Katrina forever alters Point Cadet in Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Katrina forever alters Point Cadet in Biloxi

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Nicholas "Corky" Hire, now 92 years young, has lived at 126 Cedar Street all his life, and Katrina wasn't going to change that. Nicholas "Corky" Hire, now 92 years young, has lived at 126 Cedar Street all his life, and Katrina wasn't going to change that.
Generations of hard working fishermen and immigrant families made their homes in Biloxi's Point Cadet. Generations of hard working fishermen and immigrant families made their homes in Biloxi's Point Cadet.
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Eight years ago, decades of references to Hurricane Camille gave way to a harsher standard. Hurricane Katrina is now "the" storm of storms for people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Generations of hard working fishermen and immigrant families made their homes in Point Cadet. But Katrina showed little regard for that history or heritage when it slammed ashore in East Biloxi and forever changed a close knit community.

"It was just telling people there's hope. That we love each other. And that we would get through it," said Father Greg Barras of St. Michael Catholic Church.

He faced the overwhelming task of ministering to a community which lost so much.

"Homes were in the streets. All of them were destroyed in one form, shape or another. So, it was pretty universal in this section of East Biloxi. Tremendous, tremendous loss," recalled the priest.

Not surprisingly, with homes and material things lost, people leaned on their faith.

"And people, if they just saw the sight of this church standing, regardless of its condition, saw the cross on the top, they were renewed in their hope and their strength and that we would get through," said Father Barras.

One of those parishioners was Point Cadet native, Nicholas "Corky" Hire.

"I was born here 92 years ago," he said, "We knew everybody down here."

He and his wife of 58 years now live in an elevated Katrina cottage on Cedar Street. He was raised in the fishing and seafood industry. This World War II vet and former Biloxi shrimp king vividly remembers returning to Point Cadet two days after Katrina.

"When I come down, they stopped me. I forgot why they stopped me somewhere on Oak Street. They said, 'Where you going?'  I said, I wanna go see if I have a house. You live where? I said Cedar Street. Okay. We couldn't get here. It was piled up with lumber. I said damn! You know?  What else can I say?"

Eight years later, his beloved neighborhood is lined with crumbling slabs, countless "For Sale" signs and little promise of people building back.

"There's not much development in the area. And that's a real loss and a real sadness. We were hoping government and other agencies could attract development," said Father Barras.

Corky Hire doesn't expect Point Cadet will ever be exactly what it was before August 29th, 2005.

"No sir. Time changes everything."

Even though he doesn't expect Point Cadet will ever return to what it was before Katrina, Corky Hire and his wife are quite happy living in their elevated Katrina cottage on Cedar Street.

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