Biloxi point residents fight to save their neighborhood

By Doug Walker – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The signs of Katrina's impact are everywhere on Biloxi's Point Cadet from driveways that lead nowhere, to mailboxes that will never take another delivery.

As general manager of the Palace Casino, Keith Crosby has worked on the Point for 12 years.  He laments the loss of entire neighborhoods.

"This area, for many blocks, was predominately residential with the exception of the Palace and the Schooner Restaurant and St. Michael's Church," Crosby remembered. "Unfortunately, the result of the storm is that our neighbors are gone."

While Point Cadet may never be the same as before Katrina, there are some folks who are giving it another shot. They either simply refuse to leave, or have chosen to rebuild on Pt. Cadet.

One of those people is Chris Frenzel, who is building a home to replace the one washed away by Katrina.  He knows he will not see many new neighbors in the future.

"I agree it will never be the same with the economy," Frenzel said. "The way it is now, it's hard to tell which route it will take."

But the Slavic community has made a major investment on the Point by building a multi-million dollar cultural center.  Marion Pitalo said the cultural center may be the exception and not the rule because of one reason.

"I'd love to see it go back to the way it was and see people move back, but I think our insurance situation is going to guide that line," Pitalo said.

There's also a certain stubbornness in the Slavic community that could breathe new life into the storm ravaged area. Mike Kovacevich still lives on the Point and explains why.

"The Slavics are from the Point and we decided after the storm that's where we are from and that's where we are going to stay, and hopefully it will come back in a different perspective with commercial developments."

One thing is certain, people who live on the Point are fighting hard every day to make sure the heartbeat of the community keeps beating, and development doesn't come to a dead end.

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