Katrina crumbled the "Old Brick House" on Biloxi's Back Bay. The longtime landmark is among dozens of historic sites that sustained significant damage. Restoring such treasures is a daunting challenge.
"The devastation has been so incredible, so tremendous. But we approach it one structure at a time. That's the only way I know how to go about rebuilding a community," board president William Winter said.
Perhaps the most visible historic landmark on the coast, sustained the most structural storm damage. The Department of Archives and History is already onboard with the ongoing effort to restore Beauvoir.
"When somebody from out of state would call me, the first question they'd ask was 'How's Beauvoir?' That's a symbol of survival for everybody," Archives and History President Hank Holmes said.
More important than historic landmarks, are historic neighborhoods. Residents of the Turkey Creek community greeted the trustees at Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church.
"This is where I was born. This is where I raised my children," Rev. Calvin Jackson said as he reminded trustees of the rich culture and proud heritage of this historic African-American community.
Former Governor Winter presented community leaders with a proclamation and unveiled a $26 million grant program that will help restore and rebuild historic homes and landmarks.
Hurricane Katrina left her indelible mark on the coast in less than 24 hours. Restoration and recovery will take years. But trustees with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History say however long it takes, restoring and remembering the past is a critical part of the coast's overall recovery.
"That which was of marginal historic value before the hurricane, now may be very valuable because that is all that is left to remind us<" Holmes said.
Historic homes and public buildings may be eligible for the $26 million grant program announced Thursday. To qualify, the structures must be on the National Register of Historic Places, or be eligible for that designation.
Guidelines and applications for the Hurricane Relief Grant Program for Historic Preservation are available by clicking here, or by calling 228-435-1180 or 601-576-6940.
by Steve Phillips