Hurricane Katrina

WIGGINS: Busier than ever

WIGGINS - Elizabeth Street, which is near downtown, is a microcosm of what's going on in Wiggins after Hurricane Katrina.

The street once was dotted with blue roofs, broken fences and shattered carports. But just eight months after the storm, the debris has been removed, the repair work is mostly completed and things are well on their way to getting back to normal.

Such is life in this Stone County city, which is enjoying a post-Katrina business boom.

Southwind Homes LLC announced plans for a new modular housing manufacturing plant that is expected to employ 150 people. And the Sawmill Restaurant, a staple in the Wiggins area on U.S. 49, opened in March after suffering major damage from a tornado.

Mayor Jerry Alexander says sales tax revenues are up and the city has plans to improve services for the influx of people living and working in the city.

Back on Elizabeth Street, home owner Andrew Woodard says he's still close with neighbors and is still very busy. His roofing business has a contract for 80 houses in a new subdivision coming to the county.

Nelta Black, who owns The Child Care Center on Elizabeth Street, says her day-care business is busier with people coming from Poplarville, Saucier and Gulfport. Her waiting list has more than tripled. With all these new people, especially with the FEMA trailers at Flint Creek, Black believes it has changed the small town atmosphere a little.

"The traffic has died down some, but the town is different. People are locking their doors and windows and not leaving their keys in their cars."

What

Katrina did

Residents say the area just north of downtown Wiggins was damaged by wind, rain and trees. A business owner on First Street in downtown Wiggins reported a tornado that almost took her back doors off, damaged her roof and blew apart a shed.

What Katrina did

Residents say the area just north of downtown Wiggins was damaged by wind, rain and trees. A business owner on First Street in downtown Wiggins reported a tornado that almost took her back doors off, damaged her roof and blew apart a shed.

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