Marguerite and Joe Mihojevich moved into 130 Myrtle St. 68 years ago with 1-year-old Elmerita. The house had served as his parent's grocery store, nestled in the center of Point Cadet, home to many of Biloxi's fishing families, many with Slavic names like his.|
When they married in 1936, Joe's parents gave him and Marguerite the house, which they'd recently converted from a grocery to a rental. It was perfect for the growing family.
She worked in seafood factories, and as his name hints, he worked on oyster and shrimp boats, later captaining Biloxi luggers with historically familiar names like Wallace S. and Clementine Fountain.
The Mihojevichs were surrounded by relatives in their Point Cadet neighborhood, people who took pride in their small yards and fishing cottages. Schools and churches were within walking distance, and so was the Slavonian Lodge, their social center.
In 1951, the Mihojevichs "redid" their little house with its two bedrooms, one bath, wood floors, a giant kitchen and all the amenities they cared about. The girls grew up and Joe and Marguerite stayed on comfortable Myrtle Street. Marguerite became widowed and still stayed.
By the mid-1990s casino development was pulling at the neighborhood, and some neighbors banded together to market their patch of Point Cadet to a casino. Marguerite was one of the holdouts.
"They were all mad at me. I didn't want to sell. I was satisfied with my house," she said.
Then came Katrina. The Mihojevichs have discovered a few life mementos in the rubble of 130 Myrtle, but the beloved house is gone. On Jan. 10 the Mihojevichs joined neighbors in selling the land for a Golden Nugget Casino and Biloxi Boardwalk.
The land sale price worked out to about $48 a square foot, but Marguerite would prefer her house.
"There's nothing left in the neighborhood. Everything is flat," she said. "I'm 88 years old and didn't think I'd ever see this. I don't know what I will do. If I find a little house, maybe I will buy it."
- KAT BERGERON