Biloxi still not back to pre-Katrina levels - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Biloxi still not back to pre-Katrina levels

Posted: Updated:
  • More newsMore>>

  • Foul play not ruled out in fatal Wilcox County blaze

    Foul play not ruled out in fatal Wilcox Co. blaze

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-07-29 04:23:03 GMT
    Mable Davis could do nothing but watch as flames devoured the home across the street, where her sister, Patricia Nickelson had been staying with her long time boyfriend. He got out of the burning houseMore >>
    Multiple calls and email to the WSFA 12 Newsroom took our news crews to the town of Camden. Two recent deadly fires there have many in the community on edge. The families of the victims want answers.  Are the fires related?  Do authorities suspect arson? WSFA took their questions to county and state officials.
    More >>
  • Teacher hit by train expected to make full recovery

    Teacher hit by train expected to make full recovery

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:53:06 GMT
    Officials at the Smiths Station Fire Department say the victim, later identified as Vivian Martin, was transported to Midtown Medical Center with what appeared to be non life-threatening injuries.More >>
    Multiple sources tell News Leader 9 that a Smiths Station teacher was hit by a train earlier today in Lee County.

    Officials at the Smiths Station Fire Department say the victim, later identified as Vivian Martin, was transported to Midtown Medical Center with what appeared to be non life-threatening injuries.
    More >>
  • Committee selects new Houston County Sheriff candidate

    Committee selects new Houston County Sheriff candidate

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:44:08 GMT
    (Source: WSFA 12 News)(Source: WSFA 12 News)
    The Houston County Republican Executive Committee agreed on a replacement for outgoing Sheriff Andy Hughes on Monday. Current Houston County Chief Deputy Donald Valenza will replace HughesMore >>
    The Houston County Republican Executive Committee agreed on a replacement for outgoing Sheriff Andy Hughes on Monday.More >>
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hurricane Katrina permanently changed the face of Biloxi. East Biloxi specifically did not see many people or homes return. Prior to Katrina, Biloxi was booming, with the gaming industry bringing a lot of people to town. Its population was 50,644 and growing.

But, that all changed on August 29, 2005h when Katrina damaged and destroyed so many homes and businesses. Five years after the storm, it is estimated that Biloxi only has 38,865 people, which means almost 11,000 people did not return after Katrina.

But you have to take into account the damage and destruction. 4,773 homes in Biloxi were either total losses, or more than 50 percent damaged. And, thus far, only 741 permits have been issued to rebuild. And of the 718 businesses Katrina destroyed or damaged, only a little more than half have been rebuilt and reopened in their original locations. Plus, almost every public facility sustained some kind of damage.

In the immediate days, weeks and months after the storm $70 million in FEMA funds went toward removing nearly three million cubic yards of debris in Biloxi. That's enough to cover a football field and stand 144 stories high.

All total FEMA has obligated $487.1 million to fund public improvement projects. Here's what has been fixed or rebuilt: The Biloxi Community Center was restored, as was the Biloxi Natatorium, Port Division Administration Building, City Hall, Biloxi Lighthouse, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Municipal Building, both the Back Bay and East Biloxi Fire Stations, Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and Point Cadet Marina, piers at Coliseum and Forrest Avenue, the White Avenue Fountain and the Sports Complex lighting and fencing.

Plus, the downtown library and civic center and the Lighthouse Park and Visitors Center are both well under construction.

Biloxi officials say the biggest challenge has been getting infrastructure rebuilt because of what they describe as FEMA issues. But one of the biggest obstacles to rebuilding for so many Biloxians, they say, is the high cost and availability of insurance.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow