House Movers Busy Since The Storm

It took Katrina very little time to knock thousands of houses off their foundations. Moving them back is a different story.

It takes specialized skills to move a house.

The historic home on Church Avenue in Gulfport was knocked off its blocks.

"It's a small job. But it's a challenge," said John Williams, owner of "Kosciusko House Movers."

His crew will return the wood frame structure to its pre-Katrina location.

"It was sitting flat on the ground all the way around, like so many here on the coast," said Williams, motioning to the structure.

An old fashioned mechanical jack is part of the lifting process. Along with something more modern. An inflatable air bag has become the house mover's best friend.

"It's a nylon, rubber mat - the same as a car truck tire. And you inflate it to like 100 pounds of pressure and these particular ones will lift to about four inches for around thirty tons," he explained.

"All I see is sticks and leaves and dirty laundry," said home owner Michael Richardson, peering beneath his wood frame house.

He bought the house a little over a year ago. It once served as a slave quarters for a nearby plantation.

"They truly don't build them like they used to. Not like this. This house could now be the oldest structure remaining in Gulfport," Richardson said.

A wood frame home on 9th Avenue is also being put back where it belongs. And there's no rushing such a job. What took Katrina a matter of minutes, is usually several days work for the movers.

Katrina has created several years worth of work for house movers. Willliams' company alone has already finished some two dozen jobs since the storm, including a highly visible project on the beach in Biloxi, just west of the lighthouse.

"Everything can be moved. It's just whether it's practical or not," said Williams.

There's enough demand for this specialty skill that John Williams has temporarily relocated from Kosciusko to the coast.

There are several house moving companies doing business in the storm damaged area. John Williams says home owners should check the background and references before hiring any company to move a house.