Frustrations Abound In West Gulfport Neighborhood

A half year after the hurricane there remains an abundance of compelling storm stories. They can be found in every neighborhood along the coast.

We visited one such neighborhood in West Gulfport on 38th Avenue. There we found a story of survival along with much uncertainty about the future.

Catherine Dalferes managed to share her story, without crying, although she told us she might. She and her neighbors are still struggling to reconcile what Katrina washed away six months ago.

"Why did we need to go? Our house had withstood Camille. What could be worse than Camille," Dalferes asked, in front of her storm ravaged house.

The pre-Katrina answer seemed obvious. That's why she and her family chose to ride out the storm in their century old home.

"We were in the house when the front porch blew off," he said.

Wind and water both challenged the old house, rocking it off the foundation and dumping nearly two feet of water inside.

"People say, 'oh, weren't you panicked?' Well, something took over, adrenaline starts running," she said.

The adrenaline has long since disappeared, leaving frustrations about the future.

"These two houses are total losses," said frustrated neighbor Tom Healy, who awaits demolition.

He owns a pair of homes on 38th Avenue, but lives part time in Massachusetts.

"So I was here half the time. And this was all my retirement money. And I'm like Trent Lott, they're not paying me a nickel. So, I'm just going to pray to FEMA and do the best I can to recover anything I can," he said.

The future of the Dalferes' home remains uncertain. Riding the storm out, decisions came by instinct.

At the height of the hurricane, with her family huddled together on the second floor, Catherine Dalferes heard a pounding at the front door. When her husband and son went downstairs to investigate, they found a storm survivor who had lived at a nearby apartment complex, just down the street.

The visitor swam from one rooftop to another before finding sanctuary.

"He saw our house and the door. And he said, 'I don't know if anybody is in there, but if I don't get inside there, I'm going to die,'" Dalferes recalled.

The harrowing storm experience may convince Catherine Dalferes to leave a place she loves.

"And if it means we have to leave the Gulf Coast, it will break our hearts. But we're going to do whatever's right for us," she said.

Dalferes is now living in North Carolina. She and her husband are still not certain whether they'll sell, try and salvage or have to demolish their 113-year-old house in West Gulfport.