On the little slice of beach heaven where Paul and Stella La Violette lived, the herons, including the Great Blues, chose to dance, fight and court, as if putting on a show just for them. Fascinated by the birds' antics, the La Violettes named the house they built in 1976 Heron Home. |
"We felt this was the Great Blue Herons' home, not just the house but the property and the beach," said La Violette, a marine scientist who let his creative writing and poetry muse take over after retiring. "We would sit on the porch and just watch them."
665 N. Beach Blvd. in Waveland was a work in progress. Each summer, a friend would come and together they would add more footage to Heron Home. At the time of Katrina, it had stretched from the original 3,000 square feet to 6,000.
"The house fitted exactly the way Estelle and I wanted," he said. "Every room you could see the beach and the center of the house was an atrium with glass over it. In the winter, it became colorful with plants brought in from the weather." The La Violettes say they could never rebuild such a large home, and may not be able to afford to rebuild at all because of what they fear will be rising property taxes.
"The Coast is being pressured by condo developments that are pushing up property values of houses and I'm a retiree on a limited income," he said. "We could be forced to leave because I cannot pay the taxes. It's people who made this community what it is who may be pushed away. We don't want to leave. Waveland is our home."
Another factor will play into that, and nobody has control over it: the weather. As a marine scientist, La Violette admits he also wants "to see what this next season of storms is like."
- KAT BERGERON