Only hours before Katrina hit, Patsy Parker made a last-minute decision and canceled reservations at a hotel in Montgomery, Ala.|
She opted to stay after her brother was convinced they would be safe in her 4,000-square-foot Moss Point home situated on a bayou near the Gulf.
Well, her brother was right, but watching the chaos outside from the back window was quite a terrifying experience, especially when unknown barge material floated their way.
"My insurance company said because I am 25 feet above sea level, I didn't need flood insurance," Parker said. "The water started coming up 3 to 4 feet and then it was like someone broke a dam. I had 5-foot waves in my backyard."
Fortunately, Parker's home did not flood, and aside from a tree falling on the porch, the backyard amenities received most of the damage.
Her pier, boat and boathouse were torn apart, and the 19-by-36 pool surrounded with tailored landscaping was destroyed.
Previous owners had custom-designed the 14-foot pool with steel bars inside the concrete walls, so it was no easy task finding a company that could remove the 2-ton structure at a relatively decent cost.
After Parker received three estimates, all around $53,000, she signed up for federal assistance as a final effort for help.
In March, representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers deemed the pool a health hazard as a result of the storm. The next eight days were spent breaking it apart, hauling it off and filling the hole with dirt.
Since then, a fresh batch of grass and flowers have been planted and the new bayou view is returning to its lush state once again.
"The Corps of Engineers didn't charge anything," she said. "People can talk about the government all they want, but I don't know what I would have done if they hadn't come here and helped me."