First Biloxi Condo Since Katrina Welcomes First Guests

"This is the dining room. Isn't this pretty?" says Dee Schnake as she pointed to the beautifully set table.

Dee and Norm Schnake feel like VIPs.

"Everything's set up for us," says Dee Schnake. "They even put in a wi-fi for us."

The Schnakes are the first guests of the Sea Breeze Condominium Resorts. Since 1990, they've been leaving home in Memphis, to celebrate Christmas with their son in South Mississippi.

"Because he'd be working and he couldn't go away for Christmas.  That's how it started," says Norm Schnake.

"And we liked it so much, we just kept coming," says his wife Dee.

"We packed all our presents and our tree," says Schnake.

Katrina ruined the family's Christmas plans last year, when the Henderson Point condo they rented was destroyed. Their son's house was also wiped out. This year, they discovered Sea Breeze in Biloxi. The ten-story, 101-unit complex offers penthouse suites, a heated pool, and a gorgeous view.

"We really like the dunes and the wheat grass and the beach is really cleaned up nicely," says Dee Schnake.

"I like the view of the Beau Rivage. It's calling me," says her husband.

The complex was under construction when Katrina hit, but none of the units were actually being built at the time. There was only minor mechanical and plumbing damage, but the structure stood up to the storm.

"It means a great deal in regards to getting people to come in and want to stay in condos," says Allen Headley, Sea Breeze Manager. "Biloxi is on the rebound with a lot of lodging, and we're glad to be able to contribute to that part of tourism."

The Schnakes feel merrier, because they're back on the Coast to carry on a Christmas tradition.

"We have the grand kids here and seeing our children and we're glad we can come back," says Dee Schnake.

"Because if we don't, we don't get to see our son at Christmas time," says Norm Schnake.

All the units at the Sea Breeze have been sold. Most of the owners live within a 400-mile radius of the property. It costs $159 a night for the smaller units, and $259 a night for the penthouse suite. The prices go up during the peak summer months.