Historic Home Rising From Ashes

The Brennan family will never forget the day in May 1999 they watched the home they loved in flames.

"We were coming home, and when we hit the Bay Bridge coming from Pass Christian I could see the flames towering above the oak trees," Owen Brennan said.  "My heart just dropped."

Many Bay residents probably felt the same way that day. The two-story house is on the National Registry of Historic places, and it's the first thing you see when crossing the Bay St. Louis Bridge. But to the Brennans, it's home.

"It was a sinking feeling to just sit here helplessly and watch the fire take your home. Ninety-five percent of everything we owned we did loose. No matter what it takes we are putting it back the way it was"

The Brennans knew they wanted to restore the historic home, even though their insurance company said it would be better to level it and strart from scratch.

"We made every effort to put this home back exactly the way it was prior to the fire. We saved whatever could be saved.  Old windows, old floors, stair casings, what ever wasn't totally burned, we tried to salvage."

Repairing the historic home is a costly and sometimes tedious process.

"We spent a lot of time in New Orleans going through old restoration houses finding the old hand-rolled glass to replace the windows."

The hard work is paying off. The home looks almost identical to how it looked before the fire.

"It will be our old home again, and it will be something that we and the community will be proud of."

The Brennans say the community has been great in helping to restore the house, supplying them with old photos of the house to help them authenticate the structure. The restoration project should be complete in a few months. The Brennan family hopes to move back into the house in June.