Hancock Bank In Bay St. Louis Celebrates Grand Re-Opening

Chuck Breath and Missy Breath-Altese are fifth generation descendants of one of the original founders of Hancock Bank, their great-great grandfather, John Anthony Breath.

"My grandfather was part of this.  My father worked for Hancock Bank for 28 years. My first banking account was here; you just don't look anywhere else because it's such a strong presence in our community," says Altese.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the grand-re-opening of the new Hancock Bank building. As the birthplace of Hancock Bank, the restoration of the building meant preserving historic features like the windows while building back stronger.

"When you have a building as old as this structure is, I mean it was built in 1902, it certainly has great, significant value to the community," says Carl Chaney, CEO Hancock Bank.

Although it sustained some damage during the storm, the bank vault is a piece of bank history that stood strong. It actually held customers' safety deposit boxes during the storm.

"We feel like this is going to serve as a catalyst to further the growth of not only Bay St. Louis but Waveland and all of Hancock County," says Chaney.

As the first to build back on the Bay St. Louis beachfront, bank leaders say they hope other businesses will follow.

On the anniversary of Katrina, bank officials say the bank's technology center in Harrison County will open.