Jay and Mitzi Botsay decided to build in south Diamondhead to live their dream. She wanted a house in the country and he wanted to park his plane in the back yard.|
Because the Diamondhead community is home to an airport owned by the Property Owners Association, a perk for resident pilots is the luxury of a swift walk to their hangar behind the house, board a private vessel and fly to any desired destination.
But this was short-lived.
Katrina interrupted move-in plans for the Botsays as custom design work on the 3,500-square-foot country farmhouse had just been completed.
A 9-foot water line left the Spanish Colonial interior in shambles, and the three-bedroom structure was twisted off its foundation.
The couple evacuated to Galveston, Texas, in their six-passenger Cessna 210, with only two changes of clothes.
They didn't expect to come back to a gutted home, but it also didn't stop them from starting over again.
When the house was under construction before Katrina, Jay's expertise as an engineer allowed him to build according to the risk of the area.
"It was built very well," said Mitzi. "We used hurricane cables, which is an iron cable drilled into the slab that goes up the outer perimeter of the house, to hold the roof and slab together."
The house was shifted back in alignment and after an extensive and costly remodeling, the couple moved in in June.
"We chose to rebuild because it's a trade-off to where the place is located," she said. "The area is just beautiful and you can't worry about another hurricane coming to keep you from living your dream, even if a little bit of a nightmare was thrown in."