Muriel Swint grew up in Rhode Island around the numerous bays and waterways for which the nationís smallest state is famous. |
Her dream had always been to own her own waterfront home, so she could enjoy the views and the surrounding nature every day. Her dream came true when she built her home at 9429 Seacliff Blvd. in the Gulf Park Estates area of Ocean Springs. Along with the oceanfront property Swint craved came the danger that one day a storm would wash all she had worked for away.
When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, more than 20 feet of storm surge washed Swintís elevated home off its pillars, much of it never to be seen again. Swint said, "Living on the water, I knew one day something like this might happen. I had no idea it would be this bad. It was overwhelming disbelief."
All she could find of her home were a few pictures, some silverware, an old woodstove and her grandmotherís cherished sewing machine. To add to Swintís devastation the sewing machine, which she felt fortunate to have found, was stolen a few days later. She had been forced to leave it on the property, unable to move it.
Undaunted by Katrina, Swint is in the process of rebuilding her dream home on the same property. Along with her beagle, Wilson, she is one of only two residents currently rebuilding on Seacliff.
Swint said she expects to be in her newly rebuilt home by the anniversary of the storm that destroyed the original, and she hopes more of her neighbors return to the waterfront property she loves so much.
"You canít live in fear," she said. "Trust in God and everything will be all right."