Philip T. Maimone II is a retired Seabee builder chief who holds true to the military branch's "can-do" spirit.|
The single parent and his daughter, Tiffany, share a log-cabin home at 314 Magnolia St., an area in Long Beach south of the tracks struck hard by Hurricane Katrina.
The cabin, built in the 1920s, lost parts of its roof and was flooded with almost 2 feet of storm surge. A woodworking shop next door took a more severe hit.
Katrina's wall of water and winds knocked the wood shop sideways about 3½ feet. Because of the post-and-beam construction, the shop remained standing, but the structure tilted westward. The shop is built entirely of wood from pine and oak trees that were on another piece of property Maimone owns.
Maimone has been building the European-style wood shop since 2001, but the work was slowed because of a severe back injury. In 2005, his daughter was in a car accident and required constant care for several months.
Before Katrina, the shop was 75 percent complete on the outside and about half finished on the inside, he said. The shop is patterned after an open-air structure Maimone saw several years ago during a visit to Rye, N.H., where his family is from.
After Katrina, Maimone used the wood he had been using for his woodshop to repair his cabin.
To bring the shop back plumb, the job took three 20-ton jacks, as well as a 3-ton chainfall and two 1½-ton come-alongs, rigged to the oak tree in his front yard. After three days of work, the shop was perfectly vertical once again.
Extreme measures were taken to reinforce the building.
However, the shop's repair work is now at a standstill, awaiting a building permit.
Tiffany, 19, who attends Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Jefferson Davis campus, will soon be leaving South Mississippi to follow her dream of a career in animation. Her father's dream is to see his beloved woodworking shop finished.
"This is my legacy to my daughter," he said, "because I cannot build like this again. I can't. I just can't physically do it."