BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WALA) - KATRINA'S LEGACY
Hurricane Katrina and the storms nearly 30 foot storm surge destroyed Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. The images of the aftermath are graphic and incredibly sad. Recovery has been slow, especially along the beach.
Bay Saint Louis mayor, Les Fillingame told us, "It wasn't lost in a way that you could rebuild immediately, because the entire face of Bay Saint Louis was scoured away."
MASSIVE SEAWALL DEDICATED
In the biggest step yet in the recovery after Katrina, a new seawall is complete. Standing 21 feet high and more than a mile long the giant concrete structure will now protect the heart of the city. Fittingly, Wednesday's dedication had to be moved indoors due to rough weather. It's hoped the new seawall will bring homes and businesses back no matter what the weather.
"I think we'll see a lot of construction on the beach side of Beach boulevard that would not have happened if it wasn't for that extra level of protection," Mayor Fillingame said.
LESSENING THE IMPACT
Even as big as the new seawall is it can't eliminate the destruction from a storm as powerful as Katrina. Katrina's surge would have topped the wall by nearly ten feet with five to seven foot waves on top of that. But, the seawall could limit the destruction from a powerful storm and fully protect the town against numerous other smaller storms.
Colonel Steven Roemhildt, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told us, "There's a reasonable expectation if you have a large storm that comes in you are going to have a little bit of destruction but you're not going to see the devastation of hurricane Katrina in 2005."
For Bay Saint Louis the new seawall is a turning point in it's history.
"A large part of resilience is people they come back and know what they're doing is sustainable," Mayor Fillingame said.
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