A sad surprise for news anchor Rebecca Powers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

A sad surprise for news anchor Rebecca Powers

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Rebecca Powers – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - So many of you supported my husband Ben and me with your kind words and well wishes after Katrina. A lot of you still ask about our cat who survived after 49 days on her own and about our old neighborhood that was decimated by that monster storm.

So our General Manager, Dave Vincent, asked me to go back to Georgia Place in Gulfport, to show you the progress or lack there of. I found a real mixed bag and my favorite neighbor who I miss the most.

Longtime Georgia Place resident Alma Kitchens said, "It's lonesome being on this side of the street and not that side."

Ms. Kitchens and her husband, Joe Ivan, were the only ones on the south side of the street, determined to build back after Katrina wiped out most of Georgia Place in Gulfport. They were able to restore the home they've lived in for more than 40 years, with a lot of help from the North Carolina Baptist men.

"They furnished all the labor," Kitchens said.

Their home now looks exactly the same as it did before the storm, right down to the color on the shutters. Miss Alma was hopeful then.

On this day, just like before, we found her watering her precious garden as she does every day and now with a beautiful view of the Mississippi Sound to that south. That is probably the only positive. She does not like what she now sees to the west of her garden as work crews pound away doing major construction.

"It is very noisy and will be even noisier."

The city is re-building the destroyed Fire Station #7 slightly north, just yards away for her door. To the east are still two big, sad slabs, reminders of so much loss here.

Kitchens said, "Still vacant. We keep them clean as much as we can. You can't expect the city to do it all."

But she did expect more homes on the circle at the end of Georgia Place to be rebuilt. Three lots are still for sale, including our own, and only seven out of 16 families rebuilt.

"There's no one else that we know that's coming back, we feel kind of lost at times."

When I asked my sweet neighbor, who is now in her eighties, if she was glad they restored her beloved home, her answer was a sad one.

"No, no, I wish we had sold. I'd give anything if we would have sold now that the fire department is here, and that's a shame because I love it here."

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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