Pass Christian tradition claims that Mary Saucier obliged Union soldiers who briefly occupied her house in April 1862 when they requested she play "The Bonnie Blue Flag." Today, some might find the story ironic because that became the second most-popular patriotic song of the Confederacy.|
The house at 243 East Scenic Drive was thought to be built about 1855 by the Saucier family on the site of an earlier home. Because of the Civil War incident it was known locally as the Union House.
Jane and Dave Dennis, owners of Specialty Contractors, had a contract to buy the house just before Katrina struck. They closed on the property in December though the house was in shambles.
The Dennises have salvaged as much of the 160-year-old timbers and brick to reuse in what will be rebuilt on the site.
"We are still in the planning process," said Dave Dennis, who with his family lives in a Pass beachfront home that survived the storm.
"But as soon as it is practical, it is our intent to proceed with a mixed-use property that conforms to the spirit of the charrette process and melds together the history of the property with new, realistic building codes and aesthetics."
About 80 percent of Pass residents were homeless after the storm, and their quaint downtown was mostly leveled. The Dennises, who participated in the planning charrettes for the Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebirth and Renewal, say they believe it is important to maintain a viable, small-town atmosphere that plays on the mood and history of the community.
The pre-Katrina town of 6,500 was recognized nationally for its Scenic Drive and mix of gorgeous antebellum homes, smaller cottages and picturesque harbor with shrimp boats.
- KAT BERGERON