Chateau Charmant, translated in French as "charming house," was one of the first time-shares built about 25 years ago on the Mississippi Coast. Its cedar siding, palm trees and native oaks invited travelers to the beachfront spot in west Gulfport. Katrina didn't leave much.|
"The first call I got after the storm was from a man in Scotland who wanted to know if I was OK and if Midnight survived," said Mary Hayes, who has worked in the office 16 years and now with manager Steve Bonds is the only active Chateau Charmant employee.
She couldn't tell the Scotsman about Midnight, a black cat, because he'd disappeared in the hurricane, but if the man were to call back now, she'd have good news. Two weeks ago, someone from Long Beach called after seeing her phone number on Midnight's collar, which also claimed his name was "Chief of Security." He was very thin.
"We didn't allow pets in the condominiums, so to be official we called Midnight our Chief of Security," said Hayes. "The guests loved him. He'd come to the wine and cheese parties."
Now, Midnight is staying with Chateau Charmant's former --- and real --- security guard.
As for Chateau Charmant, Hayes said, "It will be back."
"It had 37 units, and we are going to build back 37 units, but I don't think they will look the same. I don't know if they'll follow it, but I've suggested a South of France look since the name is French and the Coast has French history back to 1699."