Gautier Couple Reflects On Presidential Visit

We've all had the surprise of an unexpected house guest, but what if that visitor was the President of the United States? That's what happened to a Gautier couple. During his visit on the Mississippi Gulf Coast last week, President George W. Bush went to the house Jerry and Elaine Akins are building on the waterfront.

"Believe it or not, we've had people come by and take pictures of the light fixture," laughed Jerry Akins.

Jerry and Elaine Akins could have the most famous light fixture in America. A short inscription on the ceiling tells visitors how it was put up by none other than President George W. Bush.

"Even if the building inspector says there's something wrong with it, it's gonna stay there," said Jerry.

The Akins say last week's visit with President Bush and his wife was like talking to old friends.

"I wasn't nervous at all. They just put you at ease the minute you meet them. They're so gracious and so down to earth. I was just impressed. I shook more the next day than I did that day, I think," Elaine Akins said.

The Akins are building a house to replace the one Katrina destroyed. They see the president's visit as an inspiration to everyone committed to bringing the Gulf Coast back.

"We were really impressed that we were chosen and flattered that we were chosen to represent the Mississippi coast as far as rebuilding goes," said Jerry Akins.

The Akins say they aren't sure why they chosen for a presidential visit. They weren't even told they were being considered.

"People had been scouting us for over a week prior to coming here, telling us they were from FOX News, telling us their producers were interested, and they'd get in touch with us," said Jerry Akins. "We found out later, they were all secret service agents checking us out."

Two hours before he was standing in their house, the Akins were told the president was on his way over.

"When the helicopters started flying around and men in black suits and sun glasses got out of these big black SUVs we were shocked."

The Akins say once the shock of Katrina's devastation wore off they realized they couldn't leave South Mississippi.

"We've lived here over 30 years and we don't want to live anywhere else."

The Akins say they plan to devote a room in their house to the photographs and memorabilia from President's Bush visit. They say they'll call it "The Presidential Suite."