Jackson County community struggles to build back 9 years after h - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson County community struggles to build back 9 years after hurricane

Jackson County community still working to make a comeback after Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX News) Jackson County community still working to make a comeback after Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Community in Jackson County still fighting to build back after Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX News) Community in Jackson County still fighting to build back after Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX News)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

As we approach the 9th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, many on the coast are still struggling to rebuild after the destructive storm. 

Shortly before Hurricane Katrina struck, Max Ingram and Russell Barnett moved into homes in Belle Fontaine Beach in Jackson County's Fontainebleau community. 

"Hurricane Katrina came and took it away completely," Ingram said. 

"We came back to basically a slab," Barnett said. 

These residents decided to build back, but many of their neighbors did not. 

"It is very disappointing, but it is a combination of the insurance costs out here. The new building codes, which require you to build stronger structurally and higher. So it is more expensive to build and replace a home than it was before," said Barnett.

It's also disappointing to Jackson County Supervisor John McKay to see so many concrete slabs and for sale signs nine years later.

McKay represents the entire Fontainebleau area. He said a little more than half of the 18,000 people who once lived in the area have moved back since the 2005 hurricane.  

"The way that it has effected Jackson County is the tax base. For example, on Belle Fontaine Beach here the homes were all valued well over $200,000 and some $500,000. So, whenever we have that many homes that are not rebuilt, of course that affects the tax base," McKay said.

There are still small signs of new life coming out of the ground in the area near Barnett and Ingram's homes. Harper-Avery LLC. is one of the contractors.

"Currently, we have two houses under construction and another eight planned. I think the fear has decapitated and I think people are ready to come back to the coast," Contractor Joshua Schmitt said. 

Neighbors say they hope that's the case and the revitalization continues.

"It helps the tax base. I think it makes the community better when you have all the people back," said Ingram.

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