When Nate and Amy Smoker were married in 2003, they moved into a 1,300-square-foot, three-bedroom home at 119 Edwards Ave. in Pass Christian.|
Built in the 1970s, the house needed a decor change from retro to a more modern look.
Within two years, cabinets were refinished, bathrooms were updated and the living room was remodeled.
After the couple found out they were expecting their first child, one of the bedrooms transformed into a nursery with walls painted "dancing green."
Jacob was born eight weeks before Katrina demolished his new home.
"When we saw all of the debris piled as high as 15 feet on our lot, we knew everything was going to be all right," said Amy. "It was emotional but despite our emotions, there was an assurance in our hearts that God was going to provide."
Part of that comfort came from finding the only item Katrina left unharmed - a handmade quilt given to the couple as a wedding gift by Nate's Amish grandmother.
The Smokers moved to Lancaster, Pa., after the storm to live with family, but after their pastor called to request Nate's administrative assistance with relief efforts, they moved back to South Mississippi and lived in a house provided by the church until they could rebuild.
Before they left, an extraordinary thing happened.
"It did not take long for news to spread around Pennsylvania that there was a native of the area who lost his home in Katrina," she said. "People called daily to ask how they could help. We received money daily in the mail. We were featured on their local news. Everyone wanted to do something."
Teams were coordinated from the Northeast and nearly 200 volunteers drove to South Mississippi with supplies and began construction in February on a 2,200-square-foot, Cape Cod style home, nearly double the size of the first home.
It took only 10 weeks to complete the home.
Now expecting their second child in March, the couple is very thankful for the home that Lancaster County built.