Neighbors Determined To Rebuild Gulfport's Second Street

A week after the hurricane, Vice President Dick Cheney stood amid the storm debris on Second Street in Gulfport. He told reporters he was most impressed by the determination of the residents to rebuild their homes and reclaim their lives.

Four months later, does that same spirit still exist? Residents WLOX News visited with say it certainly does.

"From where we're standing to the house was about ten feet. I'd say nine or ten feet of debris. 'Cause we were climbing close to the knot on that tree up there," said Russ Anderson, as he told a visitor about the debris pile he climbed over to see his childhood home.

Anderson, who now lives in North Carolina, visited Gulfport shortly after the hurricane. Like the storm battered house where he grew up, Second Street remains a shell of its picturesque past.

"I think that's what hurts worse. You think of the old Second Street. Then you come through and see what it is now," he explained.

Piles of debris still lie along sidewalks. Katrina destroyed homes and dreams.

"I just retired and everything was just right. Going to enjoy life and along came Katrina," said Catherine Franke Anderson.

Rather than enjoying retirement, she now salvages what little she can from her destroyed house. The question of rebuilding remains unanswered.

"Not sure. We're just waiting. But hopefully things will fall into place for us," she said.

Things are falling into place for the Lorbach's. They weren't so certain when riding out the hurricane in the attic.

"I could see some ocean from our side porch. And I knew something was really, really bad then because we could never see any water from here at all," said Sally Lohrbach.

"We didn't have sheet rock on. We had wood paneling on this older house," said Loren Lohrbach, as he showed off the repair work the couple has completed.

They'll spend many months repairing the 56 year old house. Despite the storm, they're believers in Second Street.

"We're making very good progress. We have something to repair. Thank God. So many people do not," said Loren Lohrbach.

Russ Anderson knows why Second Street remains special.

"I got a good feeling. No matter if it turns out what it was, or what it's become, it's the people that make the place," he said.

There are a few "for sale" signs posted along Second Street, but it appears the vast majority of neighbors plan on repairing or rebuilding their homes.