BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi's Old Brick House has many stories to tell. As the oldest structure in the city, it's housed families, a former mayor, and countless events. Katrina almost brought that to an end, but work from the city has slowly put the pieces of this history back together again.
"We estimate that around 60 to 70 percent of the house was destroyed by Katrina," said Biloxi Historic Administrator Bill Raymond.
It's taken the city five years and nearly $700,000 in insurance and FEMA funds to restore the house, which was a task that many doubted.
"I've had a lot of people ask me the question, 'Why save the house if it is in such bad shape?'" said Raymond. "I'd have to tell them this is almost assuredly the oldest structure in Biloxi. We need to save this part of our history."
Since so much had to be replaced after the storm, Raymond said the city took great care to make sure that everything, down to each doorknob, was as close to the original house as possible.
"This was a labor of love for everyone involved in it, because there were a lot of people who thought that we should tear this building down. It's heartwarming just know that we were able to do it. We lost so much," said Raymond.
Raymond said the city brought in experts from around the country to make sure that the fragile structure was carefully rebuilt to match the original.
"If we made a mistake, we could do more damage than was already done by the storm," said Raymond.
The garden club will refurnish the house once the construction is complete. The city expects the house to be finished by the end of November.