Rhonda and Briley Richmond call themselves Irish twins, indicating they were born less than a year apart and are a lot alike. They're also very close. |
When Briley decided it was time to settle down with a house of his own, he built in the same neighborhood where Rhonda and her family had lived in for years, on Halstead Road in Ocean Springs. His house, finished five months before Katrina and inspired by the Shearwater Pottery showroom, was 600 yards down on Myrtle.
The two shared a 600-piece Shearwater collection, mainly bowls, widgets and other pottery made by the Anderson family. When Katrina took both their houses Briley was amazed to find in the rubble all the pieces he had at his house were intact. Rhonda's didn't fare so well.
But when Briley talks about Katrina losses, he talks about the loss of a way of life.
"Our family has been here since the 1840s. Our mother was an Eleuterius," said the attorney, who comes from a long line of Brileys. "We're old Point Cadet people and grew up on the water.
"My Paw Paw, a commercial fisherman, had me on Biloxi Bay catching crabs when I was 4. Between me, Rhonda, my older brother and first cousins, we lost 14 homes."
Rhonda just sold her Halstead property and is moving to New Orleans. Briley, a grandfather, is uncertain what his next move will be as he and his close-knit family are forced to take new directions.
"Katrina," he summed up, "was a brutal hit."
- KAT BERGERON