ALEXANDRIA, LA.- For 70 years the Masonic Home for Children was a saving grace for almost 800 children, including former resident Regina Greene.
"My mom passed away and my dad was an alcoholic and we didn't have anywhere else to live," says Greene.
Regina says beginning at the age of six, she lived what she thought was a normal, happy childhood here.
"You always had someone to play with. You know I did have siblings like I said I had five brothers and one sister, but we weren't really raised as siblings so it's almost like everybody was your sister or your brother," adds Greene.
B. J. Clay took care of many of the children for 25 years...a time she says filled with happy memories.
"We just would have so much fun with them. Really I enjoyed every day, everyday," says Clay.
Those memories came to an end in 1994 when the home closed it's doors for the last time...and the building has been empty ever since....until now.
Construction is underway on Mason Estates which includes 25 luxury lofts and an additional 169 units. It's a project several years in the making that the new owner has high hopes for.
"The really fun part which is a lot of work, the construction and the idea about the vision we had and to see it kind of develop this is my most fun time," says owner of the property, Roger Landry.
And it's bittersweet for the adults that were once children in this place that for many was their only true home.
"I'm glad they're doing something with it but just looking at the changes that they've made it's just heart-breaking to me because you know it's like you if you've lived somewhere all of your life and you go back and it's being torn down it just kind of touches your heart and makes you sad, but I'm happy that they're doing something with it."
Although there's no place like home for these former residents...they say they hope it will soon become a home for someone else, who will make memories here, just as good as theirs.
Throughout it's entire history the children's home was funded only by money donated by Freemason's in Louisiana. It never used a taxpayer dollar. As for the apartments, they are expected to be completed by August 2013.
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