Homeowners Watch Bulldozers Tear Down Homes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/09/05

Homeowners Watch Bulldozers Tear Down Homes

"The stairs stayed. Can you believe this?" Donna Creel asked in amazement.

Her four children, grandchildren and many friends have bounded up those stairs to Creel's house over the years. The stairs now lead to a slab.

"It makes you stop and think how fast something can be taken away from you."

Katrina washed away so much. The house that Creel and her husband built 23 years ago in the St. Martin neighborhood has been reduced to broken dreams and ruined memories.

"These are my grandchildren's books that they would always read," Creel said as she tossed them into a pile.

"I cry all the time over nothing. I do. It's just sad. It took a lot of years to get what I had."

Creel keeps coming back to her property, hoping to find treasure among the trash. She pulled out some clothes from a garbage bag and said, "I got 3 blouses, I think. All for winter."

She's trying to salvage as much as she can before the bulldozers and a giant, yellow claw take away what's left.

"It'll be sort of like the end once they take everything off. Then it's going to have to be a new beginning, right?"

Down the street, Alton Richard watched as the house he built 53 years ago was reduced to rubble. Richard admitted he broke down when he watched the demolition, but says he's ready to get rid of the mess.

"It's all tore up and trashed. Got to clean it up. My wife's been waiting for them to do this every day, every day, and she went to the doctor today. She's missing everything. Ain't that something?"

As for Donna Creel, she believes in a matter of days, the debris trucks will roll up to her house on St. Martin Road.

"I'm scared to start all over."

Starting over after 23 years won't be easy.

"We've had good times in this house, but we'll take our good times with us," Creel said.

The first step is being able to let go. When asked if she is ready for the demolitions crews to take her house away, Creel answered, "No. But I think it would be better than looking at all this."

The Creels say they don't plan to rebuild in their St. Martin neighborhood and they certainly don't want to live near the water. To make matters worse, the Creels' package business on Division Street in Biloxi also flooded.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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