The steps to nowhere at 101 Ashley Place on East Beach in Ocean Springs is what's left of the dream home of the Jeff Noblin family.|
"When the workers were building us new concrete stairs last year, they remarked, 'your house might blow away, but these stairs will still be here,'
" recalled Sallie Baumhauer Noblin. "We laughed, but they were right."
Dr. Noblin, an orthopedic surgeon, said the 3,500-square-foot home with a beautiful view was perfect for raising four children, ages 4-14. They lived there four years.
With his family safe at the Bienville Orthopedic Center, Noblin managed to get down to the beach about 1:30 p.m. in the storm. "I was able to photograph the storm toward the tail-end," he said. "The wind was kicking about 80 to 90 miles an hour."
When the Noblins returned to East Beach after Katrina, "we gathered up the children and started the biggest family scavenger hunt ever," Noblin said. "I've been so amazed at the resilience of the children."
Blocks away, the scavenger hunters found three Rubbermaid containers filled with family photos. "The lids were gone," said Sallie, "but we were able to salvage about half of the photos."
At first the children said "no way" to rebuilding. "Now they are ready to get back home," their mom said.
"We enjoyed everything about the beach, sitting on the front porch and watching the boats and the porpoises and the kids casting their nets," she reminisced.
Dr. Noblin said he is pleased that so many of his neighbors say they will rebuild. "We are planning to build back," he said. "We're working on insurance issues now."
- GARY HOLLAND