The wood-frame home at 207 Washington Ave. in Ocean Springs was likely built as a New Orleans getaway. The cottage had several modifications over the years and it had, in its owners' words, "a floor plan only the people who live there could love."|
Dr. John Weldon and his wife, Germaine, enjoyed their 1905 house within walking distance of historic downtown Ocean Springs because they could stand on their screened front porch and talk to passers-by. It was one of those kinds of neighborhoods.
"It's not just the loss of the house but the loss of the neighborhood," said the internal medicine physician.
"It was a very comfortable house, a combination of the old and new."
It became theirs in 1988 and they moved in after an addition was complete in 1990. That's where the "old and new" came in.
Katrina took it all, regardless of age. For his wife, who grew up in Pass Christian, this is her second home lost to a storm, the first being her family home to Camille in 1969.
"There's a lot we lost in Katrina that is special to us but we're just moving on. You can't stop living," said Dr. Weldon.
"We got a phone call from FEMA one day and they said they would come and look at our property, and then asked, 'Which debris field is yours?' It struck me as funny. The house was taken down to brick piers."
Germaine Weldon says they've hired an architect and contractor to rebuild. "There's some nervousness and it's not just hurricanes but future development. There's a strong push to make it 'high density' and 'mixed use,' making it more commercial down by the beach. What does that do to us as residents?"
- KAT BERGERON