Dean and Libby Scarborough, who live on Poplar Circle in Bayou View, Gulfport with their daughter, Alex, are now living in their beautiful new stilt home.|
"Katrina came after we had gradually remodeled everything in the old house but the kitchen and one bathroom," said Dean, who grew up in the home that he later bought from his mother. "We had waited because we knew that the kitchen and the 'green '60s bathroom' were the biggest tasks."
Libby added, "Yeah, we used to joke and say, 'Wouldn't it be nice if we could tear this house down and rebuild our dream home?' But that was never an option financially."
Dean, who is an assistant principal at D'Iberville High School was assigned shelter duty during Katrina at Harrison Central Ninth Grade School. "When I finally was able to start home, I could not even get into my neighborhood," he said.
Most of the Bayou View area was under water until Aug. 30. "By 6 p.m. on Monday (Aug. 29), I was standing in waist-deep water at the end of my driveway, which is on higher ground than my home. The entire neighborhood was like a lake."
Libby, who had evacuated to Florida, made it home two weeks after the storm. "I looked at my husband and said, 'What are we going to do?' Dean just looked at me and said, 'Trust me, everything will be OK.'
The house was deemed unstable and the Scarboroughs had it taken down. By hand, they salvaged each brick, all of which are now displayed throughout their home. "My parents bought the bricks years ago when they tore down the old courthouse. Once again, we hand chipped the mortar ourselves and reused them," Dean said.
"Looking back, it's funny what you recall. I was most upset over my daughter's bedroom. She had heard stories about Camille and water in the house, so she put all her stuffed animals in garbage bags so they would float... They didn't float. That was heart-wrenching for me," Libby said.
For the Scarboroughs, Katrina was life-changing in many ways. "We have learned that material items don't matter," Libby said. "We are thankful to be alive and wake up every day happy to have a purpose."
PATRICIA "TSH" HANCOCK