Building Better Roads And Safer Homes

Heavy machines continue to clear-away pieces of what used to be somebody's house on Point Cadet. There are thousands of homes in South Mississippi that didn't make it through Katrina's raging winds and water.

"There's every reason to believe high storm surges will continue to occur when hurricanes make landfall in Mississippi. If you lost your house in Katrina, or Camille, do you want that to happen again?" asked Coastal Engineer Spencer Rogers.

Rogers was hired by FEMA to survey Katrina's destruction. He noticed similarities in the structures that survived, mainly, they were built on slender, open pilings.

"The wave simply goes around the pilings and reforms on the other side," said Rogers.

At the Governor's Renewal Commission Workshop, Rogers shared ideas on designing homes and businesses that are better protected from future hurricanes. He used the Isle of Capri Casino as an example.

"One of the better ways to elevate buildings is on parking decks. They can be easily designed as nice open structures. They can take wave loads, if you design properly for the wave forces," Rogers said.

Commission Chairman Jim Barksdale encourages each community to take advantage of this opportunity to study the building plans.

"It's a tragic, tragic situation. It's the worst time in the world to be doing this kind of work. But it's also the best time in the world, because this is the time we have the cleanest slate," Barksdale said.

The experts say if we don't learn from past mistakes, we're doomed to face similar devestation in the future. Another workshop will be held Friday at the Imperial Palace Resort from 8am until 5:15. The commission will deliver the final plans to the governor at the end of December.