BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – The Heritage Conservation Network is in a race against time on the Gulf Coast.
The nonprofit organization is seeking to preserve as many materials as possible from significant homes in Hancock County that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, including columns, doors, woodwork and flooring, in hopes that they can be recycled in the new structures that rise from the rubble.
But time is running short because many local residents here, eager to move on with their lives, are ready for the Army Corps of Engineers to bulldoze the debris from their lots so they can rebuild.
Before that happens, co-founder Judith Broeker hopes to enlist volunteers to salvage as much material at these sites as possible and then redistribute it for free to interested builders and collectors.
The organization looks for what Broeker calls “vernacular” style houses – ones that are particular to a specific region – and has so far found six demolished structures that fit the bill.
“We try to pick buildings that will be beneficial to a community,” she says.
Broeker admits the network is in “new territory” with their work in a disaster zone such as this, but hopes her organization can make a positive difference to the community. “The bottom line is, we need manpower,” she says.
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