Glenn Hankins and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Smith Hankins, put their hearts and souls into turning their waterfront home in Gulf Hills into "just exactly what we wanted as our dream home for the rest of our lives." |
Like so many other homes, including those on the end of the El Camino cul-de-sac, their exquisite home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
"When our house is bulldozed next week, it will be the last one to go," Hankins said Wednesday. "The homes in our (immediate) neighborhood are gone. It's devastating."
"When you turn off Shore Drive onto El Camino, it looks like nothing happened," said Elizabeth. "But when you get to the cul-de-sac, it's like a bomb went off."
They lost the house and everything in it. "It washed away my dad's surgical instruments and his microscope from the 1930s. These are the things that hurt," said Elizabeth, who's retired as head of the radiation/oncology department of Singing River Hospital's Cancer Center.
She relocated from Mobile to Gulf Hills in 1991. She said, after retirement, "We spent our days just making it what we wanted for the rest of our lives."
Hankins said they haven't decided about rebuilding. "We're waiting on the insurance company. We had some flood insurance but not enough," he said.
The couple is in a FEMA trailer at the homesite, but all of their immediate neighbors have moved. "This will never be just about our house, but about the neighbors and their beautiful homes," said Hankins.
He referred to the DeSilveys across the bayou. Four members of the DeSilvey family perished in the storm.
"This is a beautiful spot," said Hankins, who manufactured and sold road construction equipment. "It was wonderful to get up in the morning with my cup of coffee and my Sun Herald and watch the mullet jump and the pelicans feed."
Elizabeth said Glenn "is a very good builder," so they haven't given up on rebuilding. "We'll have to downsize," he added.
- GARY HOLLAND