Along Mississippi shore, destroyed neighborhoods still gap-toothed even 10 …

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A look at some Mississippi figures from Hurricane Katrina.

– HALEY BARBOUR: The Mississippi governor was re-elected in 2007 and forced to focus on budget shortfalls during his second term. — Between Mississippi’s seashore and the railroad tracks a little ways inland, where Hurricane Katrina all but erased a neighborhood 10 years ago, Efrem Garza and a handful of other homeowners are still resettling a frontier. Barbour presided over a shift to Republican control of both houses of the Legislature, completed in the 2011 elections when the GOP took over the state House. The former chairman of the Republican National Committee has resumed work as a lobbyist, written a memoir about Katrina called “America’s Great Storm” and promoted his Katrina legacy in recent months. “Our recovery from Katrina is also the story of strong, resilient, self-reliant people who were knocked flat but then got back on their feet, hitched up their britches, and went to work helping themselves and helping their neighbors,” Barbour wrote.

Running from the beach highway to railroad tracks paralleling the shoreline — a zone of maximum destruction along the Mississippi coast — it was on the front lines of the storm’s fury. The storm leveled Garza’s house and others near the beach, pushed a giant wall of debris halfway up the block and flooded the houses closer to the railroad track’s elevated barrier. Although the overall population of Mississippi’s three coastal counties — Hancock, Harrison and Jackson — is now higher than before the storm, in many neighborhoods closest to the water the overgrown lots and empty slabs speak to a much slower recovery. Returning homeowners have been joined by a trickle of newcomers like homebuilder Chris Patrick, who just completed a house overlooking the beach and hopes to build more. – BOBBY MAHONEY: The owner of the Mississippi coast’s most famous restaurant presided over the recovery of Mary Mahoney’s French House, part of which is in a building that dates to 1737.

The restaurant reopened in November 2005 after Mahoney and family members repaired more than $300,000 in damage – a Mississippi example of restaurants as rebuilding pioneers, also seen in New Orleans. Paul Kraber of Yorkville, Illinois, is trying to avoid a “fire sale” of his lot after he lost his house, saying he needs the money because he didn’t recover the full value of the house from his insurer.

Dignitaries including Biloxi’s mayor toasted the restaurant’s 50th anniversary with champagne during a lunch in its landmark courtyard in 2014, days after Mahoney’s uncle and restaurant co-founder Andrew Cvitanovich died. – MIKE PRENDERGAST: Waveland’s assistant police chief was among 26 officers who withstood Katrina’s storm surge by clinging to a bush and planters, then climbing onto the roof of Waveland’s police station. State Auditor Stacey Pickering is demanding that former Waveland officers return guns donated after the storm, saying they’re city property, though officers had always been required to use their own weapons. Saying they found evidence that State Farm was improperly blaming claims on flood waters, not covered by private wind insurance, they filed a whistleblower lawsuit. An early critic of FEMA’s response, the Democratic congressman later took on private insurance companies that he said had unfairly shortchanged coastal residents.

Considered the most conservative Democrat in Congress, Taylor lost his seat to Republican Steven Palazzo in 2010, who argued even a conservative Democrat was helping liberals.

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