Pass Christian Isles Residents, Former Residents Celebrate at Slab Party

Katrina's beating couldn't steal the thunder at a celebration in Pass Christian Isles Sunday.

More than a hundred residents, and former residents, gathered at Angie Walker's home on Elm Lane for the neighborhood's second annual Slab Party.

Picturesque waterfront views lured hundreds of people to build their homes in Pass Christian Isles before Katrina.

"Everything was wonderful until Katrina came, and it took half of my house was gone," said June Ann Rolfes.

Residents in the area were faced with a difficult decision after the storm.

Should they go or should they stay?

June Ann Rolfes decided to stay.

"I rebuilt. I found my contractor right away, and I rebuilt, and now I've been back about six months," Rolfes said.

Not everyone has been so fortunate. Despite the widespread smiles at Sunday's celebration, residents have faced many challenges over the past two years.

"There are not many full time residents out here. A lot are part time weekenders because they still come to repair, but we have progress. That's why we're here today, to celebrate the rebirth of our neighborhood," Angie Walker said.

Harrison County Supervisor Marlin Ladner, who represents the area, was among the many guests.

He talked to residents about things that could be done to speed up rebuilding in the area.

"Definitely, if we had a fire department, but also, it's the insurance money that's keeping everybody away. I know I had two family members that moved away because they can't afford to rebuild. The insurance rates are sky high now," Rolfes said.

But at the party, residents and former residents of Pass Christian Isles put all their worries aside and celebrated life, survival and hope for a better future.

"Some people here, they haven't seen each other, in say, two years, since the storm, and a lot of them have come all the way from out of town, maybe they live in New Orleans or elsewhere." "We know everyone who lives here on the street that lives here permanently, and there are some that are still in FEMA trailers who live here permanently," Walker said.