Open your favorite Internet search engine and look up the phrase "power of positive thinking." When all of the choices load, one of the links should take you to a picture of Ocean Springs resident Joe Sabbatini. |
Despite losing his home, located at 4821 E. Belle Fontaine Road, and everything in it, he has never wavered in his desire to rebuild from the ground up.
Joe built his two-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot home as a summer cottage in 1981. After raising his family in Biloxi, he decided to make a permanent move to his Belle Fontaine beach retreat in 1987.
"I enjoyed it on the water," Sabbatini said. "At that point I didn't need both houses, and the choice to move to the beach was an easy one."
The home had survived numerous previous storms, always coming out with little or no damage. Hurricane Katrina blew ashore and left Joe Sabbatini's residence completely unrecognizable.
"The day after the storm I came down my street and drove right past my lot. I had to turn around and search for it," he said.
After recovering from the initial shock of finding his home in pieces, Joe went right to work. "I had nothing left but the determination to rebuild."
He cleared off his lot and began the reconstruction of his waterfront home in December. The only real change from the old home is he is elevating it one more foot.
"I don't know if you can take any extra precautions against this kind of storm. If something like Katrina happens again, I guess I just start all over."
Eleven months after Katrina, Joe Sabbatini is almost ready to move into his new place. His positive attitude about life on the Mississippi Coast has kept him on the right track to recovery.
"I had an old house before Katrina," he said. "Now, after Katrina, I have a brand-new house."
--- JOHN PARTAIN