Life progressed slowly and deliberately at Waveland, an "exclusive little place," as the Hancock County town was labeled before its March 8, 1888, incorporation. |
Ten years later, a travel writer noted, "Waveland is to all intents and purposes a suburb of New Orleans and is the summer home of many prominent New Orleans people, while not a few also winter there. It is almost solely a residence place having but one store of note."
Fast forward and Waveland is still primarily a place of residence, but not just summer homes. Its laid-back style and beautiful six-mile beach lured full-time residents, though still many summer residents. Not until 1970, when the official census passed the 2,500 mark, did it claim "city" status.
Wavelanders love their Irish and Mardi Gras parades and such things as Paws on Parade, an Easter-time fundraising for the animal shelter. They also prefer to prop their feet on porch rails or wet a hook to making noteworthy waves.
Katrina changed that, at least for now, because Waveland is one of the ground-zero cities. When the hurricane hit, the population was listed at 6,674, although city fathers say growth mushroomed in the five years since the 2000 census.
They also say at least 80 percent of the city's 6.81 square miles was damaged, much of that destroyed or badly flooded. There are miles and miles of missing homes.
"My parents had a house on Sears Avenue for 30 years. There wasn't even debris on those lots after Katrina," said Georgia Goodell of Standard in northcentral Hancock County. "Just like everyone south of the tracks, they don't know whether they can rebuild, if they want to rebuild and, if so, how high they'll have to rebuild.
"What was nice about Waveland is that it was a small town but it was cosmopolitan."