Dr. Rick Whitlock and his wife, Maura, moved into their scenic Pascagoula waterfront home in 1999 hoping to spend years within in its walls, enjoying the beautiful views. Built at 2911 Beach Boulevard in 1960, the home had survived numerous storms. As Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, much of the Whitlock's home and possessions were swept out to sea by the unrelenting waves.|
Whitlock waited the storm out assisting patients at Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula while Maura evacuated with their three teenagers to Jackson. She and Mike were first able to assess the damage to their home on the Friday following Katrina.
"All we could find of the house was a slab, a roof and some 2-by-4s," Maura said.
The family Wave Runner was found on the 9th hole of the Pascagoula Country Club. Other small items were found blocks away among the debris from other homes in the neighborhood.
Most of their irreplaceable possessions, such as pictures and baby books, were saved from the surge by some forward thinking by the family. They had learned from previous evacuations to take those along with them.
Undaunted by the destruction, the Whitlocks decided to stay in Pascagoula.
"This is home," Maura said. "It's had six great years and one bad day."
Despite some minor roadblocks along the way, the Whitlocks have completed the rebuilding of their dream home, and left things much as they had been before Katrina.
"The design is almost exactly the same," Maura said.
She hopes her family's decision to rebuild their beachfront home will be an example to other Coast residents. She hopes others will share her optimistic outlook on life on the Coast: "The best is yet to come."
- JOHN PARTAIN