Ren Barnes, her husband Charlie and their son Bill Price remember walking through Katrina-ravaged Pass Christian in early September. |
"So much was gone and people were poking in rubble with that startled, deer-in-the-headlights look. We felt we just needed to be there for them," recalls Ren Barnes.
When October rolled around, the ravaged family business, Point Marine Lumber Co., was open, restocked and operating out of a temporary trailer.
To get to the Henderson Point site on West Bayview Street at U.S. 90, customers still have to go the back way - Menge Avenue to North Street to the checkpoint on Bayview. The location is like an island, because bridges on both sides of it are out of commission.
"I know how everybody is talking about having to wait to get things rebuilt, but if the house was still standing, they needed plywood and they needed somewhere to get it," Barnes said.
"I cannot tell you the number of people who came by and just thanked us for being open and bringing life into the community. We got the business two years ago and we're keeping it a locally owned and operated business. We're home folk, not trying to be the big box."
A lumber yard on that site was first opened in 1969 by the Coggins family, who wanted to help the Coast rebuild after Hurricane Camille.
Following in the same tradition, Point Marine Lumber opened a second business in Diamondhead after Katrina.
- KAT BERGERON