East Biloxi Relief Well Coordinated - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

East Biloxi Relief Well Coordinated

Bill Stallworth walked down Nixon Street and assessed the mess. Seven months after Katrina, east Biloxi looked better than he expected.

"One of the things the groups said when they first came down was they didn't have any place to plug in," Stallworth remembered.

So the ward two councilman became east Biloxi's outlet -- the conduit between hurricane victims and dozens of volunteer clean up teams.

"Without all of these volunteers coming in, then east Biloxi can't recover," he said.

When Stallworth isn't at council meetings, he's running the East Biloxi Coordination and Relief Center. He's been amazed at what his small group and a bunch of out-of-town volunteers have done around the neighborhood.

"It's like starting a little back fire," he described. "You light a match here. You light a little match there. You light a match there. And that's why you've bot a blazing inferno."

Here's how the fire spreads. While one home in one section of east Biloxi is being gutted, another house is being reframed. And the one next door is getting drywalls, electricity and heat. The idea is to coordinate repair projects one neighborhood at a time.

"That's the whole purpose," Stallworth said. "It's a whole lot easier taking homes that are still existing and build them back. It's a whole lot cheaper than trying to build a new home."

Frances Burney lives in one of the finished products. What you see is a comfortable home that looking nothing like it did before or during the hurricane.

"I think they did a beautiful job, don't you think so," the Biloxi woman asked her guests.

Stallworth was impressed.

"This is the time to make all the difference. And when these homes come back, I want a great community. And that's what we're going to have," he said.

If you live in east Biloxi, and you need information about the East Biloxi Coordination office, stop by the Greater St. John AME Church on Lee Street across from Yankie Stadium.

by Brad Kessie

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