BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Outside, the Biloxi Port Division complex looks much the same way it did before Hurricane Katrina. Inside, it's an entirely different story. But Port Manager Frankie Duggan said this day did not come easily.
"It was a very difficult thing, you know, because Katrina changed all the rules on us when she came through and we had to redesign the building, actually," Duggan said. "We had to take everything off the bottom floor and redesign it and put it on the second floor."
Nice touches can be found throughout the third floor offices, from a break room, to the latest in office equipment. Even a few homey touches add to the atmosphere.
Rhonda Murray has worked with the port division for a long time and remembers the lean years after the storm.
"We've worked under some bad situations, but we've been strong and we're coming back strong," Murray said. "It's been five years, but now that we're sitting here, it doesn't seem like it's been five years."
Being back home in the beautiful building certainly has its advantages. The amenities are nice, the view is spectacular, but there's one extra special benefit to being back home: increased productivity.
"We had so much stuff jammed in that trailer, we couldn't find half of our files most of the time," Duggan said. "Everything will be easier to get on your fingertips right now. We're going with upgraded computers when we moved in, so productivity will be a lot better. You'll be more encouraged to come to work and stay at work."
The former port commission was disbanded several years ago, and is now a division under the direction of the Biloxi mayor. The office oversees all public marina and boat launch operations in the city.
The renovations cost $1.2 million, with most of that money coming from insurance and FEMA.