Biloxi's Episcopal Church of the Redeemer has deep roots in South Mississippi. The renowned church has been around for generations and Jefferson Davis was a member. After Camille, the church's bell tower was all that was left standing. Thirty-six years later, Katrina destroyed nearly everything on the church property, but the Camille Memorial remains. Though the memorial is battered church leaders have plans for it and other parts of the church property.
Volunteers from as far away as Hollywood, California joined local workers to clean the grounds were the Church of the Redeemer once stood.
Church member Jim Wheeler says, "We are a rock solid part of this community, and we want people to know that we do still care about this property."
D'iberville steel worker Ron Edwards has been digging out muck embedded in the Camille Memorial. He made a monumental discovery. "We found another piece to one of the pieces that had the names on it, so I'm sure that means something to somebody somewhere," Edwards says.
Church leaders hope to restore the Camille Memorial, but nothing has been set in stone yet. Father Harold Roberts says, "It's our intention at this stage to keep the Memorial here and to fix it up." Besides restoring the Camille Memorial, Father Roberts would like to mount the salvaged historic bell on the floor of what used to be the bell tower, and use the remaining steel girders of the church as an open door chapel.
Roberts says, "I am trying to encourage the congregation to look at just planting grass and leaving it as open sacred space, and people again can come there for quiet."
Plans for where the church will rebuild remain up in the air as do final plans for the church's beach front property.