Cayman Brac, with its single-family, island-style homes, was created in the late 1990s and caught the eye of Biloxi beach lookie-loos because the houses were of a newer design, set a seaside mood with their architecture and were located on smaller yards. They obviously were not condominiums.|
Lance Harrington, a retired building contractor, and his wife, Judith Bourne, moved from North Carolina and settled into the then 6-year-old house at 1615 Cayman Brac in March 2004. They had visited the Gulf region a decade earlier and had "lost our hearts to it."
"We're both retired and my mother was moving with us and she simply demanded to be on the water," Judith said. "We all loved the house. At 2,000 square feet, it was a lot smaller so we downsized and brought only our favorite things.
"It had 10-foot ceilings and the most beautiful kitchen cabinets. The first floor was 24 feet off the ground, and the house was well built with steel rebar and concrete. The walls were a foot thick."
The location was perfect to set up chairs to watch vintage cars pass along U.S. 90 for Cruisin' the Coast. Daily beach walks included picking up the trash, and, of course, there were daily sunsets.
Her mom, a retired elementary school teacher, died in mid-July and they hadn't adjusted to her absence when Katrina took the house, everything in it and the vintage yellow Corvette that Lance just that weekend drove down from Milwaukee.
Only one of the nine homes survived in Cayman Brac, located between Iberville and Miramar streets. For the Fourth of July, the Harringtons brought a generator and fan for a slab party. They waved back to passersby.
"We're not sure what we'll do with the land," Judith said. "It will be sold but I don't know when and for what."
In March, after evacuating, the Harringtons bought another Biloxi house.
"It's great to be back in the area. We're starting over again."
- KAT BERGERON