Lucedale Nurseries Hit Hard By Hurricane Katrina. - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Lucedale Nurseries Hit Hard By Hurricane Katrina.

Doug Byrd and his poinsettias are survivors.

"I never dreamed it would do it,"Byrd says.

He's spent everyday since the storm, trying to save what's left of his 27 year old business.

"The pine straw hurt, it was a substantial loss on that," Byrd says,"We've lost our mums, but the poinsettias and the pansies turned out to be okay."

The 80 greenhouses, though, didn't.

"For 25 years we've said, we don't worry about hurricanes, because we take all of our plastic off and prepare properly. So, you don't have to worry about it blowing the structure down without the plastic. This one did," Byrd says.

Byrd says he's not alone.

"Every nursery is a different story," Byrd says,"A lot of the ornamental nurseries with azaleas didn't sustain much damage, but the farmers with crops in the ground, they sustained substantial damage."

Byrd says those who were lucky not to loose as much on the ground ended up taking a harder hit on their customer list.

"Some of our people who ship to the coast, they are in a serious bind. Their contracts with the beau, other casinos, with new Orleans, they are out." Byrd adds,"We were lucky in that regard. Our customer base is okay."

All problems aside, Byrd believes the 12 million dollar industry will make a comeback.

"We're looking forward to the next year or two, but it's just the next six months that a lot of these guys have got to survive."

That, Byrd says, is not going to be easy.

By Jaimee Goad

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