Hurricane Katrina

DeLisle is taking its time

DELISLE - This community will be back, but it's taking time after Hurricane Katrina's tremendous winds and tidal surge.

The historic Dedeaux property on DeLisle Bayou, settled 150 years ago by Sylvester Dedeaux, was swamped with a giant storm surge. Dedeaux descendants, including Betty Gallagher, are planning to rebuild. But her son, Kevin, tired of running from the water, is moving to higher ground.

"I'm one of the few who's decided to leave," Gallagher said recently, "and I'm sticking to my guns."

He that his mother and others are still waiting to rebuild in DeLisle. Hurricane debris has been cleared and most questions from FEMA have been answered, but residents are now wrestling with new elevation requirements and putting into place their SBA loans and other rebuilding funds.

"The DeLisle community is coming along pretty good," said Harrison County Supervisor Marlin Ladner, who represents the area. "We've pretty well completed the cleanup. Everybody's anticipating the rebuilding process.

"I think you will see an increase in population out here due to the storm. We anticipate a demand for development out here."

DeLisle residents turned out in force when planners from Ohio State University visited to find out how residents want their future to look.

Residents expect development, but also want the community to retain its rural character. For example, they would prefer a corner grocery to a national chain store.

They do realize growth is inevitable, especially because so much was lost to the south along the Mississippi Sound.

"I'm just optimistic that DeLisle, West Harrison County, all the unincorporated areas of the county, are going to come back," Ladner said. "I can see it."

What Katrina did

Along the waterfront, Hurricane Katrina swamped DeLisle with water, leaving behind slabs. Many residents plan to rebuild, although a few are moving to higher ground.

Hector Garza, left, and Dylan Britt of Culbertson Contractors of Brookhaven secure trusses on Monday for a new shopping plaza being built at DeLisle Corner on Kiln-DeLisle Road.

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.