Cedar Point neighborhood struggles to recover 10 years after Katrina

Cedar Point neighborhood struggles to recover 10 years after Katrina

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Hurricane Katrina hit the Cedar Point neighborhood in Bay St. Louis extremely hard. There was not a home left standing in a five block area from the beach front. Ten years later, Cedar Point is still struggling to bounce back.

Look around Cedar Point, and you will see a number of lots where homes used to be.

"I would bet we've got 95, 90 percent of property still to be redeveloped," said Chuck Benvenutti.

Benvenutti is chairman of the Hancock County Housing Resource Center. The organization formed after Katrina to track housing needs and assist residents in the rebuilding process. He also lives in Cedar Point.

"Ten years later, recovery in the Cedar Point neighborhood is slow, very slow," said Benvenutti.

"It still hasn't come back to its full potential," said Cedar Point resident Joseph Butler.

Butler lives on Harrison Court. Before Katrina, his street had quite a few homes. Ten years after the storm, there are only two homes on the street.

"I had eight, maybe 10 neighbors. I only have two now, because they can't afford to come back here," said Butler.

He and others say the cost to elevate a home and insure it has crippled redevelopment in the area.

"What are the impediments? Let's identify them. Then, let's figure out which one of those we can do something about," said Benvenutti.

Most of the new development in Cedar Point has occurred directly on the beachfront. But, Benvenutti paints a bleak picture for redevelopment on the streets behind Beach Boulevard.

"It's not going to come back. I mean, what's going on right now it's not going to come back. We could be looking at…it won't happen in my lifetime," explained Benvenutti.

Residents who did build back in that Cedar Point neighborhood will gather Saturday night to tell their Katrina survival stories and talk about recovery 10 years later.

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