GULFPORT, Miss. (WALA) - Residents of coastal Mississippi will hold events in remembrance of Hurricane Katrina, the massive storm that struck on Aug. 29, 2005.
A blue truck and tree trunk still sit in the yard of Vaughn Johnson. Both went through the house he shares with a few friends eight years ago as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
“All in all, it was stuff you see in the movies. It was people are paid to come up with to entertain people in theaters,” Johnson said. “It was nothing like you could imagine. It was devastating.”
Johnson didn’t stay away long. He came back home within a few days of the storm’s passing to survey the damage and within two years, rebuilt the house that was destroyed by the storm.
Even though the storm had forced them out, Johnson said he never questioned whether or not he would come back.
“Where were we going to go? We could go anywhere we wanted, but why? We love the coast. The coast is awesome,” Johnson said.
However, not everyone in Johnson’s neighborhood shared his same enthusiasm with returning. Many of the houses along his street and even more along Seacliff Boulevard, the road running parallel to the coast, never returned.
The lots where houses once stood are now overgrown with various vegetation and the only remenants of the lives there are broken driveways and some trash.
There are a few people along the coastal drive, like Johnson who decided to rebuild their homes out of their love of the coast. Johnson says seeing people pick themselves up after the storm was the one bright spot that made him somewhat glad to have experienced it.
“Yes people were devastated and saddened by the loss of property and life, but they still stood up and went and got the things they needed,” Johnson said, “and (they) did the things they needed to do to move on and start rebuilding and help others rebuild.”
Until the many missing neighbors move back onto the shoreline, all that will remain is the view
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