Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Post Katrina Discovery

After almost five years post Katrina, volunteers recently discovered a house that was washed into a marsh by the storm from Bay St. Louis' Second Street

From The Sun Herald dot com

BAY ST. LOUIS — Volunteers from Idaho, Massachusetts and Wisconsin worked Friday to free a house from its swampy domain where it has rested since Hurricane Katrina blew it off Second Street.

Bay resident Chris Lagarde found the house in Magnolia Branch Marsh after investigating a bit of yellow and white painted wood he has noticed poking out of the swamp for two years.
He said he never dreamed there might be a house under it.

Lagarde, who works for U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, organized a field trip of college volunteers to begin pulling the debris out. They used planks to make their way about 400 yards to the house, which was surprisingly somewhat still intact.
The volunteers began dismantling the one-story wood house Tuesday. The debris piles are being placed in dumpsters, which will be emptied by the city, he said. Metal found in the home is being recycled.

“It’s probably one of those that washed off the block and when the tide went down, it settled in the marsh,” said Judy Steckler with Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.

She said removing the debris will do much for the conservation of the wetlands there. “Once this is out, those grasses should grow back in that area,” she said.
David Weir with Mission on the Bay said volunteers found a surprise in the dishwasher. “It still had the dishes in there,” he said. “They’re all intact. Dirty, but intact.”

The home is believed to belong to Ed and Sandy Conrad, who lived on
View Map">Second Street during the hurricane, but relocated to Kentucky. Calls to the Conrads were unanswered.
The volunteers are trying to salvage some of the family’s personal belongings, Lagarde said.

Here's a transcript from NPR where Mr. LaGarde discusses finding the house:


Think of the motion picture "Up." it's about a house carried away in the skies. In Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, you can make a picture called "Down," about a real house submerged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Chris Lagarde helped find this house. He works for a local congressman. He drives around a lot. Mr. Lagarde, you've been seeing this painted what -painted wood in the water for a long time?

Mr. CHRIS LAGARDE (Special Assistant, Office of Congressman Gene Taylor): For the last two years or so, yes.

ADAMS: And what does it look like or what did it look like?

Mr. LAGARDE: It looks like the roof of a house or the front part of a shed, maybe.

ADAMS: But you didnt suspect it was a house

Mr. LAGARDE: No, no, I just thought it was a part of a house.

ADAMS: Because there's lots of stuff in the water in a lot of places there.

Mr. LAGARDE: Right, everywhere down here, you still find debris. If you know where to look, you can find plenty of it.

ADAMS: Where is this one?

Mr. LAGARDE: It washed into a marsh. I think it's called Magnolia Branch. And it ended up in kind of the corner of a marsh, and it looks like when the water receded, the house just collapsed.

ADAMS: So you've been driving around for years now, looking at this piece of wood in the water, and how did you figure out it was a house?

Mr. LAGARDE: Well, I actually got the opportunity last week - some kids from the University of Idaho had come down. They I asked them if they were interested in walking through the marsh on boards, and they said, yes. They were foolish enough to tell me yes, and they were actually the first ones to get on top of the house, and they started screaming at me: Mr. Chris, it's a house, it's a house. And of course, I'm still thinking it's a shed. And I'm like, what do you mean, it's a house? It's a whole house.

ADAMS: And were you able to get inside of it?

Mr. LAGARDE: No because it had collapsed on itself. You could get in one of the dormers, but you could see the bathtub. There was a Viking kitchen range hanging off to one side. We were able to contact the owner. One of the kids had found an ice cooler with a name written on it. Dialed him up on the phone a couple hours later and told him what had happened, and they were pleased that we were going to take the house apart and anything we found, we're going to give to them.

And but a lot of the stuff we're finding is beyond use, but things like china and some crystal and some dishes were able to put on the side, and hopefully, we'll get them to the family.

ADAMS: Now, the family is where? Where do they live now?

Mr. LAGARDE: Well, the last I heard, the mother was in Prospect, Kentucky. I dont know where the two sons are and apparently the father is around. All I really know about the family was they lived in Bay St. Louis and they had a business on the Mississippi River.

ADAMS: You know, I've heard stories about houses being in the Bay St. Louis and out on the gulf. The Coast Guard said there were houses out there, but I had never heard of a house being in a bayou or a marsh.

Mr. LAGARDE: Yeah, it's amazing how close it is. I mean, from the top of the road, three minute walk. So you can, if you know what you're looking for, you can see the highway, and you can see the billboard on the highway. And it's just one of things, I guess we were all so busy with everything else after Katrina, you know, it was hard to rally troops to go pull a house out of the marsh. You know, as we get further and further away from Katrina, those things are making more sense.

And, you know, the idea would be to certainly get these people back anything we can and then restore that wetland, let the sunlight shine on it, and let it do what it's supposed to do.

ADAMS: Chris Lagarde, talking with us from Bay St. Louis. He drives around and looks for whatever he can find to help with in that city. Thank you, Mr. Lagarde.

Mr. LAGARDE: Thank you, have a good day. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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