Seacliff Boulevard area struggles to recover from Katrina - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Seacliff Boulevard area struggles to recover from Katrina

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Seacliff Boulevard was once a thriving road with more than 30 homes. All were washed away by Hurricane Katrina. Seacliff Boulevard was once a thriving road with more than 30 homes. All were washed away by Hurricane Katrina.
Eight years later, only four families have rebuilt. Muriel Swint is one of them. Eight years later, only four families have rebuilt. Muriel Swint is one of them.
Driveways that lead to nowhere and for sale signs still dot the neighborhood. Driveways that lead to nowhere and for sale signs still dot the neighborhood.
The beauty of nature also convinced Don and Martha Wade to build back. The beauty of nature also convinced Don and Martha Wade to build back.
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

For all of the post Katrina success stories on the coast, there are still plenty of painful reminders of the hurricane's devastating impact. Eight years after the storm, Seacliff Boulevard in the Gulf Park Estates community of Jackson County looks much the same as it did right after the Katrina hit.

The scars are still visible: Lonely pilings reaching into the sky, driveways that lead to nowhere and for sale signs.

Seacliff Boulevard was once a thriving road with more than 30 homes. All were washed away by Katrina. Eight years later, only four families have rebuilt. Muriel Swint is one of them.  

"I love it out here. It's beautiful, the nature. I love it, this is my home." Swint said. 

That view also convinced Don and Martha Wade to come back. Their home was gone after Katrina. Now it's back. Don has a theory about why others haven't done the same. 

"A lot of factors why they don't want to reinvest down here. Of course, insurance is a big factor and rebuilding in a storm prone area," Wade said. 

Chris Gordon has a different story. He moved here after the storm and built this house.  His reasons for coming are the same though. 

"It's just a beautiful area. I have a beautiful view," Gordon explained. "This is our retirement home and it's a very nice area. We have all kinds of recreation."

For the few families that have taken a chance to rebuild on Seacliff Boulevard, they definitely like the lifestyle, they like the beautiful nature that surrounds them. One thing they don't like is the lack of neighbors.

"We had a lot of friends on the street," Wade said. "We developed a lot of friends and a lot of good people here. Some of them moved back, most of them haven't."  

Does he miss them? "Oh yeah, yeah. Talk to some of them quite frequently." 

They all know they're taking a chance by building here, a possible target for the next big storm, according to Swint.

"Yes, you have that risk. But I think overall the chances of that happening again like that are very slim."

Gordon agrees. "It's a risk, but it's a risk we're willing to take."

The four homes that have been rebuilt on Seacliff Boulevard meet or exceed the new FEMA elevation requirements that were instituted after the storm.  All are more than 23 feet above sea level.

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