Diamondhead Recovery Moving Forward

Hurricane Katrina flooded or destroyed hundreds of homes in Diamondhead . But despite the damages, that community in Hancock County remains a desirable place to live.

Katrina's impact on Diamondhead mirrors that of many coastal communities. Some homes were virtually untouched, while others were absolutely destroyed.

FEMA trailers now occupy areas where such structures had been taboo.

"We're trying to make it as easy as we know how to help people get their lives back together. Because it was a tremendous shock," said Lloyd Ramirez, the president of the Diamondhead Property Owners Association.

A timetable for replacing the destroyed yacht club and making other repairs hinges on insurance settlements. While the devastated area south of I-10 remains a wreck, there is encouragement.

"On the southside, where the homes were totally destroyed, we've got a list of 65 people, residents, who have declared they're going to rebuild. And we just think that's fantastic," said Ramirez.

"We got about three foot of water. And we had some wind damage," said Lynn Cox.

Cox is staying put, even though Katrina dumped more than three feet of water into his home of four years.

"We love the atmosphere here. We love the people. It's just a great community," he said.

Cox shares the post storm headaches of many coast home owners. Scraping together the money for repairs, since he had no flood insurance, isn't an easy proposition.

"We've spent savings. We've spent everything we actually had until this point. And it's just been a struggle to get any money," said Cox.

The ongoing growth in Diamondhead hasn't slowed since the storm. If anything, it's greater.

"We think it probably has a chance to accelerate post storm. Because what we're seeing is many people moving up from the Bay and other areas into Diamondhead," Ramirez explained.

They'll join folks like Lynn Cox, who wouldn't live anywhere else.

"Diamondhead is coming back," he declared.

The population of Diamondhead is about 9,000. The community has plenty of room for growth, since Diamondhead is only about 60 percent developed.