Sara Sidaway and her sister, Julia Kennedy, enjoyed walking up and down their street, Suter Place, two blocks from the Biloxi Lighthouse. |
As they passed friendly neighbors and admired the pleasant view of the beach, the women would talk about their day before returning to the 70-year-old duplex they shared.
"Suter Place is unique because there is a little hill when you walk down the street," said Sidaway. "It's beautiful and the boats look like they are floating down Suter Place coming straight at you."
The daily walks are now treasured memories.
When they first moved into the house six years ago, they completed major renovations, including new bathrooms and hardwood floors, a fresh coat of paint and even a landscape overhaul.
The "old and quaint" shotgun had tall ceilings, the original stairwell and a most-favored amenity of the sisters, the wooden front porch.
"That's where we were going to live for the rest of our lives," Sidaway said. "It was home. We were settled there."
Given the duplex received no damage from Camille, the sisters boarded up and made a decision to ride out Katrina inside their home.
The next morning the hurricane brought a startling surprise when the house began to shift off its foundation. After desperate attempts, the two were able to open a door and swim to safety.
The home filled with their grandfather's antiques and great-grandmother's china was destroyed. A decision to start over in the same location was not easy, especially now that Sidaway will be making the move by herself. Her sister will not return.
"I'm scared to death to rebuild, but I don't have any other place to go," Sidaway said.
Construction on a Biglin Bayou, one-bedroom cottage with a front porch, is scheduled to be finished in a month.
"I know once I move into this place, it will feel like home again because I love Suter."
- DANA SLEGER