Pearlington Residents Say State's Grant Program Should Include Them

Some Pearlington residents say the state should include them in the Hurricane Katrina Homeowner's Grant Program. Homeowners who lived outside of the federal flood zone can apply for up to $150,000 to rebuild. But many Pearlington residents told WLOX NEWS, the rules leave them empty handed.

You can't tell by looking at it, but Katrina's flood waters swallowed Billy Griffin's Pearlington home.

"The attic got water in it. It had to be stripped down to the studs and everything in it was destroyed and mud was about two feet deep throughout the house," Griffin said.

Griffin's been through this before. He built this home with a low interest government loan after Hurricane Camille.

"We were completely wiped out, so we qualified for a low interest loan to rebuild. So we come over here cause it was higher ground. There wasn't any requirement for any flood insurance mentioned in the discussion."

But that changed in the 1970s, as Dujuan Bosarge recently learned.

"From what I understand, we were designated a 100 year flood plain in 1974. If that is the case, why wasn't all the residents of Pearlington notified? Why wasn't we sent letter or why didn't our homeowners insurance companies make us aware of that?"

Griffin and Bosarge are not alone. For more than 30 years, most of the Pearlington community has been consider in a flood plain. But they say since the government didn't make that known after Camille, they should be included in the Katrina rebuilding grants.

"We feel like we should be included. I understand Louisiana has gotten theirs for just about everyone involved. They are below sea level, we are above sea level to start with and I don't see how they can discriminate against us. I can't see our top officials standing by and letting that happen," Pearlington resident George Ladner said.

Without help, these Pearlington residents don't know how they'll ever get out their FEMA trailers.

The Pearlington residents say they plan to talk to local and state leaders about changing the eligibility for the grants. Click here to read more about who is currently eligible for the grants, and how to apply.

by Al Showers