How Katrina Survivor Jason Lapene is Thriving in Atlanta’s Real Estate Market

As Hurricane Katrina furiously ravaged New Orleans, Jason Lapene’s life was being turned upside down. Before the storm, Jason was doing great. His real estate career was soaring, he lived in a good home, and he was surrounded by wonderful family and friends. But with a snap of a finger, nature’s hand wiped all of that away. Once the storm hit, he witnessed his home crumble and his career be destroyed. Hurricane Katrina consumed Jason Lapene’s life, and he was left homeless, penniless, and purposeless.

Jason watched on as thousands of homes became submerged in water. A CNN news crew was filming the devastation nearby, and with his home destroyed and nowhere to go, Jason hitched a ride with them, as they were travelling to Atlanta. But Atlanta, he soon realized, was an incredible uphill battle. He had no friends or family in the city, no connections, and no job lined up. But FEMA provided a sliver of hope by arranging temporary housing for him at the Hampton Inn in Buckhead. At this point, one thing was clear; he could become overwhelmed by his situation, or he could climb out of it.


Besides his room at the Hampton Inn, Jason didn’t have much of anything. This, of course, was a stark contrast to his pre-Katrina lifestyle. Though Jason was dispossessed, he did have one thing, experience. He was a sharp and charismatic realtor in New Orleans. He knew how to navigate within the real estate market to sell luxury homes and condos. He decided that he would put that knowledge into use in Atlanta.

Jason tirelessly scoured for opportunities. Because presentation is key in real estate, Jason trekked to the local Salvation Army to gather as decent clothing. He went to a staggering amount of job interviews in an effort to land employment, but came up empty. Real estate brokers weren’t going to hire a man who was starting from nothing in a new city. Some hiring managers discouraged his job pursuit, and told him that he would be much better off if he looked for work outside of the real estate market.

For Jason, these words of discouragement were fuel. He already survived one of the worst natural disasters in American history, so a few cynical real estate brokers wouldn’t be able to dissuade him and knock him off his feet. In Jason’s determined eyes, this was a mere obstacle for him to step over. The failure to find employment gave him the motivational push that he desperately needed.

Jason knew that he already had enough knowledge and experience to enter the Atlanta real estate market with his own business. And that’s what he did. Jason used his educational background in business, and his knack for marketing to build his new venture from the ground up. To jumpstart the business, Jason hammered the phones by aggressively cold calling, and he hit the pavement by networking with other likeminded people. Slowly, his business started making gains. As his clientele got larger and more affluent, the recognition he received increased. Hard-work was paying off, and lady luck was favoring Jason.

After a year of consistent work, Jason’s outlook for the future was much brighther than when he first arrived in Atlanta.

image006Today, he has produced millions of dollars of real estate transactions; Jason is a mogul in Atlanta’s real estate industry. The days of Jason restlessly cold calling and hitting the pavement are long gone; these days, clients come to him for his sincerity, passion, and people first mentality. The website for his Atlanta real estate agency is highly visited; clients don’t hesitate to recommend him, and his reputation is spotless.

When Jason travelled to Atlanta, he was destitute, depressed, and  directionless. He could have allowed his situation to permanently get the better of him, but he chose differently. His fall from grace at the hands of Hurricane Katrina was out of his control, but his rise out of his emotional and financial hole was all his own. He powered his success through sheer will and determination, and turned what looked like a grim reality into a vibrant, successful future.

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