Hurricane Katrina

ESCATAWPA: About halfway to whole

ESCATAWPA - What Hurricane Katrina did

The storm surge from the Escatawpa and Pascagoula rivers hit this area north of Moss Point from both sides, the south and the west. Water flooded Escatawpa almost to the city limits at Saracennia Road, hitting homes, as well as businesses, including the hotels along Interstate 10. Escatawpa as a community extends beyond Moss Point north along the Pascagoula River, where homes flooded west of Mississippi 613.

It will be the first of next year before Escatawpa, south of Interstate 10, is recovered.

The homes, nestled between two state highways, 63 and 613, with the Escatawpa River to the south, all flooded when Katrina pushed the river over its banks.

Eight months later, only about half of the work of rebuilding and repairing is done.

FEMA trailers line Rosa Street, homes along Dutch Bayou Road look good on the outside, but some are empty to the studs inside, and houses along Jamestown Road are in various stages of repair.

Banker Linwood Grierson grew up in the area and still has relatives living nearby. He said his home lacks only the finishing touches, but his family home was demolished.

His church, Safe Harbor United Methodist, has housed a constant stream of volunteer workers, turning the flooded education building into a dormitory with the parsonage for showers.

Grierson estimates 400 to 500 homes in the community were flood damaged because Escatawpa is not only his neighborhood but also stretches north, above the interstate for several miles along the Pascagoula River.

Homes near the river and its inlets that weren't demolished are making a comeback.

The Piggly Wiggly is still closed, gutted and boarded up with a sign that says, "reopening 2006."

Businesses on either side were open and running in April - the furniture store, a snow cone stand, a laundry, a Dollar General and Fred's.

Farther up Mississippi 613, Riverbend RV park was spared the brunt of the flood but is "jam-packed full with a waiting list," one resident said.

Little River Marina, which sits 12 feet above the bayou inlet and still was shifted on its pilings with several feet of water inside, reopened right before Christmas. Totally remodeled, it still has 48 covered boat slips that need to be rebuilt. The owner has tried FEMA and the SBA with no luck.

"You don't know anyone giving away money, do you?" asked Jackie Dammen.

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.