Longue Vue Condominiums was a second home for many residents who lived on the waterfront property in Long Beach.|
Only a handful were permanent residents; the majority of the unit-owners traveled long distances to share a relaxing getaway with other members of the Longue Vue family.
Sharkey Mullins was the president of the Longue Vue homeowners' association at the time Katrina made landfall and swept away her 18 years of precious memories.
Every weekend, Mullins would travel to South Mississippi from Mendenhall, a 134-mile trip one way, but to her it was worth being near friends for times of fellowship and laughter.
"We took a great loss when Katrina took our property away because we miss our friendships and everyone was so close," she said. "It was one of the best groups of people you could ever meet. We talked on a daily basis... we had potluck suppers and visited each other inside the units... we watched children grow up there."
When Mullins walked around the Longue Vue lot for the first time after the storm, she was devastated, but a surprise find brought back a smile.
In 2001, her husband, Sheriff E.C. Mullins, was killed in the line of duty in Simpson County, and as one who was known to be the "life of the party," especially at pool gatherings, it was a tremendous loss for the close-knit community.
"To honor his memory, a group of homeowners donated a concrete table with a metal plaque on top... water picked it up from one end of the pool to the other and it wasn't even chipped," she said.
Despite the tremendous loss of personal items, the friendships still remain; a group from Longue Vue even went on a cruise in June.
"You can replace condos, but you can't replace people," Mullins said. "After it cools off in the fall, we will be gathering together under the oak trees for a reunion."
- DANA SLEGER