BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - While residents closest to the gulf were among some of the worst affected by Hurricane Katrina, neighborhoods along the back Bay saw utter destruction as well.
For many, it was quite a shock considering past experiences with hurricanes. Slabs and rubble were all that remained where sturdy homes once stood in the Eagle Point area of Biloxi.
"We knew how bad the storm was, but none of us really thought it would affect the bay. It was bad," said Captain J.T. Davis of the Biloxi Fire Department.
Captain Davis and firefighter Terry Hudson were some of the first people to see the aftermath of the storm on the bay. Their feeling of shock was magnified in the homeowners who came back to see remnants of their lives.
"We just never realized that there would be nothing left," said Carrie Touchstone.
Touchstone and her family built their waterfront house in 1992 on South River Drive. They evacuated when Katrina became an imminent threat. Now, they're the only ones on their street who returned. Everyone else currently living on South River Drive did not live there before the storm.
"We just felt like we needed to be back down here," said Touchstone. "This was home."
But, just like the Touchstones, "home" for many was wiped away. As a firefighter, Hudson usually only sees one family at a time suffer such a huge loss.
"But when you see a hundred families or more lose everything they have it just sticks with you," said Hudson.
Don Chain and his family started out on the first floor of their home just north of the bay.
"Next thing we know, the water starts coming up. We thought it would be a little water, but once it got up to about three feet we decided we better get upstairs," noted Chain.
Chain's home saw six feet of water, but it wasn't wiped away.
"It's your home. If mine would have been wiped out, too, I would have come back and rebuilt my house," added Chain.
Wednesday night, WLOX News is airing a special focused entirely on Life Beyond Katrina, taking a look at how far the Coast has come in the last decade. Click here for a list of events happening around the Gulf Coast to commemorate the storm.