Waveland Recovery Slow But Steady

Much of Waveland remains covered with debris and destruction more than seven months after Katrina. But there is also evidence of the city building back.

The City of Waveland issued more than 500 building permits last month alone. Of course that's a small percentage of the thousands of homes and businesses destroyed by the storm.

Like so many areas affected by Katrina, WLOX News found both promise and frustration there.

"This is where we chose to spend our retirement years," said Susan McManus, as she proudly showed off her new home-under-construction.

But Susan and husand Dan didn't choose to rebuild their house from the ground up. Katrina forced that decision.

"We lost everything," said McManus, "But hey we're coming back."

Their brand new home on Nicholson Avenue will replace the one they'd finished renovating just a few months before the hurricane hit.

"This is the bedroom. And you notice it's got a great view of the pool and backyard. And over here is the master bath, with lots of windows," she said, while giving an informal tour of the work in progress.

Initially a summer home location, the retired couple fell in love with Waveland. The McManus's want their rebuilding project to be an incentive for others.

"My husband has been trying to think of a sign to put in front to encourage other people to get going, you know."

Brenda Bouchereau would like to get going. But there's not a lot of construction underway on her street off Waveland Avenue.

"What's happening is we're trying to come back. We have like three houses nobody's actually done anything. The rest of us are trying, but it's very difficult without any resources," she explained.

Her flower garden is among the bright spots in the neighborhood. But the beautiful flowers don't reflect the frustrations felt by home owners still struggling to bounce back from the storm.

"I'm on a fixed income, so that just kind of leaves me doing a lot of it myself. Churches came and took out my windows and took brick down, things like that. But I'm trying to fix things myself," said the determined homeowner.

As is the case in many areas, the rebuilding in Waveland depends largely on financial circumstances. Generally, homeowners with the means or the insurance coverage are able to rebuild more quickly. It's a much slower process for those with more limited resources.