May 14, 2008
BILOXI --The area around Yankie Stadium in Biloxi is as much destroyed as rebuilt.
While there are new buildings, and some new houses, there are still several blocks where homes lie vacant, boarded up, and just abandoned. Huff Alley, which is a tiny side street off Division Street near Nichols Elementary School is one of those places.
Residents have died, and their homes just sit. Empty lots suggest houses once stood, but were washed away. And on any other week, the scene would be still, quiet and perhaps eerie.
But this tiny stretch is home to several houses being built through the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project being staged along the Coast. And it's alive.
In their blitz to get these four of 60 homes built or refurbished by Friday, volunteers crawl on top, inside and outside of homes like ants on a piece of candy. Trucks rumble down the street, barely fitting. They carry supplies, building materials and the ever-popular Gatorade and snacks.
Regardless of race, gender and skill level, some several hundred volunteers from all over the world, as well as the Coast are in a rush to make someone's home ownership dream a reality.
The stability provided therein does many things, according to Habitat officials, including President Jimmy Carter. The homes stabilize families, they strengthen neighborhoods and they bring value to the Coast.
And if Vida Brown, who lives across the street from the Habitat sites on Huff Alley is any indication, they bring peace and happiness.
"It will be nice to have lights on the street again," she said, referring to her new neighbors' porch lights.