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Hurricane Katrina

New House

Joe's Pages

Gulf Coast House
(Destroyed by Katrina)

LeConte Lodge

Building our house


This section of our family website follows the construction of our new house in Waveland, Mississippi, a small village on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  It's a long story but the short version is -- for several reasons we moved from Bristol, TN to Bay Saint Louis, MS in January 2005.  We looked for a house to buy but could not find anything suitable and decided to build.  In March we bought a lot and started working with a designer-builder.  His cost to build the house was more money than we had so we decided to act as our own general contractor and to do some of the work ourselves.

We started this section of the website on 7 August 2005 and will add to it as building progresses.

Camille and local building codes

First, a little background on the challenges of building on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  In 1969, this area was devastated by Hurricane Camille, one of the most destructive storms to hit the Gulf Coast.  The hurricane passed directly over the area where we are building -- here is a link to an article about Camille.  As a result of Camille, the local communities enacted strict building codes, including requirements that the first floors of residences be a certain number of feet above mean sea level.

In our town of Waveland, the first floor must be 14 feet above mean sea level -- which is a problem in a lot of areas because much of this area is only 4 - 8 feet above MSL.  Our lot, without any fill, was almost 16 feet above MSL.  We put another two feet of fill on the lot, thereby exceeding the local height requirements.

Local building codes also require hurricane-resistant construction -- more about that later.

The chronicle of our house

This chart provides links to articles about the house.  This is a work in progress -- we will add to it as time goes on.  Please come back and visit from time to time and follow our building progress. 

This information was last updated on 18 December 2010 at  00:58  Eastern time.


Topic Contents
Floor plan A photo of the floor plan and notes on how we decided on the floor plan.
Process and schedule A description of the process of building this house and the schedule
Sub-contractors A list of the sub-contractors who worked on the house.
The lot The lot before, during, and after clearing.
Preparing the slab
Pouring the slab (3 pages)
Grading around the slab
Digging footers, putting in plumbing below the slab, putting in wiring in the slab, installing rebar and wire mesh, pouring concrete, finished slab, grading around the slab after forms removed.
Framing STOP HERE.  We were scheduled to start framing the house on Tuesday, 30 August 2005.  On Monday, 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall almost directly over the communities where we lived (Bay Saint Louis, MS) and where we were building this house (Waveland, MS).  Katrina almost totally destroyed both communities.  Words and pictures cannot describe the devastation -- Waveland, MS, where we were building this house, was wiped off the map -- the town is nothing but mile after mile of concrete slabs and foundations and mountains of debris.  Nothing is standing.  We left the Mississippi Gulf Coast, eventually sold this lot, and will not return.  Perhaps we will build this house somewhere but for now, our house-building is a sad memory.   Here is a link to our experience with Hurricane Katrina.
 Go to this link to see what was left of our house after Hurricane Katrina.
Rough-in wiring  
Rough-in plumbing  
Siding and roofing  
Painting the exterior  
Insulation and drywall  
Final plumbing  
Final electrical  
Final grading  
Moving in  
The finished house  





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