A Pass Christian family who lost everything to Katrina says a national magazine has helped answer two years' worth of prayers. Cottage Living bought the Swanier Family a Katrina cottage, then a team of employees built it. It was important to the volunteers that the house feel like a home.
Ten-year-old Alicia Swanier says her room is the best part of her family's brand new house.
"I feel a lot of space. More than a trailer," said Alicia.
As the family prepares to move into their new home, Tina Swanier says she can't help thinking how much this house means to her and to her husband and children.
"This house is a new beginning," said Tina Swanier. "It's the first day of the rest of our lives all over again."
Photographs along the living room wall tell the Swaniers' journey and the difference Mercy Housing and Cottage Living Magazine have made. The magazine has helped with money and labor, and even sent one of the magazine's interior decorators to help make the house feel more homey.
Turner Carroll said the magazine had never taken on a project like this one.
"This is a real, real project. It wasn't something that we were just getting camera ready for a photograph. We were building with our own hands, we're building this house for a family to come in and live, hopefully, a long wonderful life... and pass on to their kids, and something that's going to be in their family forever."
The Swaniers say they're so grateful for all they've been given that they want to pay it forward.
"I'm glad I stayed," said Tina Swanier. "I'm glad I stayed and I'm glad everything worked out the way it did. And if there's anybody else that needs help, we're willing to volunteer ourselves, because we know how hard and what it's meant to us."
Officials say Cottage Living also paid for furnishings and landscaping. The Swanier house will be featured in the magazine's December issue.