Kelleher, who now calls Hudson County home, lived in New Orleans until the hurricane's winds began to belt the shores of Lake Pontchartrain August of 2005.
"I took off 12 hours before the storm hit," said Kelleher, who was a full-time private investigator and a part-time visual artist in New Orleans. "I was lucky my boyfriend lived in Hoboken, so I had a place to go. I headed north ahead of the storm."
Eight months later, Kelleher went back to New Orleans get her artwork, but she couldn't stay.
"The city was depressing," she said. "Everything was empty and deserted. I knew that there was no work there."
Kelleher heard about studio space located in the Yardley building on Palisade Avenue in Union City, which at one time was the home of the Yardley Soap Corporation. The old factory had been converted to several artist studio spaces, as well as others used for commercial storage.
Kelleher soon found out that there were 25 artists who rent workspace in the Yardley building.
"It was almost surreal, with the view of Manhattan," she said. "I only saw stuff like this before in the movies."
Now, the artists in the building are banding together to host their second open studio tour - which may be their last, because the building has been taken over by Union City for redevelopment.
The tour will take place next Sunday, Oct. 29, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the facility located at 600 Palisade Ave.
Not long ago, Union City used its eminent domain privileges last year to take over the building, and the artists now pay their rent to the Union City Redevelopment Agency.
The city will eventually give a developer the right to build residential units there.
"We were told that we had a year," said Carol Kravitz, an artist who works in oils and water colors and a resident of Weehawken. "We're desperately looking for 40,000-to-50,000 feet of space. We're looking in the area, Union City, West New York, Jersey City. We like the area because of the accessibility."
Incredibly, some of them were once housed at 111 First Street in Jersey City and they had to move when that building was converted into condominiums two years ago.
"It's the same thing all over," said Jessica Lenard, an artist who does streetscapes and local attractions. "The artists fix up the place. It becomes hip and gentrified, and then the artists are forced to move."
Lenard, who was situated at 111 First St. for 13 years, said, "In Europe, artists are revered. Here, we're the bottom of the food chain. It must be about money. They say it's a year, but I'm hoping for two or three."
Carol Schwartz, an artist who makes massive sculptures out of wood, was located at 111 First St. for four years.
"But I love this place," she said. "It's exceedingly difficult for me, because I need space like this. My pieces are physically heavy [some weighing as much as 500 pounds]."
Bobby Travieso is a Secaucus-based cartoonist whose company "Hairy Hand Productions" makes funny greeting cards and other caricatures. By day, he's a delivery man for Federal Express.
"I'm very excited about the tour," he said, "because last year, the traffic of people who came in all day was phenomenal."
Travieso shares studio space with frame maker Steve Smith and his wife, Suzi Schorr, who paints miniature water colors.
Schorr is toying with other places to go.
"My husband and I were wondering where we could find space," Schorr said. "Maybe we have to move to Maryland or South Carolina, where we have friends. But I would love to stay here if someone can squeeze us in." The Yardley Open Studio Tour will take place Sunday, Oct. 29, from 1-6 p.m. at the Yardley building at 600 Palisade Ave. in Union City. There is no charge and refreshments will be served in the respective studios. There will be elevator access to the four floors, but the building is not handicapped accessible. Parking is available onsite.