedicated volunteers. Lowe's provided jam-packed toolboxes to each family to help get the building party started!

Once the building begins, Oprah plans to construct a playground and community center on Angel Lane. What do the kids want in their new play area? Slides, swings, basketball hoops…and air conditioning!

"A big thank you to all of our viewers because you are the ones who went online and gave us $5 million worth of supplies to go into these homes," says Oprah. "It's that time of year when we all open our hearts a little wider, and you already did!"