Dr. John Tomsik never expected the water from Hurricane Katrina to rise so high, nor that a tornado would smash the family's beautiful Gulf Hills home, but the powerful storm wiped it out.
Tomsik, a dentist, stayed on the second floor and was not injured. His wife and four children evacuated.|
"When the water began to blow in, it was too late for me to get out," he said.
His wife, Terri, said a tornado tore the house in half and 14 feet of water reached up to the second floor. "We lost everything," she said. "The storm left the Rolls-Royce on top of the garage.
"It was a French Normandy-style home with about 8,000 square feet. It had such a beautiful view right on the water, off Fort Bayou."
The Tomsiks, with three sons in college and a daughter in first grade, had lived there for 20 years.
With an elevation of 12 feet, new building codes and insurance issues, the family doesn't plan to rebuild.
"We're going to Vancleave, or somewhere north of Interstate 10," said Terri.
The horseshoe-shaped home featured a guest house and what was called a carriage house when it was built in 1921 by a Chicago jeweler. He named it MilMarKay after his three daughters.
"Structurally, it was not feasible to try to save it, so we had it bulldozed," said Tomsik.
He also lost his dental office on Lemoyne Boulevard, but has relocated in a nearby space and will rebuild a new office.
The family had flood insurance, and is still working that out.
"We saved some family pictures upstairs," said Terri. "You can't feel sorry for yourself when you have friends, families and patients who lost everything."
- GARY HOLLAND