Hurricane Katrina


MOSS POINT - Along narrow Magnolia Street, the rush of debris trucks and the loud echo of roofers' hammers have stopped. At least for now.

There are no "for sale" signs on Magnolia Street. FEMA trailers and blue tarps freckle the Magnolia Street area homes. Now, Magnolia Street homeowners and churches have turned their attention to interior repairs.

Residents, many of them elderly, have resolved to stay, and their families are helping them rebuild before the next storm season. The greatest challenges are finding the financial resources to rebuild and locating contractors to work at reasonable rates.

"Everybody's nose is to the grind," said Tim Dubose, who was doing foundation work recently at his mother's home on Magnolia and West Pine streets. "Hopefully, we'll rebound. It's nothing foreign and we've seen it before."

Families like the Montgomerys, who live across the street from Magnolia Junior High School, say they have no intention of leaving.

Edward Montgomery is fixing the home his father built 30 years ago. Outside, the white concrete-block house with brick red trim looks strong. But inside, the house needs restudding and rewiring to bring it up to current building codes.

His father, Frank Lee Montgomery, fell ill from the storm surge that flooded the nearby creeks and died shortly after the storm. But his mother, Mamie, is committed to staying.

Nearby tennis courts and the Magnolia Junior High School have remained empty as city and school officials work out repair plans with contractors, insurers and FEMA.

At the Sherlawn Grocery Store, a small, independent neighborhood store, foot traffic has returned to pre-Hurricane Katrina levels, said Micky Tran, who owns and operates the store with her husband, Sum. The store received a foot of water and reopened within two weeks of the storm.

"They were happy that we were able to open back up quickly," said Micky, describing how many customers walk because many people lost their cars to storm water damage.

What Katrina did

Residents reported severe wind damage to roofs, doors and windows. Four to more than 6 feet of water flooded many low-lying homes.

Friends, from left, Rudolph Holloway, Robert Pernell, Fletcher Liddell and Lamon Dubose gather on a recent evening at Pernell's house on Magnolia Avenue in Moss Point. The friends say they gather every day to discuss topics such as women, the basketball playoffs and Hurricane Katrina.

First Christian Church Disciples of Christ volunteers Mike Lee of Olive Branch, left, and Larry Baldauf check out a donated RV at First Christian Church on Magnolia Avenue in Moss Point recently. The two have been volunteering for Hurricane Katrina relief since Jan. 15.

The series

The Sun Herald this month continues its 30 Communities in 30 Days series, which looks at how area neighborhoods are recovering from Hurricane Katrina. We will update these stories every six months.