Hurricane Katrina

Bernt Bastiansen, 84, Pearlington

Bernt Bastiansen's life began in Norway in 1922. It ended on Aug. 29, at his Kelly Road home in Pearlington.

His niece, Norma Finnan, discovered the Pearl River bridge was out by the time she and her husband tried to escape their Ansley community home in Hancock County ahead of Katrina.

"We're thinking he tried to get out that way, too, and he just got confused and went back home."

Finnan now makes a home with her mother, her uncle's sister, Bernice Eide, in Pearl River, La. Calling from a trailer on her mother's property, she said, "I didn't see a lot of him for about 20 years --- I moved around a lot. But I know he got married kind of later in life," after he was in his 40s. He and his late wife ("her maiden name was Wilkerson, and she passed in 1991") tried living in New Orleans for a time, "but she convinced him to move back to the country," Finnan said, "and he liked it, liked to go fishing."

He and his wife cared for her handicapped sister, "and they used to try to find things they could do that included her. They went camping a lot, going around to state parks in the area."

Her uncle, she said, was a devout Catholic, "a really gentle and kind man." Memorial services for him were to have taken place Saturday in Bay St. Louis.

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