Pass Christian Evacuees About To Go Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/12/05

Pass Christian Evacuees About To Go Home

Pass Christian evacuees stood in a line, thinking they were about to go home. But word quickly spread, their homes were still off limits.

"What does it take to show your ID, prove your address, and give you a pass?" one man asked.

The hurricane victims became noticeably angry.

"This is absurd," Susan Schertzer yelled. "It's two weeks. We ought to be able to get into our property."

They got a bit more irritated.

"Everyday they tell us, 'Tomorrow you can get in, tomorrow you can get in,'" mumbled Schertzer, knowing another brick wall prevented a Monday return to their homes.

Patience was finally running out.

"I mean I live in Pass Christian west of Davis," said Nanette Favre. "I want to go home and see my house. I haven't seen my house. I could just cry."

They've seen Katrina's unmerciful power from a distance. Now these Pass Christian residents want an upclose look at the devastation. So every morning, Pass Christian's evacuees line up at the Abbey Road Athletic Club, hoping to get a pass to venture into the disaster area.

"I don't have a house. All I have is a slab," one woman said. "I just have all my stuff spread out in my neighbors' lawns. I would like to retrieve a few personal belongings that I have."

But the city keeps saying no -- homes where these people live are off limits to everybody except rescue crews, because their neighborhoods are filled with debris, danger, and probably a few dead bodies.

A military police officer tried to play peacemaker.

"If you want to vent, I'll stand over here and you can come talk to me and vent," he told the crowd. "But remember, we're all trying to help each other out."

Help was something the crowd didn't feel like it was receiving from Pass Christian's leadership.

"They need to accommodate these people who have lost everything and allow them to salvage pieces of their life," one woman said.

Ron Rolfes drove back to Pass Christian from Mobile. He heard he could finally get to his house. He was wrong.

"This has been two weeks and we can't even get back to our property to try and salvage anything," he said. "I do know my house is flat on the ground. That I do know. But what's left, I don't know."

Pass Christian prevented people from going home for their protection. That didn't satisfy the people in line.

"It's just frustrating," a woman said. "I understand they have a job to do, and I don't mind that. But it's just frustrating. I just want to go home and just dig what I can out. I have no house. But I want to get what I can out."

Late Monday afternoon, Pass Christian aldermen finally decided to let residents go home. Starting Tuesday morning, people with valid IDs can cross a barrier and see what Hurricane Katrina did to their properties.

by Brad Kessie

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