Pass Christian Issues First Occupancy Permit

All around Lemoyne Road in Pass Christian, there are scenes of destruction and despair.

"They're tearing the houses down around us here with the equipment, and it just brings tears to your eyes," said Chuck Linkey.

But at Chuck Linkey's house, there are sounds of life. Linkey and his wife Joyce designed a 1,300 square foot home in the neighborhood for their retirement.

"We were just a few days from moving in when the storm hit. So it was kind of devastating," Joyce Linkey said.

Yet the Linkeys feel very fortunate to have a house, because Katrina wiped out the house they were living in right next door. They're also thankful, because as a contractor, Chuck Linkey saved all his tools.

"About two days before the storm, I put them all in a U-Haul and took them up in the country, not knowing that would be the only thing I'd have left of my life before," said Chuck.

Now, the Linkeys are using those tools to repair their new house. And they feel quite proud to be the first in the city of Pass Christian to receive a "Certificate of Occupancy," which allows them to move in to the home.

"Oh it's wonderful! Absolutely! I mean this is, to me, this is what it's all about. It's one place at a time coming back," said Chuck.

His wife said, "It's not home yet. It won't be home until our neighbors come back and we, of course, get some furniture."

The Linkeys hope that by moving back to their old neighborhood, others will soon follow.

"I think it's bringing life back into the community, and it gives other people hope that they can come back and we can live again here. It's a beautiful community," said Joyce.

Her husband added, "This is number one and everybody around us can come on and let's go at it. If you need some help, just call me. I still have my tools."

The Linkeys hope to finish repairing their house by May.