St. Andrews Residents Say They're Determined To Rebuild - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

St. Andrews Residents Say They're Determined To Rebuild

A year after Katrina, many people in Jackson County are still struggling to rebuild their homes and rebuild their lives. That includes folks in the St. Andrews community. The monster storm destroyed more than 30 homes there and flooded hundreds more.

Marilyn Swanson just recently moved back into her newly designed, three bedroom home in St. Andrews.

"I am very excited about it, I get up and thank the man above everyday for what I have," Swanson said.

One year ago, life was much different for Swanson. During Katrina, her home was turned into nothing more than a slab. All her valuables were gone.

But that setback did not stop her from returning to the community. By November, workers started reconstructing what she calls her "post-Katrina palace."

"I have never been frightened to do anything. You have to take a gamble in life. It was my home and I do not like defeat. I did feel I could build it back." 

Just next door, neighbor Terry Powell never thought he'd consider cleaning the windows outside his home a privilege, more than a chore.

Like Swanson, he lost everything to Katrina's wind and water. But he bounced back and decided to rebuild a new home for his family.

"It is a great place. It is a great community around here, and it was just a no brainier for us," Powell said.

Unlike Swanson and Powell, many people in the St. Andrews Community have not built back. But Jackson County Supervisor John McKay is hoping for brighter future for the St. Andrews area. 

"I think a lot of it has to do with the insurance coverage battles everyone is going through. A lot of it has to do with the slowness of the grants, the $150,000 grants. And a lot has to do with the required elevations. It will return, there is no doubt in mind. It is too pretty for people to stay out, but it will just take some time," McKay said.

In fact, McKay said developers out of Florida are planning to build more than 200 new homes in St. Andrews. They also plan to upgrade the golf course.

By Patrice Clark

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