St. Martin Neighborhood Slowly Recovering - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

St. Martin Neighborhood Slowly Recovering

Steps to a slab mark one end of Dismuke Avenue. High grass and hollow houses are scattered about. Temporary trailer homes are abundant.

But progress is happening in Porteaux Bay subdivision. A year ago the place was in bad shape, hammered by Katrina's wind and water.

"Disaster," said Wes Tuck, who's working to repair a home on Dismuke.

"What amazed me was everything hanging in the trees. There was carpet and clothes and everything else in the trees," he recalled.

Tuck is part of the recovery. He and some friends bought a storm damaged house "as is." Repairs are nearly finished and the home is on the market.

"Started from basically scratch. Studs. There was stucco, it's now brick. New windows and flooring and everything. It's been fun. A lot of work, but a lot of fun," he said.

The neighborhood may still look a mess. But some "before and after" pictures from a year ago to today, provide adequate proof of progress. Though some slabs remain, other homes are fully repaired or nearly finished.

But the re-building has been slow.

"When we came here and started working, it was like a ghost town. No hammers. No fifteen guys on a roof hitting. So, it's been very, very peculiar. Why, I have no idea. I have no idea. Kind of strange, but it's been a slow recovery in this area," said Anthony Lepoma.

Slow, perhaps, but recovery nonetheless. The builder says home owners here share familiar frustrations.

"It seems like a lot of people have gotten their houses back together. And I think a lot of people are still waiting on insurance settlements and that sort of thing," said Lepoma.

Settling such issues should further fuel the Porteaux Bay revival.

"It's coming around. House by house it's getting a little better every day," said Wes Tuck.

Some home owners who are re-building are using the opportunity to upgrade. Anthony Lepoma says the owner he's working for, decided to add more ornate brickwork and enclose the garage for more living space.

By Steve Phillips

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