Riverfront Communities Start Building Back - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Riverfront Communities Start Building Back

Back in December, dozens of Bay St. Louis families made peace with losing their homes to Katrina by getting rid of house keys. With the hurricane destroying nearly every house in Jourdan River Estates residents decided to have a "Throw your keys in the river party." Danielle Thomas went to that neighborhood and the Garden Isles area to see the progress being made.

"There were 158 houses," says Terry Jacobs. "There's none left."

Terry Jacobs has a summer home in Jourdan River Estates. He's rebuilding for a second time after losing the house in both hurricanes Camille and Katrina. Jacob can't understand why anyone would hesitate to build in this beautiful place.

"Some people you talk to take a wait-and-see attitude," he says. "Their attitude is we're going to wait and see if there is going to be another hurricane. Well, is the sun going to rise tomorrow? Yes, there will be another hurricane. Now whether it will be as devastating or whether it will come here that's another story. There was no apprehension on my part to come here."

Residents we talked with say they aren't worried about coming back because they're building better and stronger houses.

Jourdan River Estates resident Rome Emmons says, "We raised our lot up about four feet and I think that's going do enough. We're going to raise our house up to 17 feet and be in compliance with the federal government."

Ed Authement also lives in a Hancock County riverfront community called Garden Isles. He's encouraged by what he sees around him.

"There's a few people that want to get away but across on the other side on River View, people are coming back. They're staying," says Authement.

While many home and business owners are leaving waterfront property for higher ground.. people here say next to the water is where they belong.

Jacob says, "Look at the view, It's incredible. The fishing is good the water sports are good."

"I want to come back," says Authement. "I'm going to come back."

Residents of Jourdan River Estates say because Katrina destroyed the water lines only the dozen or so people with wells are rebuilding right now. They expect more people to come back when the system is repaired.

by Danielle Thomas 

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