Shannon and Jessica Lawler flew in from California to check out housing prospects as they prepared to move to the Mississippi Coast for him to work as a finance manager at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. After three days of traveling from Pascagoula to Gulfport they were disappointed with everything the agent showed them.|
"What we wanted are the two things you can't have in California, land and water," Lawler said. "When we went back to our room on the last night and started looking on the Internet we saw a picture of the perfect place. It was on Lover's Lane. We didn't know what or where that was but we called the agent.
"As soon as we were driving down the street, we knew that was where we would live.
"As soon as we saw 232 Lover's Lane, we looked at each other and said to the Realtor, 'I want this house even if it is all pink inside."
It was. The carpet, the walls, even the staircase railing were various shades of pink.
The Lawlers moved into the Ocean Springs house built on stilts in July 2003 and immediately began changing color schemes. A love affair with Lover's Lane began, with the neighbors, with its views, with its quiet setting, and with a history that links it to early French settlement. When a baby boy was born and lost in May 2004, they tried again.
"We always referred to the house as Blue Bayou because it was painted blue," said Lawler. "Biloxi Bay is 100 yards in the front. Fort Bayou, 100 yards behind us."
They are also the last developed lot on Lover's Lane, which added to their views of Fort Point. The land is 7½ feet above sea level and the house was raised on piers again that much.
It wasn't high enough for Katrina. Blue Bayou is gone.
"We're close to submitting our plans with a wrap-around porch, which we've always wanted, and it'll be 20 feet above sea level. My parents are insisting on an elevator."
An elevator might be useful for Jessica, too, who gave birth to a girl less than two months after Katrina. They call her Little Landey Lawler from Lover's Lane.
And what will they call the new house?
Lawler laughed: "We're thinking of either 'Stubbornness' or 'Stupidity.'
- KAT BERGERON