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