What will the Point Cadet of the future look like - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

What will the Point Cadet of the future look like

For sale sales in East Biloxi outnumber fire hydrants. (Photo Source: WLOX News) For sale sales in East Biloxi outnumber fire hydrants. (Photo Source: WLOX News)
For sale sales in East Biloxi outnumber fire hydrants. (Photo Source: WLOX News) For sale sales in East Biloxi outnumber fire hydrants. (Photo Source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Much of East Biloxi sits empty. Historic structures are washed away, and for sale signs out number fire hydrants. Everything came to a dead end after Katrina.

Jerry O'Keefe, 91, is a former mayor and has lived in East Biloxi since 1959. He remembers the day after the storm that laid waste to the entire area.

“The CNN camera was panning the area to show a lot of the damage to the condominium next door, and we saw our home was gone,” O'Keefe recalled.

So, why did he rebuild?

“It really took away home for all of my children, 13 of them, and so really, that's the main reason I was determined to rebuild,” he said.

Will the Point ever come back the way it was, covered with modest homes that allowed people to live there and make a living from the sea? O'Keefe doesn't think so.

“You feel like you've lost something, and we're not ever going to recover. It's a shame, but that's a fact of life,” O'Keefe lamented.

All is not lost, though. There have been success stories, like the new seafood industry museum, a waterfront park and a new Slavonian Lodge. But, homes being rebuilt have come to a stop.

So, what might the future hold? O'Keefe has a theory.

“Maybe multifamily structures where the parking could be underneath the building,” O'Keefe explained.

Prior to Katrina, there were hundreds of homes in East Biloxi and Point Cadet. Almost every single one was washed away by the storm surge.

For the few people who have chosen to rebuild, chosen to come back, people like O'Keefe, does that lead to a lonely existence?

“We're kind of the lone ranger down here. We're missing homes. This street, Holley Street right here, you can drive all the way to the bay and there's not 12 homes,” O'Keefe said.

Wednesday night's forum on the future of East Biloxi begins at 7 p.m. at the Slavonian Lodge. The moderator for the Katrina+10 event is another former Biloxi mayor, Gerald Blessey.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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