September 1st, 2008
05:41 PM ET

Driving through Gustav, past Katrina homes never rebuilt

Susan Candiotti
CNN Correspondent

It's not over, but compared to Hurricane Katrina three years ago, Gustav spared the Mississippi Gulf coast.

This time, thousands followed evacuation orders– more than 47-thousand people– and took cover in shelters. At least 100 homes were flooded to some degree in Hancock county.

It's eerie driving along Highway 90, seeing shells of homes never rebuilt after Katrina... Or a patch of ground holding a sign promising one day Saint Thomas' Church will return.

As for Gustav, one early sign that Gulfport isn't wasting any time cleaning up, bulldozers already showed up to plow the sand off Highway 90. A storm surge up to eight feet flooded the coastal road making eastbound lanes impassable during the height of the storm.

Despite the pounding they get from hurricanes, and the anxiety it brings, Steve and Monica Montagnet don't ever plan to leave their century old home facing the Gulf. "It may be crazy, but we love the view of the water, ' Monica Montagnet told me. "And that's a fact."

Filed under: Hurricane Gustav • Susan Candiotti
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Im new to this blog..but I sense if you say anything in caps or say anything negative to cnn you get moderated.....until the blog response is so out of date its irrelavant...any comments

    September 1, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    Thanks for the post. I have wondered all day about how the Mississippi coast fared – Gulfport, Pascagoula, Waveland, Bay St Louis, and the rest. I was down that way pre-Katrina and I remember the beautiful houses there; I hope one day they all can be rebuilt.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 1, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  3. Lisa

    We are so thankful that Gustav hasn't had the devastating effects of Katrina but I can't help but wonder why more Americans aren't outraged by the lack of progress in the area. Congress can have hearings on baseball players using steriods or if Terri Schivo should be taken off of life support but we're still waiting to find out when they will look into the insurance problems that plagued so many after Katrina. In this political year it should remind us what is at stake by continuing down the same path we've been on the last eight years. I think many in the gulf coast region would argue that they can't afford four more years.

    September 1, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  4. Deborah Clifton

    It is very sad for me to drive on Highway 90 and see the devastation left behind from Katrina. I always admired the beautiful homes facing the beach..not only were they beautiful, they were very historic. It seemed a little strange to me that we were there in 1993 and didn't go back until June of 2005..I'm so glad I got to see them one last time.. we went back in June of 2006 and it was so sad it almost made me sick to my stomach, There was one house standing and the owners were working on the house, but at the time we drove by they were in the front yard playing with their dog.. they looked very alone. Another irony was, I had just read an article about this family in Southern Living magazine. I really admire the wonderful people of the State of Mississippi, they didn't do much whining..they just put one foot in front of the other and are trying to move on.

    September 1, 2008 at 8:53 pm |
  5. Timothy J. Lambert

    Thanks for mentioning Mississippi's Gulf Coast area. I've been wondering how that area fare, but little gets reported about it, unfortunately.

    September 1, 2008 at 8:11 pm |
  6. Josh Coker

    This image speaks to the Obama Express-paving the way to the White House. This is a good time to grab more votes by being the first President in a very long time to rebuild infrastructure-not just energy but the levee system overall. It seems to me that the cost of evacuation and the return of folks back to their homes(if they're still there) plus the cost of repairing damage would inspire the next President to fix this inadequate system. We know how important these ports are-so why are we neglecting them so easily? This is ridiculous to me. Why must we go through this every year? Fix the damn LEVEE SYSTEM!Barack has my vote already,but I think this is a worthy project and I know Republicans won't fix it because "private industry" taking care of it has worked already-right?

    September 1, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  7. Marcy

    Thanks Susan! As many at CNN know I personally think MS got the shaft after Katrina and it has been great to see they weren't forgotten this time around. Great reporting I hope for continued safe reporting and eventually dry PJ's for the sleep i'm sure you are longing for.

    Mobile, AL

    September 1, 2008 at 5:56 pm |