Checkpoint Still Set Up In Henderson Point

Herbert Roles has heard every possible excuse from drivers trying to sightsee past his Henderson Point checkpoint.

"It's interesting," the sheriff's deputy said while waving a car through he checkpoint.

Interesting, and often rather humorous.

"Just yesterday, an old gentleman and his wife came by," the sergeant remembered. "He said, 'Well I'm trying to get to Hancock County.' I said, 'Yes sir, but you can't go this way.' He answered, 'Oh yes you can.' I said, 'No sir you can't get to Hancock County this way. I said, 'Well, maybe if your vehicle is one of the new ones that can float or go on water you can. If not, you have to go to the interstate.' He said, 'Oh the bridge is out.' I said, 'Yes sir.' He said, 'Oh I forgot about that.'"

Roles has worked this checkpoint four days a week since the storm. It's the last hurricane checkpoint set up around the county. Why? Because Harrison County still needs stop signs to monitor traffic in and out of this devastated, unincorporated area.

"From sightseeing and what have you, because it's still dangerous back there," Roles said.

Just 23 out of 470 Henderson Point homes survived Katrina's onslaught. Because of the mess, visitors are naturally curious. They like to drive around and see what happened. Plus many have a desire to drive over to the bay bridge and watch it being torn apart. And that's what the sheriff's department doesn't want to see right now.

So they use officers like Sgt. Roles and this checkpoint to keep unwanted guests out.

"It's odd. But it has to be done," Roles said. "This is the worst part of the county that was hit."

Roles has no idea how much longer he'll be stationed at the corner of Cedar Avenue and Bayview Street. But as long as he's there, he'll wave and smile at his new friends. And he'll keep wayward drivers out of the hurricane damaged neighborhood.

Sheriff Payne said he'd like to shut down the Henderson Point checkpoint someday soon. But because the people in west Harrison County need that sort of protection right now, he's in no hurry to move his officers.