Another chapter in Katrina damage closing

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors’ decision to sell off a property damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is yet another step toward complete recovery.

The building at Highway 11 and Washington Street once housed the offices of the Pearl River County School District Superintendent of Education.  The monumental storm that devastated the Gulf Coast damaged two county buildings, one so badly that it had to be torn down. The roof on the surviving building was replaced, but it was deemed too small to house the District’s offices. It has been left empty, a reminder to passersby of what the storm swept away and a victim of unbendable rules and immovable bureaucracy.

The building will be sold to the highest bidder after legal notices are prepared and published, the supervisors decided last week.

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For the past 11 years, the superintendent’s office has been part of a complex of modified manufactured housing put in place by the Federal Emergency Management Agency next to Pearl River Central High School. The county fought long and hard to force FEMA to help finance a permanent replacement for the damaged buildings, but to no avail, and 11 long years passed.

The property being offered by the county is in a prime spot on a corner lot, according to county officials. It includes undeveloped land. It adjoins other commercial properties for sale by private owners. With luck, it will fetch a good price for Pearl River County and bring welcome development to Carriere.

Though there are no immediate plans for construction of a permanent home for the superintendent’s office, those FEMA trailers won’t last forever. Pearl River County residents should take note that another sad chapter is closing in the history of Hurricane Katrina.