Gulfport Man Tackles Storm Damage Himself

A coat of paint can help William Carter hide the scars. But it can't mask the memories of August 29th.

"Everyday I came over here," Carter remembered. "I'd look around and see them haul everything off, I'd say to myself, 'Why am I doing this.'"

Carter came up with a very simple answer.

"I wanted to beat Katrina is what I wanted to do," he said.

For awhile, beating the hurricane seemed impossible. The pictures he had of the Sunridge Park Townhome complex a day after Katrina came ashore painted scenes of utter despair.

"It was a mess. We had seven feet of water here," Carter said.

Instead of sulking, Carter picked up a paint brush. He decided to do his own contracting work.

"I've kind of enjoyed it really," he said. "But it kind of came out of frustration and aggravation with the looters and everything else. When I first got here, the place was just tore up."

Carter found a way to use the looting incident as a personal rallying cry to save his town home.

"I think that kind of motivated me to say well, you know what, I can do it, so I'm going to do it," he said. "And I did."

Carter's gotten so much work done in the last six months, he's finally sleeping in the townhome again. And he's slowly moving new furniture into the rooms that he gutted, and he repainted.

"I guess sometimes it gets aggravating. But it's gotta be done," he said.

Because William Carter is more than ready to say good bye to the FEMA trailer he has parked outside the Sunridge Park complex. He's also ready to reclaim the life he had before Katrina messed everything up. He'd like to be completely moved back into his townhome in about six to eight weeks.

"I've got to go back to work," he said with a smile.

The Sunridge Park Townhouse complex is a block off the beach in central Gulfport. All 14 units filled up with water during the hurricane, but according to maps, it's not in a flood zone.