Hurricane Katrina changed the lives of many, creating a major effect on the nation. Being one of the most destructive natural disasters in history, over 1,833 lives were lost. Millions of people were left homeless along the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. Even 10 years after Katrina, some are still without homes. The touching story of Jason Lapene is about a man who conquered tremendous hardships after losing it all.
“I can remember seeing my entire city under water and confused if any of my friends were stuck in their homes. It was so hot, and I was hungry and without water I started to hallucinate and see Tornados coming. Unfortunately, watching dogs pull dead bodies out of the water was not an illusion, a haunting image which stays with me” – Jason Lapene
Like millions of others, there was nothing left for Jason in New Orleans. Coincidentally, a CNN crew filming the aftermath of Katrina was heading to Atlanta. Jason was able to convince the crew to bring him along the ride to Georgia. After arriving, a frightening truth shrouded over him; Jason was homeless, jobless, and without any friends or family. All of his contacts were either in New Orleans or Tennessee. FEMA helped Jason survive, providing him with temporary housing at a local Hampton Inn in Buckhead. Needless to say, he was under intense emotional distress and was financially ruined. Food and a warm bed were the only comfort he had during this desperate time of need. In a completely unfamiliar city, miles away from his home, Jason realized that the only way for him to survive was to reinvent himself.
Before the devastation of Katrina, Jason was a successful realtor in the New Orleans area. Sought-after, admired and respected, Jason had a flourishing business, specializing in extravagant homes and condos. In a different city, with no contacts or financial stability, Jason knew he had many obstacles in front of him. He made the decision to use the skillsets he acquired over the years and began to study and analyze the Atlanta real estate market. Without money or clean clothes, he went to the local Salvation Army for clothes to look respectable for interviews. Considering how stressful interviews can be, Jason remained strong and stoic, even though he was homeless, hungry, stressed and lacking money. The large brokers in Atlanta told him that he should give up and consider another career, as he was basically starting over in Georgia. The blunt rejections spawned an intense will and desire for Jason to prove that he could salvage his life and overcome these demoralizing obstacles.
In a spirit of entrepreneurship, Jason decided he would work for himself and acquired his broker’s license. With a background in computer science, he built his Atlanta realtor website to attract prospective clients online. Jason worked ceaselessly, focusing on cold calling and networking. His hard work began to pay off and Clients enthusiastically started to recommend Jason to their friends and family. The same corporate brokers who told Jason that he could not succeed, were now insisting on doing business with him.
Many years have passed since the events of Hurricane Katrina and today, Jason’s business is thriving. As a multi-millionaire, he uses his wealth to fight homelessness and poverty. Jason received his degree in business from one the top colleges in the south, Georgia State University. At Georgia State University, some of the courses Jason studied included Real Estate Law, Real Estate Development, Real Estate Valuation and Real Estate Principles. Jason’s business specializes in the most luxurious homes, lofts and condominiums in the Atlanta. Jason’s condominiums, lofts and townhomes are ideal for people who are looking for a home that is in the heart of Atlanta requiring, minimal commuting and maintenance. The condominiums are affordable and comfortable, with on-site fitness facilities and relaxing rooftop decks. His website attracts thousands of visitors a month and his business receives referrals on a day-to-day basis. Jason values his relationships, both professionally and personally, treating his friends and clients with the utmost respect and appreciation.
Jason Lapene is a man who proved that you certainly can pull through life’s most challenging obstacles with hard work, persistence and determination. Jason’s business has created a positive ripple effect, helping the Atlanta real estate industry prosper and providing citizens with the highest quality homes.