Hurricane Katrina took a tragic toll at the home of Nadine Allen-Gifford and Ted Gifford in Gulf Hills, Ocean Springs. The storm not only wiped out their two-story dream home, but it took the lives of the couple, their daughter and granddaughter. |
"The storm took out the first floor and a tornado lifted up the roof in Nadine's bedroom where we were staying," said Doug deSilvey, the only survivor.
Victims were Nadine Allen-Gifford, 79; E.D. 'Ted' Gifford, 79; daughter, Linda deSilvey, 57, and granddaughter, Donna deSilvey, 35.
"They really loved that house," said Doug deSilvey, who had been married to Linda. "It was right on Fort Bayou 200 feet from the water."
Nadine Allen-Gifford, a well-known interior decorator, built her home in 1977 with hurricanes in mind, starting with the first-floor height of 18-foot elevation and steel beams for the second floor.
"Everything was custom-built with Florida clay tiles," said deSilvey. "I worked for Nadine part time and hung a beautiful chandelier in her 40-by-40-foot, two-story den. Later, as she grew older, I maintained her property, including all repairs.'
Main features included stained glass windows and Italian marble floors, bathtubs and fireplaces. "She furnished it with extra-large furniture from Europe that went well with the roomy home," said deSilvey.
After a shopping trip to Atlanta, she came back with large mahogany pieces, stained glass and large credenzas, 8 feet long and 10 to 15 feet high.
DeSilvey said the fate of the property will be determined by a surviving daughter. "I doubt they will ever rebuild."
- GARY HOLLAND