Historic homes, buildings in Bay St. Louis to be recognized - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Historic homes, buildings in Bay St. Louis to be recognized

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

Before Hurricane Katrina, there were 728 homes and buildings listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in Bay St. Louis. The monster storm destroyed or heavily damaged more than 300 of those, according to the Hancock County Historical Society.

Historic structures like the 103 year old Century Hall building on second street took a real beating by Katrina.

"We lost a lot as a result of the storm," said Edward Wikoff, Chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission. "Some properties were wiped off the face of the earth here and others were damaged beyond reasonable repair."

The goal of the Bay St. Louis Historic Preservation Commission is to provide guidance and give advice to property owners inside the city's Historic Districts.

"Within the last year, the preservation commission has reviewed and addressed probably in excess of 200 projects," Wikoff said. "We've worked on things as small as fences for picket fences, we've talked to people about signage. But we've also done projects as large as the community center."

"We just have it in our blood to take old stuff and fix it up," said Bay St. Louis resident and businessman Doug Niolet.

The Niolet family is responsible renovating six historic building in Old Town Bay St. Louis, including two on Main Street.

"We didn't want to tear it down. In fact, our neighbors said, 'Oh, we're so glad y'all bought that piece of property and are going to tear it down.' We said, 'Oh no, we're not going to tear it down. We're going to fix it up."

The Preservation Commission wants to applaud those who think like the Niolets do.

"Our awards program that's happening on Wednesday night will be recognizing some of the projects and the owners who have gone the extra mile to take those properties that were damaged, but still repairable, and paid the extra time and attention necessary to restore them," said Wikoff.

The Awards Gala will be held Wednesday at 6pm at the Bay St. Louis Community Hall.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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