Post Katrina Labor Day Family Reunion In Biloxi - - The News for South Mississippi

Post Katrina Labor Day Family Reunion In Biloxi

Ginger Collins of Biloxi can't recall where she was or what she was doing last Labor Day.   

"No, I don't to tell you the truth," says Ginger. "I don't remember."

But her 80 year old mother Rose knows where she wasn't.  

"Oh yes," says Rose. "We weren't here. We weren't here last year."

Here, is the family home on Biloxi's Back Bay where Rose and her husband Paul raised 8 children.  

"The front entrance is right there,"says Paul, pointing to all that's left of his home.

Paul now calls that his gazebo. It's about all that Hurricane Katrina left standing.  

"We still have the pool," says the 83 year old. "We have the pier that still has to be fixed, and we have now the gazebo over there."

And most importantly, he still has his family, who after a one year interruption to their 30 plus year Labor Day tradition are reunited on the old homestead.  

"You know not to make plans on this day," says Ginger. "You know where you're supposed to be."  

Most years more than a hundred members of the Collins immediate and extended family spend summers last holiday here. They're not going to rebuild here, but Paul and Rose aren't saying good-bye either.  

"We decided to keep the lot until we see how things go," says Paul. "See how many times we can come like this and use it."  

And house or no house, a family tradition is one thing Katrina can't take.

"My house has always been a big house," says Rose. "So it's been a house of hospitality and we always invited my side of the family and his side. This is a place that people will remember."  

by Don Culpepper

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