Home of the Yellowstone Wolf

2008 Volunteer Work Trip
to Mississippi to rebuild after Katrina

There were over forty two people in our group so we identified seven work groups of six people each. When we got to Camp Biloxi they broke us into two groups. I was in the smaller group of ten that was assigned to hang wallboard at the Howard Avenue job site. Howard Avenue is about three blocks from, and parallels Route 90 which runs along the beach. Route 90 is the main highway along the coast. After Katrina, Route 90 was not usable so for a time Howard Avenue became the main highway. Over 500 homes were destroyed in this neighborhood. The two homes that we worked on were the only homes that survived.

This picture of the Howard Avenue site was taken after the initial cleanup had been completed. The two houses are in the center of the picture. To the left are some of the FEMA trailers that were moved into the area to supply housing for those that lost their homes. This was a staging area for the trailers. They are sitting on what was once an elementary school. The school was destroyed by Camile in 1969. You can also see other trailers in place on lots that are being worked on. The building at the lower left is a church that was moved off its foundation. They were able to move it back on the foundation and it is now being used.

This is a shot of both houses two and a half years after Katrina. A lot of the exterior work has already been completed and we are working on the interior of the house on the left. The owner of the this house is affectionately called Miss Beverly. She is the mother of nine children, including three sets of twins. The house on the right belongs to Mike, one of her sons. Prior to Katrina, Camille was "the storm" to which every other hurricane was compared along the Gulf Coast. Mike's house did not get any water during Camille but Miss Beverly's house had about 24 inches on the first floor. After Camille they jacked up her house and added the brick section to the house. The original house is the white frame structure and is now the second floor of the house. During Katrina Miss Beverly's house had eighteen inches of water on the second floor and the water line on Mike's house was the top of the porch. Katrina has taken Camille's place as the worse hurricane in the area.

Mike, Miss Beverly and some other family members took refuge in Mike's house. By the time the storm had subsided and the water started dropping Mike had saved 23 of his neighbors and he was housing them on the second floor of his house. The houses in the above picture had actually floated into the middle of Howard Street. Mike rescued a family of four from the house in the upper right of the picture. See the article in the The Jackson County Banner, Brownstown, IN. Mike's house was actually spared due to the misfortune of one his neighbors. There is a very large oak tree just east of the house and it caught one of the houses and formed a barrier which diverted the water past Mike's house. Mike had to rescue the family in that house as well.

This and the following pictures are of both houses when we started working on them.

When Mike started to clean up he found this statue in the debris. He checked with all the local churches in an attempt to find the owner but none of the churches claimed it. He was going to dispose of it but his neighbors convinced him to save it. They consider it a sign from God.

This picture shows the total destruction on the Mississppi peninsula. You can make out the floating casinos the washed up to a block from their former moorings. You can make out Mike's house in the picture. Both houses are shown in the center of the following picture.

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