Formerly a praline and antiques store, 123 Ulman Ave. was bought by Dr. and Mrs. Henry and Bobbye Maggio in 1984 after much thought and some reluctance due to the state of the house.
   "A friend in real estate called and said there was an old house on Ulman for sale and asked if I knew anyone that may be interested," Bobbye Maggio said. She said she asked what house, and that she may be interested.
   In fact, she had fallen in love with the house many years before.
    With the help of Fred Wagner, a local architect and friend, the Maggio house was renovated. The attic became a living level and a stairwell was built. The kitchen and den in the back wing were rearranged and rustic barge boards originally used to build the house now are displayed proudly around the room.
    The front of the house represents the 1800s with its large center hall living room and side bedrooms; the back wing was of the 1900s. Separating the two is a window overlooking the deck and yard, which before Katrina was dotted with beautiful foliage.
    During Katrina, the Maggios stayed three blocks away with family. "We tried to get home Monday after the storm but couldn't because of trees, debris and downed power lines, so we gave up until Tuesday," Bobbye said. "When we got home on Tuesday there was 6 inches of soupy sludge in our house." With no cars, no phones and no way to let their kids know if they were alive, they started cleaning immediately.
    Slowly they are getting back to normal. "At Christmas, I cooked a meal on hot plates and my George Foreman grill. We put a piece of plywood over two sawhorses and we celebrated."
    Bobbye said she didn't cry over her house, but she wept over the scars of nature. "We have always felt this house was something the Lord was leading us to buy for our family. When we moved in we invited friends and family over and had a Mass in the front yard and the priest blessed it."
    According to Bobbye and Henry, 123 Ulman has an emotional history for them and they are staying.
PATRICIA "TSH" HANCOCK