Porpoises laughing. Giant ships gracefully sweeping by. Sunsets. Sunrises. |
That's the lagniappe - a little something extra - that came with 600 Beach Blvd. when Johnny Templet moved into the Pascagoula house.
As a commercial diver, he appreciated being on the water.
"The view was unbelievable," said Templet, who bought the 6,000-square-foot house in 1991.
"We could watch porpoises play in the water, and I was right beside the channel so huge boats coming and going to Ingalls Shipbuilding would go by right by the house. We were that close."
Such sea lagniappe also meant hurricanes, but Templet wasn't worried. Jack May, the man who built the house in 1985, added many anti-storm extras. It was, without doubt, a very strong house.
Whenever hurricanes or tropical storms came, the Templets stayed. Nothing ever happened, not even a cracked window. They were convinced it really was hurricane proof.
For one storm, they even sheltered an MSNBC news crew.
"I stayed for every storm except one, Katrina," Templet said.
"When we saw that storm on the Doppler radar, this was the biggest one we'd ever seen. My whole family is seafarers, and we know what a hurricane is. My son Jay called and said, 'Do me a favor and leave.'
He did. He came back to nothing, not even his diving equipment.
"We hardly had any clean-up to do," said Templet.
"My friends kid me, 'So where's your hurricane-proof house?' I tell them it withstood the hurricane, but not the dad-gum tsunami. And there is a difference."
The house was on stilts but the land was built up to the first floor so passersby didn't realize that's why it had a huge underground garage.
"I won't rebuild there, but not because of storm," Templet said. "My family has gotten smaller and I'm a single man living in a huge house. Instead of building it back I will build something more comfortable for me - smaller and cozy but I don't know if anyone can build one that is 'hurricane' proof."
- KAT BERGERON