Buildings Of The Past May Have A Future After Katrina

Help is out there to rebuild some historical sites damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Saturday the Mississippi Department of Archives and History sponsored a meeting in Gulfport.

The goal was to make people aware of the state and federal resources available in restoring historical buildings.

Historical administrator Bill Raymond walked around the Old Brick House on Saturday.

"Well you can see the reason it survived," he said. "Look at the walls. They are three bricks thick."

Raymond credits its many bricks for saving the Old Brick House.

He says with other places like Tullis Manor and the Danztler House destroyed, it's even more important that the Old Brick House with a past that dates back to the 1800s has a future.

"The fact that there is something left of it," said Raymond. "That's also exciting. The fact that you can save it."

On Saturday dozens of people went looking for information from the state Department of Achieves and History on how to get the funding and the know-how to restore damaged historical buildings without compromising their character.

"We have documented 1000 or more that have survived and we think restorable so we're in the process now of evaluating those one by one with structural engineers and architects to see what can be done," said Historic Preservation director Kenneth P'Pool.

Becky Green felt good about what she learned about how to save her Biloxi home.

"It's now one of the last historic homes on the beach and it has such history that it would be a shame not to preserve it," said Green. "It's in great shape. It doesn't look so good right now but structurally it's in excellent shape."

While it looks like the Old Brick house will get a happy ending officials say 300 buildings that were on the National Registry are gone and their history forever lost.

"I could go back and rebuild something that looked like Tullis but it would never be Tullis and it's not going to be a historic structure," said Raymond.

Volunteers from the Savannah College of Art and Design are also doing free structural assessments of historical buildings.