D'IBERVILLE - A marine-education center and expanded Fountain's Pier, which had become a favorite family recreational spot, was demolished by Hurricane Katrina. But not for long. "We will rebuild," said Mayor Randy Quave.
   The pier, a series of boardwalks and a two-story educational pavilion were built by the city of D'Iberville with tidelands funds, collected by the state primarily from leases by casinos.
   "It was a great community resource for marine education and for family recreation like wedding receptions, family reunions, picnics and fishing rodeos," said City Manager Richard Rose. "Families came from miles around and enjoyed the view and the solace. It afforded such a gorgeous view for sunrises and sunsets."
   City officials are saddened by the loss, especially of a half-dozen 300-year-old oak trees. "Those ancient oaks had been here since D'Iberville landed (in 1699), and were such a part of our history. They can't be replaced," said Rose.
   "We're hoping some damaged trees will re-bud, and hope to have piers back by this fall. We will rebuild as tideland funds come available."
   Mayor Quave said FEMA funds also will be used to rebuild and expand the facilities. "We'll continue our goal to make it a meaningful marine education facility," he said. "Classes were being held in the 40-seat, second-floor educational pavilion."
   The $1 million project, which started seven years ago, was completed in phases and finished two years ago.
   Quave said there has always been a Fountain's Pier, and there will be another one "because fishermen have used it for years." It's located just off Racetrack Road and Batia Avenue, at the Jackson County line.
- GARY HOLLAND