New tradition born out of Katrina for Biloxi neighborhood

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Seal Avenue was filled with food and fellowship on the fifth anniversary of Katrina.  It was a far cry from what neighbors were experiencing five years ago.

"We all wound up on Sarah and Jimmy's porch, all of us who were here on that day," said Seal Avenue resident Lisa Michiels.

While those images will never be forgotten, the neighbors have taken on a new perspective five years later.

"When I think of Katrina now, instead of thinking of the devastation that it was, I think of what it has brought to our neighborhood," said Sarah Rider.

What it brought to Seal Avenue is a new tradition and deeper appreciation of what it means to be neighbors.

"We decided on the 29th of every month, no matter what was going on, we would have a gathering.  It has been five years and sixty gatherings later, and we've done it every month," Rider said.

It's officially called the Katrina Survivors Supper Club.  It's a monthly party neighbors say they don't miss.

"I work at Biloxi Regional Medical Center, and they hear about our parties every month," said Leslie Johnson.

"We really all bonded together, because we shared so much. We've gotten all very very close," said Barbara Lyons.

And all of it came by way of Katrina, a storm that no doubt changed all their lives.  But, in the case of rebuilding Seal Avenue, Michiels believes it was a change that was ultimately for the better.

"It has actually made us a neighborhood, a neighborhood of friends and a neighborhood of family."

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